Job Challenges Facing Copier Buyers17 Apr, 2002 By: Jeff Smith imageSource
Job Challenges Facing Copier Buyers
today's economy, the directive to institute strict cost control measures, at
most companies, comes from the top and is, therefore, of the highest priority.
Coupled with the reality of smaller and smaller purchasing staffing levels, the
pressure on procurement departments, in public and private enterprise, is
considering the acquisition of new technology, to replace existing analog
copier(s), the purchasing manager at both small and large companies is faced
with many job-related obstacles. To get the attention of the buyer and win the
account over, you must understand these common problems and know how to provide
solutions. In this article, we will focus on the obstacles facing buyers and
give some suggestions for your sales staff in overcoming these roadblocks.
your Company needs to gather accurate volume and billing histories from multiple
internal departments and locations, some of which utilize various equipment
suppliers. Various companies are centralized with co-terminus (time
synchronized) contracts, but most are not. Rather, most companies have a
confusing maze of contracts generated by autonomous departments. Those are just
some of the reasons why it is important for your sales people to direct the
customer in the information gathering process.
need to set your company up as a consistent source of reliable industry
information. Subscribe your best prospects on mailing lists, for magazines,
newsletters, and e-mail broadcasts that provide types of technology and
information, you want your prospects to be aware of and learn about.
The Buyers Issues
of our customers have to be expert on about 15,000 line items, ranging from
refrigerators to coffee cups. Your sales people need to have empathy for this
fact and use their face-time wisely with the customer. They might want to ask
themselves these questions: “What precise solutions do I have, for the
customer's problem? Can I help alleviate any of the time pressures faced by the
buyer? Perhaps in doing some research that might help the acquisition process
Control Of Print Jobs Going To Outside Vendors
printing is a particularly difficult area to track. Offer to do some of the
tracking for the buyer. This might be part of a larger effort, which your
company can institute in studying the prospect's overall document workflow.
departments or individual users may be complaining about their aging units.
However, the capital budget may not allow the wholesale upgrading of technology.
This is where it makes good sense for the customer to consider a cost-per-copy
approach, particularly where the total annual payout remains essentially
unchanged. One caveat is, “many buyers are unwilling to commit to a firm
annual volume guarantee, thus contributing to a higher-than-necessary
The Customers Hardware Inventory
in the minority, there are IT departments that will essentially block the
implementation of digital copier/printers within the organization. The
perception is that a “copier-based” product is antiquated technology and
will cause network problems. As we all know, this is a misconception, yet
overcoming, it can be very challenging!
To Studies And Gather Data:
per-impression savings from shifting prints away from convenience printers to
higher-speed connected copier/printers
page-yield studies on a controlled number of print cartridges in the IT
page count data from deducting copier volumes from paper purchases (Meaning,
anything that you can do to break down the barriers blocking your solution from
Confusion Stemming From Non-Coterminous Lease Expiration Dates
only benefits the incumbent vendor to have different expiration dates for each
installed unit. If you are not the incumbent, get the customer to understand
that it is not in their best interest to continue watering down their buying
Innovative Buying Alternatives
to a well-schooled person in our business, the benefits of a CPC program are
obvious. However, to the corporate attorney or accountant it may be an
unnecessary expenditure. Offer to meet with the accountant to explain all the
advantages of your financial solution.
A Positive Force
general, the only time a purchasing director hears from an end-user, is when
there are problems or when a major acquisition is taking place. Once a year, for
your best prospects, offer to help bring together key users into a “copier
committee setting,” where your company offers to provide a keynote speaker.
your equipment setup in the back of the conference room).
Users With Freedom Of Choice While Balancing The Best Interests of The
and buyers can be quite fickle; some may want Brand A and some Brand B. Most of
the reasons given are based on emotional or other factors, which are truly not
relevant to the company's long-term goals. We believe that most buyers are best
served by selecting the best supplier, who fulfills everyone's stated criteria.
Show them the advantages to selecting your organization.
trust this information has shed some light on the difficult job of acquiring
office equipment. If you can help the buyer meet these challenges, you will be
well on your way to winning the account.