LMI BLOG

How to Prospect Effectively for Managed Print Opportunities Over the Phone

Posted by LMI Dealer Content Team on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 @ 05:36 PM

LMI sales call2 3

Whether you’re selling Managed Print Services in the field, or virtually from a tele-sales position, your ability to start Managed Print sales cycles over the phone is key to your success.

Yes, we fully support the benefits of face-to-face meetings and believe wholeheartedly in the power of social connections, but the age-old concept of “dialing for dollars” remains a core prospecting activity for top performers.

To date, we’ve had over 3,000 MPS sales professionals through our Peak Performance MPS Sales Training program and the prospecting module is consistently a favorite topic. To help you be more successful with your initial approach over the phone, here are some tried and true best practices to consider:

  • Rehearse your talk track before you call - Simply practicing what you plan to say will ensure that your delivery is smooth and professional.
  • Be brief and to the point - The ideal opening value proposition statement after your greeting should be no longer than 30 seconds. Often referred to as the “hook”, the quicker and more compelling you can make your opening statement the more successful you are likely to be.
  • Write down key points you want to mention - Having your key points written down to reference as you speak will ensure that you deliver important messages within the initial conversation.
  • Call before and after business hours - Reaching business leaders during the day can be a daunting task amidst screens and voicemail. Calling during off hours will increase your chances of connecting live.
  • Beware of voicemail - Many top performers will avoid leaving voicemail if they can and instead will hit zero and ask the receptionist to speak with someone else such as the person’s executive assistant or another key influencer.
  • Speak in a confident business tone - Communication research suggests that the tone we use over the phone is up to seven times more important than the words we use. In many cases you may be saying the right things but in a tone that doesn’t sound convincing enough to the receiver.
  • Avoid slang and industry jargon - Remember that the people you’re calling are not in the Managed Print business! Most customers won’t stop to clarify what terms mean, so you may be the only one that understands what you’re saying.
  • Utilize credible and relevant statistics - Elite performers have a readily available list of impactful statistics that will relate specifically to the prospect’s type of business from third party sources. Citing credible statistics will also seem less “salesy” and be more believable or consultative in nature.
  • Customize your talk track - Make sure you adjust your approach to be relevant to the specific person, position and company you are calling. A one size fits all – for example “we can save you 30%” – may not be as effective for all audiences.
  • Activities, activities, activities - In addition to skill and preparation, there is no replacement for a high activity level of outbound calls increasing your chances of making more connections and creating more sales prospects.

Do you have phone prospecting ideas that work for you? Tell us about it, we’re always looking for ways to help LMI dealers grow their businesses and their profits!

Jumpstart MPS sales

Tags: Sales strategies, managed print sales, how to grow MPS business, sales tips for MPS, Sales superstars, managed print services

How to Prepare for a Quarterly Business Review

Posted by LMI Dealer Content Team on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 @ 09:03 AM

LMI QuarterlyReview

Although the overwhelming majority of Managed Print providers would agree that quarterly business reviews are a critical part of their recurring revenue model, too few are actually completed on a regular basis.

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
 

Depending on the size, scope and complexity of the client environment you’re managing, your QBR strategy may differ slightly by client. In general, most customers will expect you to provide them with a fresh mix of quantitative and qualitative data in a manner that’s easy for them to see that you’re in fact adding the value you promised to their organization.

To help you prepare for an effective QBR, here’s a checklist of five things we see the top MPS salespeople do in advance to prepare themselves for success.

QBR Preparation Checklist

  1. Review the Customer’s Website - Here you’re looking for recent changes or new corporate initiatives. Recent press releases and social channel activity will most likely provide you with what you need to be up to date on most clients.
  2. Preview Individual Social Channels - By reviewing the social media channels of the person or people you’re meeting with, you’ll learn what’s top of mind to them. This information could come in handy during your meeting.
  3. Interview Vocal Users and Key Operators - Take the time to collect some qualitative feedback on your MPS program from internal sources so you aren’t caught off guard by negative comments and can share any positive feedback received from key people within the organization.
  4. Send an Agenda in Advance - Although your agenda may not differ too much in structure from quarter to quarter, most customers appreciate knowing what you want to cover in advance of your meeting. It also gives you the opportunity to talk to your customer about preparing for areas their input is required as well.
  5. Speak with Your Service Technician - Ask them to share what they see as successes and opportunities for improvement within the account. Just a quick conversation with your technician can provide you with equipment and end user insight you simply can’t get with your data collection software.
  6. Review Your Last QBR - Brief yourself on what you discussed during your last meeting and review what commitments you may have made. Chances are, your last QBR documentation will be what your customer is reviewing in advance as well.

As the old adage suggests, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Perhaps now is the time to review your QBR strategy to make sure you are showcasing the contribution you’re making to your customer’s business each and every quarter!

Jumpstart MPS sales

 

Tags: managed print sales, Sales superstars, quarterly business review, QBR, Managed service providers

What Makes An Elite Managed Print Sales Rep?

Posted by LMI Dealer Content Team on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 @ 12:43 PM

 lmi elite businessman

Elite salespeople are very special and hard to come by. Sometimes they are hard to spot because the great ones are often very humble about their unique ability to generate above average revenue and profit on a consistent basis.

Having an elite Managed Print sales professional on your team will grow your bottom line faster and set the pace for others to keep up. Think about the impact you’ve seen a top salesperson make in your business. Yes, they often do require more “attention”, but you have to give them some slack if they are writing the sales volume of three to four other reps every month. That’s each and every month of the year, with little to no hand holding.

So what makes an elite Managed Print sales representative? Here’s your answer in our list of sales qualities that separate the elite sellers from the pack.

  1. Desire – Look at all top athletes, the best business leaders and the best salespeople you know. They all have a burning desire to succeed at what they do. It’s that desire to overachieve that makes everything else happen that’s necessary to be successful.
  2. Sales Ability – Businesses are starting to place more focus on talent management. From recruiting, to ongoing personal development of the employee, progressive sales organizations understand that sales training needs to be an ongoing activity to keep their people sharp. Gaps in sales ability will undoubtedly be reflected in an individual’s sales performance.
  3. Activity Mix – There’s a new “sales activity mix” that’s fast becoming the formula for elite sales performance. The mix includes a hybrid model of selling activities that feature traditional sales activities (like cold calls, phone prospecting etc.) and newer inbound lead generation methodologies (leveraging social media, online forums and other contemporary ways of connecting with decision makers). For example, elite reps are now prospecting through professional LinkedIn profiles instead of spending time knocking on doors on Monday mornings from 8am until noon. Of course, the argument could be made, if your customers are online why not connect with them there?
  4. A Great Story – Elite salespeople use storytelling as a means to start and close deals. They have stories that engage the prospect and help them understand the benefits of their product or service. Quite often the same stories are used to articulate a point at certain times across the sales cycle and can be leveraged by your entire sales team. Listen in on the elite salesperson in your office and chances are you’ll hear a great story being told just before an agreement is signed!

Do you have an elite salesperson on your Managed Print sales team? If not, now you know the qualities to look for to find an elite Managed Print salesperson to grow your MPS business!

Tags: managed print sales, how to grow MPS business, sales tips for MPS, Sales superstars, managed print services, elite salespeople

Why Top Performing MPS Salespeople Are Successful

Posted by LMI Dealer Content Team on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 09:15 AM

LMI successful alespeople

What does it take to be a successful sales representative of Managed Print Services? When you dig beneath the surface, you’ll find many of the most successful sales reps share several traits that directly contribute to their success. Let’s look at a few.

1.  They assume parity with clients – Don’t fall into the “customer is always right” trap. This is the realm of average salespeople. Data shows that top sales representatives view themselves as problem solvers on an equal footing with their customers. They are willing to respectfully challenge their customers to introduce new ways of thinking.

2.  They’re comfortable talking about money – Your view of money often starts in the home where you were raised. If money was thought to be a precious or rare thing, this may manifest later in life as discomfort when talking about big numbers. People who look at money as a measure of value tend to do better in sales.

3.  They show up prepared – This seems like common sense, but the fact is more than 70 percent of salespeople are not well prepared for sales calls and meetings. They lack research, pre-call planning, an agenda and a presentation geared towards the prospect. The best are always over-prepared.

4.  They ask the right questions – Higher performing salespeople ask more questions (often more than twice as many) and their questions are focused more on intention and less on data. The dig into pain points and needs, rather than hard data. In other words, they want to know what something means rather than just what it is.

5.  They are fastidious in their follow-up - Just like being prepared, this is another trait that seems like common sense, but is one of the most overlooked by underperformers. Quick and detailed follow up demonstrates to the prospect how you will handle their account once they select your service. The best sales representatives always cover the details!

Great salespeople are great because they consistently practice and exhibit these traits. They score over 50 percent in all of them across the board, not only scoring high in one or two of them, or failing in others. They rate more than halfway on everything! This is their core and the secret to their success. Beyond these traits they truly add value and excel in their other areas of personal strength.

By consistently practicing these skills you can improve your sales and increase your effectiveness. If you build a strong foundation, the rest will fall into place!

Tags: sales tips for MPS, Sales superstars, managed print services

How Do You Hire a MPS Sales Superstar?

Posted by Gary Willert on Thu, Jul 05, 2012 @ 08:36 AM

HireSalesRep

This head-scratcher comes up more than you'd think. We get asked it all the time, and if that many people are asking—how many people aren't? If you’re asking this question too (whether vocally or not), read on…

Hiring a MPS superstar salesperson is one of those occasions where the size of your business truly doesn't matter. Regardless of whether you have a sales force of over 1,000 reps or you’re a sleek 3-person MPS provider; you're people are your company just like your word is your bond. People are the strongest differentiating factor in the services game, and to succeed you need, at least one, sales superstar. A steady stream of them is better.

To build this steady stream of sales superstars you need to know where to look, and you need to do it soon because with the strong future and immediate need for Managed Print Services—you're about to look for your new superstar amongst a pack of hungry wolves. So it's a good thing you're asking this question now.

There is a nearly-patented, 3-step process to help you find top-performing superstars:

1. Searching: you need an on-going search that continually puts feelers out for qualified candidates. This means keeping your radar up.

2. Selection: you need a top-notch interviewing and screening process to whittle your list down to the best candidate(s).

3. Sustaining Performance: superstars are a flash in the pan if they aren't supported properly. Trust us, it is worth it to nurture that talent because finding them sure ain't easy.

If you haven't given any thought to the gravity of your sales staff then give it a moment of pensive silence now.



Selecting a knowledgeable sales person with a personality that will deliver high returns will likely be one of the biggest decisions you make this year. It will also be a decision that will keep paying off—or continue to be a thorn in your side. Just think about how much time and effort you put into your Managed Print business plan; now who do you think is going to make it happen. You develop the genius ideas but without staff on the ground to turn them into reality, well. Consider this, what would hurt more, picking the wrong software or hiring an uninspired salesman?



If you think that glorious MFP in your showroom are still the most alluring thing you sell, then you may need to start reading more than just the manufacturer’s brochures! Most business people have recognized that hardware is just a commodity, which is why MPS is taking off—because “who's service is better” is a better argument than who's (nearly-identical) MFP machine is better. 



This is why you NEED the right person.

Let’s begin with how to locate the talent (but stay tuned for upcoming blogs on how to select and maintain this talent). To begin we'll start with four best talent-scouting practices that we've gleamed from our most successful MFP dealers—many of whom learned the hard way. In hopes of letting you learn from their hard lessons of what NOT to try, here are the four best places TO try:

1. Craigslist 


You may have found your last lawnmower on craigslist but if you aren't using it to lure some of the best young talent out there then you are missing the boat. The site is good for a lot more than just lawnmowers and best of jokes. Many of our dealers swear by it. Consider this: the average age of MPS reps in North America is just 27.2 years old. So if you're looking for under-30 talent, you need to go where they look for jobs, and that's craigslist. Monster and CareerBuilder work too, but you have more competition there. Also, craigslist is free.

2. Best Buy


If craigslist is where you bought your lawnmower then Best Buy is likely where you bought your iPod. But next time you head in, try to pick up more than just the latest trendy gadget. Big Box electronic stores like Best Buy hire young go-getters who grew up around technology. Also, they have been trained up the wazoo on customer service, sales and product knowledge. While not all these minimum-wagers will turn into great sales people, your radar should tell you which ones are bored and need more of a challenge; and which ones are dying to pursue the customer instead of just wait for one to approach them in the PC section. And before you start feeling bad for poaching Best Buy's staff, remember that you're likely going to pay them better and give them income opportunities that would take a decade to earn in retail.

3. Ask your Customers 


People know when they are being sold, but they don't seem to mind when they respect the person doing it. Who better to ask then the people being sold? Start with your closer clients, the ones you have tight-knit relationships with, that you're looking for good talent to expand your business with. They will likely be more than happy to help you out by refer the superstars they deal with how to contact you. Try this, you might be surprised how quickly you will be meeting with the cream of the crop.

4. Sell your Website's Career Page


They say the easiest person to 'sell' is a salesperson. So if you're Careers Page isn't convincing them of why they need to be working for you, then you won't attract the best of the best. Also, any salesperson worth their salt will research your company's website before applying—so give them a careers page with some meat on it – not the same old stuff that’s on everybody elses. For some ideas on how to spruce up your page, check out what we've done with our Career Page (because it's working!).

Aside from the above four ways, the only other tried, tested and true way to attract top talent is to hire a headhunter. But a warning to you rookies - be prepared to pay a pretty penny.

If you've already got a superstar-searching method that's been working for you, please let us know. If we use your idea in an upcoming LMI blog then we'll send you a $50 Best Buy gift certificate so that you can do some recruiting on us!

Tags: MPS, Sales superstars, managed print services, hiring sales stars, how to hire a sales super star