A great sales manager once told me,
"Greg, sometimes, we over complicate things - we're just selling copiers."
I've come back to his statement again and again over the years because it is true.
Speaking as somebody from the industry; we've cold called, assessed, proposed, Powerpointed, scrubbed MIF and yes, even closed a few equipment, EDM, ECM, SFA, FM, Mps and MS deals - I can tell you, most of us take ourselves WAY TOO SERIOUSLY. Print, even managed print services, just ain't all that important to customers. Remember them?
We've always thought we've known more about what customers want than the customers. For instance, one OEM had a thought, more like a million dollar wild hair, that customers would embrace a copier which saves paper by erasing it's toner. While others calculate 3D printing is the future dealer model because of a sketchy adjacency...as if...
From the client's perspective; remember we work with end users (customers of OEMs) everyday - we do not care about your brand until we use it to leverage your competitors. We don't care about the difference between laser and inkjet, OEM toner or re-filled, history of your behaviour modification software, or printing from iPads. Some of us act like we care because we want you to feel comfortable while you present your scan-once, print-many "solution".
We have very low expectations of you.
As soon as you leave the building, your fancy, copier laden brochure or printed presentation (are you kidding me?) hits the recycle bin (are you kidding me?)
There is a huge gap between your talk track and your delivery - Why is this? Because in your effort to bury profit and hide operational costs, you've over complicated your approach. Remember the phrase, "Where there is mystery, there is margin."? The jig is up, we prospects know the mystery is artificially created, a product of marketing, not reality. And we're pissed.
You've built your self esteem on a piece of equipment that few like and fewer tolerate. You do not know what to do so you've hired consultants with even less field experience than you, following their survey results into the fog. No worries, they'll guide you out of the mist when the contract renews.(We'll roll in a booth at our next show and free admission. Do you have a PO?)
Yes, I know, "end users do not know what they need until you tell them." Horse pucky.
Speaking of customers, you don't get a pass in this - you barely trust yourself, how can you trust an outsider?
Put simply, the ecosystem is over complicated and not all that sophisticated. By "ecosystem", I am referring to all of us; customers, providers, and consultants. It's a cluster.
What's the answer?
Hire us. If you're a provider, we only work with two at a time, our card may be filled.
If you're an OEM, you do not have the budget. Just kidding. We'd love your budget.
You see, we believe in "the fair exchange of value, for value received, value given" and our fees will be more than you've ever paid Gartner, IDC, Photizo, or anybody. It won't stop there - our team will come into your branches and shake your "tree". We'll shred all your business models, find the weak links, flawed messaging and lazy, quota driven processes.
It will hurt.
But you will grow. One thing to consider, if its too much for you, maybe your competitor has the fortitude to engage. You might want to hire us forever just to keep us out of their boardrooms, not to mention your customers. Jus sayin.
If you are a commercial business outside of the provider realm and looking to optimize your existing processes, the Walters & Shutwell, Managed Paperless Services engagement may be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
We don't have equipment quotas and we don't make money on every image you print. We study the entire technological landscape as it relates to business process.
We are independent - not agnostic and far from neutral. If you understand this nuance, you may qualify. Our methods are always in 'beta' as all situations are different - every engagement has a unique Walters & Shutwell Charter which is transparent and living.
The only benchmarks we believe are yours and we KNOW culture kills strategy which is why your culture is part of our strategy.
Take a look at the Walters & Shutwell Inc. Relationship Spectrum below. Where do you see yourself ? Where do you see your sales team, your vendors, your suppliers?
Where do you see your customers? Where do you think they would place you, when asked? (We know)
Seriously - take a deep breath and stare at the chart for twelve seconds.
Now, where do you want to go?