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ISM Article

Taking Stock of your Company

12 Sep, 2007 By: Howard Meltzer imageSource

Taking Stock of your Company

Taking Stock of Your Company During the six plus years that we have been
working with dealers large and small, it is very clear that virtually all share
certain nagging concerns and frustrations with their sales teams.  Perhaps it
will be therapeutic to take a fresh look at what we are seeing in the field.

The most vexing concerns involve the following:

  • How to develop and sustain a proactive and effective sales team recruiting
  • First and most important - do you have an ongoing recruiting program? 
  • Keep in mind that the more prospects you have, the more options you
  • What is your preferred profile?  Does it recognize differences between
    metro and rural territories? 
  • Are you looking for hunters or farmers or a balance of both?
  • Do you have more success with young inexperienced candidates or mature and
    seasoned pros?
  • Do you prefer candidates with technology experience or a sales background?
  • Do you have a sales compensation package that is competitive?  Do you back
    that up with a motivation                     program that is consistent and
  • Now that manufacturer training is generally limited to product and
    application content on-line, the sales training burden is in your lap.  Do you
    have a formal and consistent in-house training program to cover the
    fundamental techniques that include  prospecting methods, a needs analysis,
    negotiating and closing?
  • Sale performance is directly linked to your sales proposition.  Is yours
    keyed to value, or is it still price, price, price?  Obviously, the more
    options you have in your arsenal, the better solutions you can offer to your
  • Do you primarily prospect via cold calling and telemarketing?  If so, you
    are probably in at the mid-level.  Keep in mind that mid-level managers are
    primarily evaluators and are price driven.   Conversely, “C” level prospects
    tend to buy on value, and that equates to higher margins.  Do you have a
    program to move your deals up to the “C” level?  Equally important, do you
    have a formal program to get in directly at the “C” level with high value

A Short Lecture

Most of the imaging products out there work well with virtually the same
features, functions and price points.  That clearly screams parity.  Yet far too
many dealers stubbornly refuse to face up to the cold hard fact that they can no
longer build their business by holding to price, price, price as their basic
sales proposition.

For the last six years my team, like other companies, have preached, cajoled
and threatened our clients with this reality, and in most cases have been able
to turn them around to create a new sales proposition based on value. 

Every dealer is unique and has a compelling success story to tell.  It is
usually based on a set of principals established and nourished from the
beginning and, ironically, will always include a strong and compelling set of
values that underlie their perception of success.  Conversely, we find that
value somehow got shuffled into the background as their selling proposition
devolved into beating the competition on price, price, price.

So, what’s the answer?  A new corporate selling proposition centered on value
– the value of the products certainly, but even more important, the value that
the company brings to the table based on expertise and the ability to provide
meaningful “document management solutions,” with price as a subset to value. 
Think back to Xerox when they were a market leader.  Did they compete on price?
Absolutely not. They positioned themselves as imaging consultants based on the
IBM model with pricing that linked cost to perceived VALUE.  It worked then and
it will work now. Take heed of this fact. 


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