“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

 Who said that? Jeff Bezos. 

It’s interesting that the person in charge of the company benefiting most from your destruction is so focused on what customers say about vendors. In the ever-evolving channel, resellers are moving from a printer-centric model, to an all-encompassing IT product and services provider. 

Has anyone relayed this message to your sales team yet?

It takes time and a lot of work to change how customers see you. You might have decided this past year that you want to be more than a printer company, but how much have you really changed what you do? 

Here are a few good places to start: 


1. Your name and logo. 

Having print, copy, scan, fax, toner, or ink in your name puts you at a disadvantage.

Does your name include something like “Copyfax?” Try “CF-something” instead.

Likewise, something with “Ink and Toner” can be shortened to “IT,” which is handy, if you’re moving in that direction.


2. Your website’s content. 

You may look at your website often, and you obviously know the business, so it’s right away apparent to you what you do. But consider the possibility that someone who doesn’t know as much as you might visit your site. Could they understand your business in 5 seconds? If not, they'll leave your site before ever knowing if you could help them.


3. Improve your email marketing. 

If you write blogs or (even better) use emailers to sell/promote featured products to prospects and customers, think about what products you’re focusing on. 

If you’re serious about diversifying your product categories, but all you write about are blogs on office print, supplies, print hardware, or document management, then customers will continue to view you as a print reseller.


Sales rep talking to customers on the phone and working on the computer

4. Outbound sales reps. 

For many companies, the sales reps are the primary link between them and their customers. 

I was talking to a dealership last week who lamented that their outbound sales reps are focusing on print, and how they’re dependent on that revenue stream.  

However, if your website and marketing activities are boasting about your diverse products, but the one live person customers are speaking to is talking nothing but print then that creates a massive disconnect. 


So, the key question is:

“How do I keep revenue coming in for print while still expanding on new categories?”

This is the question facing all print dealerships. 

There’s a fear that asking reps to change their focus will cause print revenues to decline even further. I have a difficult time with this rationale. 

Firstly, it assumes that print sales reps are that busy. Are they sprinting from call to call, or making 100 customer contacts a day? No. It’s not like that. Plus, many dealerships I’ve spoken to have seen sales remain steady despite their headcount decreasing. 

The real mistake being made is that most companies are treating the IT sales process like it’s print. But it’s distinct. 

Print contracts, and their subsequent renewals, are longer sales processes. Whereas IT acquisitions for small businesses are sudden. A new employee triggers immediate purchases, not a needs analysis. A malfunctioning laptop is not a service call, it’s a replacement. A customer visit next week requires new screens in the boardroom. Can you deliver them on time?

These examples illustrate why typical outbound print salespeople can’t help you change your business. Expecting them to do so, in our experience, is the problem–not the salespeople themselves. Let them keep on selling print. 

You need a new model to propel your business into being a technology services provider. 

Which takes us back to Jeff Bezos and your brand. 

What would you like customers to say about you when you’re not there? 


How about this: 

“They’re problem solvers. If ever we need new technology for our office, we just tell them the problem, and they solve it fast.” 

Don’t let your sales team paint you into the “office print corner.”  

It’s time to change your strategy. That requires a change in people and investment. As a guide, a new sales rep costs about $100,000 and has a 30% chance of success. 

How much are you investing in your digital transformation?


Reach out today to learn more about where you could be missing out on opportunities to improve your ROI! 

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