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A Consultative Approach to an MPS Offering

How many times have you heard someone on the sales team (or even yourself) say something like “I know I need to get into print management … but I just don’t know where to start …” or “I want to get into print management … but I just can’t seem to convince my customers and prospects to allow me to complete an assessment”.

Dealerships and businesses offering successful managed print programs have come to realize that MPS is not a single business event; it is a course of action.  Yes, selling MPS is different than selling copiers, supplies or service.  But selling managed print services still follows a sales process, just like anything else.

Dealerships offering DCA appraisals by promoting the install are commonplace.  This approach leads to objection.  Because of equipment quotas to meet or little confidence in the offering, objections are easily accepted.  When or if there is time, the MPS process usually begins and ends with the offer of an installation.

Solid Sales Skills vs. MPS Technique

Businesses, dealerships and salespeople that have developed sound MPS sales processes are extremely few.  But remember, solid sales skills are far more important than an “MPS sales technique”.

  • Work out a disciplined, locked down print management presentation process
  • Target a consultation with the right person
  • Identify the goals that can be achieved up-front with a complete fleet analysis
  • Allow time to gather imaging data, analyze the information, make recommendations, and offer support solutions

Loyalty and trust are difficult to show unless a strong commitment to the customer’s business and well being is formed.  Once the print management seed is cultivated, prospects will naturally allow fleet and print appraisals to happen.

DO NOT Lose Site of the Personal Touch when Developing Presentations 

It is helpful to learn how your own company processes print, copy, scan, fax and invoicing activity.  The more knowledge gained about workflow and business process, the better a presentation can be.  Consider the following:

  • Visualize documents moving from creation to the storage or shred pile
  • Include sales, service and supply fulfillment and the flow of these documents
  • Understand the challenges in each process, and chart the document flow
  • Talk to the accounts receivable team and listen to the problems real people have
  • Comprehend the print process, how it impacts users and affects real business costs

Self assessment discoveries will be similar for any business that offer a service, sends and receives product, processes documents or issues invoices.  Incorporate these personal findings into print management presentations.

Get the Word Out – MPS is not rocket science

Suggesting MPS to the client community should include the creation of one hour print management workshops and then presenting them during dealership open houses.  Events can be targeted for consumers familiar with the dealership such as top clients, civic groups, chambers of commerce and community business leaders.  Friends of the business tend to offer the least resistance to change, are usually interested in new offerings and will welcome speakers for their events.

It is vitally important to involve the proper individuals: Owners, Controllers, Directors, and C-level (CCO, CEO, CFO, CIO, CPO, etc.) managers understand the financial impact of what it is that is being offered and therefore can help influence others in their organizations.  Schedule meetings and/or events so that as many of these people as possible can attend.

The goal of an MPS consultation or workshop should be to provide evidence that the dealership is interested in improving overall print processes, and lead to sound print and document storage strategies though partnership and collaboration.  The evidence shared should show that the dealership has done their homework and are in it for the long haul.  When the dealership and staff can be viewed as consultants rather than box salespeople, trust in the MPS offering is easier to gain.

Identify Problems and Offer Solutions.

MPS presentations should promote insight into the latest industry trends and challenges and include discussions related to cost savings, business sustainability and process improvements.  Topics can begin with statements like:

  • “After evaluating our own print strategy we found …” or,
  • “We help our clients identify and reduce costs associated with moving information through the organization …”.

Allow for discussion during the presentation but adhere to a strict roadmap or plan of action for connecting dealership objectives.  Offer options showing relief of the pain and conclude with the idea of a print strategy:

  • Identify current printing methods and processes
  • Follow with fleet identification and utilization
  • Move to supply and service fulfillment (including current methods and offer alternative plans)
  • Lead to print and fleet reduction
  • Include document storage, access and management
  • Close with process management or information technology outsourcing ideas

Encourage open discussion so attendees can gain insight into diverse imaging situations.  Listen for improvement opportunities and then suggest possible solutions.  Explain services (hardware, software, maintenance, supplies, finance, remote monitoring, etc.) in an interactive way; allow participants time to process the new approach to printing in their own minds.  Talk in terms of total resolution.  Allow time for questions and include sign-up opportunities for the actual assessment.  Buy-in is highest as the group converses about this “new business practice.”

… In Conclusion

Selling MPS is like selling anything.  One must identify a problem, get agreement that it exists, offer a viable solution and then differentiate themselves while presenting the offer.

MPS is not toner and service sales on printers or non-copier based devices – although it can and should include them.  Remember – a strong toner and service business can segue to the development of long-term, multi-stage transactions.

Making the distinction between traditional copier selling and true service engagement sets the MPS professional apart from the box selling masses.  Assessments can identify current print processes and the findings can be used in the development of new methods for information management, but only when the customer is involved with the process.

Solutions oriented salespeople plant the MPS idea and then nurture its growth.  MPS consumers hire consultants to help them establish and define their future printing needs once they are convinced that print management offers value to their organization.  Great MPS consultants understand that MPS prospects define the value in their own minds.

Identify a challenge, build trust, add value, offer a solution, and do not sell the same ‘MPS’ program as everyone else.  Always move conversations towards but do not close on a print assessment. And finally, selling anything is a numbers game, if someone just doesn’t “get” MPS, move on. There are lots of great print management candidates out there.