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ISM Article

Owning the Network

2 Oct, 2006 By: Eric Stavola, Witt Company imageSource

Owning the Network

Most dealers understand the importance of Professional
Services for their cliental, but as I talk with dealers across the United
States, there is one constant theme that all dealer principles are asking, "How
to I expand this portion of my business?"

Still being the geek that I am, I quickly reply with a
rhetorical question of my own, "Do you own your customers’ Network?" I am not
simply talking about being the default printer on your clients LAN, I am talking
about securing an ongoing partnership of software, hardware, storage, archival,
retrieval, and of course, digital output needs. If you consider your dealership
a "Total Solutions Provider" you should be setting your sights on attracting
your smallest and largest customers at enterprise levels of value-added services
to take your dealership to another echelon. Simply put, you should want to "Own
the Network" in the hope of bringing more value to your dealership.

Strive for a Partnership More so Than a Relationship

By definition, a relationship is a state of connectedness
between individuals, especially an emotional connection. Selling, in general,
has always been about relationships. Sales professionals across America are
continually striving to achieve this connection with their potential customer.
In the copier world, a relationship must be achieved in any sales process. This
relationship usually lasts through the sales cycle and slowly gets transitioned
from sales to technical once the deal is signed. The goal for "Professional
Services" needs to go beyond the relationship to secure a partnership. By
definition, a partnership is a business venture created by contract or is a
cooperative relationship between people or groups who agree to share
responsibility for achieving some specific goal.

In order to excel through Professional Services, one needs
to comprehend that the day you install anything on your clients network, is the
first day of an ongoing Professional Services sales cycle. Essentially, you and
your clients are entering into a partnership and as with any good partnership,
both parties should benefit.

Expand Your Mind and Expand Your Sales

Competition in our market place is fierce and down right
cut throat at times. The need to secure your customer base is critical to the
longevity of your business. When you go out on a sales appointment or to visit
your current customer, do you expand your mind to capture all the clicks? Your
current cliental is looking for workflow solutions to their high volume, high
demand areas, so expanding your mind and becoming familiar with the following
enterprise OS, databases and software, and services will open more doors to
expanding your sales. Review the following:

Microsoft –  Active Directory

Active Directory is an implementation of LDAP directory
services by Microsoft. Active Directory allows administrators to assign
enterprise-wide policies, deploy programs to many computers, and apply critical
updates to an entire organization. Active Directory stores information and
settings relating to an organization in a central, organized, accessible
database. Active Directory networks can vary from a small installation with a
few hundred objects, to a large installation with millions of objects. Some
questions to consider:

  •     What type of printing challenges have you

  •     Do you want true LDAP authentication from the MFP?

IBM Series (AS-400)

The Application System/400 (AS/400) is an IBM minicomputer
for general business and departmental use, introduced in 1988 and still in
production under the names iSeries and i5.  IBM claims 80 percent of the Fortune
1000 has at least one I series server on their network. Some questions to
consider asking:

  •     Are you printing via an IPDS data stream?

  •     Would you like to utilize full finishing options
    (Duplex, Stapling, etc.)?

  •     Are you still using "gray bar" or "line" printers?

  •     Are you running terminal emulations on your


As a very stable, low cost option to Microsoft servers, the
Unix/Linux operating system will account for 29 percent of units shipped into
the worldwide server market in 2008, up from 12 percent last year. Some
questions to consider asking:

  •    What OS of UNIX or Linux are  you running?

  •    What type of printing challenges have you

  •    Would you like to utilize full finishing options
    (Duplex, Stapling, etc.)?

  •    Do you need to print Postscript? PCL?


More than 180,000 organizations around the world use the
Citrix Access Platform to provide access experience to any application for any
user. Citrix customers include all of the Fortune 100 companies and 98% of the
Fortune Global 500, as well as hundreds of thousands of small businesses and
individuals. Some questions to consider asking:

  •    Do you utilize a Citrix print driver or a
    manufacturer’s driver?

  •    Would you like to utilize full finishing options (Duplex,Stapling,

  •    What type of printing challenges have you


SAP Americas is a subsidiary of SAP AG, the world's largest
inter-enterprise software company and the third-largest software supplier
overall. SAP’s website claims: 12 Million Users - Over 100,000 Installations -
1,500 Partners. Some questions to consider asking:

  •    Do you use pre-printed forms?

  •    How do you integrate information (financial, order,

Be Patient and Don’t be Satisfied!

Scenario: You can sell two copiers today, guaranteed 20
percent GP or you can sell those two copiers as well as 25 printers for 40
percent GP but you will first have to justify the cost savings by doing an audit
which will delay your sale for a week or two.  What do you decide to do?

The experienced reps are not satisfied with two copiers and
will venture for that larger pay day. Professional Services always come with a
huge pay day for your dealership and sales rep but will you be patient? Or are
you satisfied with your box sales? Remember, you can not look at it as
prolonging the sales cycle because once your solution is in place it is now an
ongoing sales cycle!

Make a Commitment and Emphasize Support

If you told your sales staff tomorrow that you had no more
certified service technicians to fix your copiers would they be motivated to
sell?  Would they feel confident to go out and meet their quotas knowing they
did not have adequate service to support them?  This scenario is happening in
dealerships today! If your dealership is not equipped with properly trained and
certified engineers then you’re simply fooling yourself and your employees. 
When selling Professional Services, your dealership needs a solutions specialist
or whole department, depending on

the size of your company, comprised of certified sales
engineers to drive this business.  Make a commitment to your sales staff to give
them that additional support in order to feel confident in representing your
company in that value-added sale.

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