New to Copier Sales: 90 Days In, Go Your Own Way

In this last of a three-part series, we’ll look at the final 30 days of your first three months as a copier salesperson. Of course, the concepts apply in all types of sales and are relevant to joining a new company no matter your experience level or vertical market.  The “First 90 Days” is the current ramp-up period for new selling relationships everywhere.

The first 60 days’ emphasis was on absorbing knowledge, shadowing seasoned professionals and gaining insights into the nature of selling copiers. You’ve seen the art of presenting to specific needs, highlighting the impact and results of collaboration between you and your team. Similarly, the time you’ve spent with service technicians has revealed practical challenges and maintenance needs of your devices, as well as the critical role and real-world impact your solutions bring to businesses at all levels.

Today, you have a solid understanding of the overall landscape, the sales processes in place, the personalities within teams, and the current set of expectations. Specifically, by this point, you are familiar with:

  • Your goals
  • Expectations
  • The people in your organization that can help you achieve your goals
  • The problems you solve
  • The impact of your solutions
  • How to navigate your internal systems
  • How service works
  • The names of your service team

Now your focus shifts from learning to application, leveraging what you’ve learned so far, applying it to selling without the “tag-along” management. It’s time to take off. 

Of course, activity is one thing, but results, even small steps, are important, if not vital. The number one issue in these 30 days is to close a sale — any sale — upgrades, lease expirations, net-new installations, anything, everything. Heck, sell a toner cartridge. Complete an entire selling cycle and put a mark on the big board.

Get a sale and walk it through.

Then, follow the sale internally.  It will be tempting to drop the contract and go, and I’m not suggesting you burn hours on this, but follow your order through the system to observe, not change. 

Get the rhythm and resonance. 

Besides your mandated meetings, immerse yourself in the field  — steer clear of the office.  It is common for some to work out of the office nowadays, but for you, the new sales rep, hitting the pavement is even more important; staying out of office politics, shenanigans and a cube culture is the primary directive. 

There is a tendency to accomplish as much as possible remotely. Although more can be done in front of a screen than ever before, fieldwork enhances your selling journey and is vitally important. Someday, soon, all your face-to-faces may be via cameras, and that’s okay.  For now, and possibly forever, your physical presence in front of prospects and gatekeepers is paramount to your personal evolution as a selling professional.

I’m not suggesting you ignore screen time. Oh no.  I believe that more can be done building your personal brand online than 500 dials an hour. I suggest you do this sort of thing outside the office, at home or in the coffee shop. Save the cube time for updating the CRM (yuck) and making cold calls under your manager’s supervision. 

As things come together, you’re experiencing structure in your daily, weekly, and monthly routine. However, there’s a balance between activities that make you money and those expected of you. Define this equilibrium — make it your own. Your schedule will differ from those of your colleagues or mentors. And this is okay.  These 30 days are a perfect time to define yourself and align your personal cadence.

Ask about mistakes.

There was a time when making a “mistake” was the worst thing possible.  If you forecast a close in 30 days and instead you lost a sale, going through the learning process included anything from a talking to in front of your teammates to going on a PIP. Not fun.

But I’m here to tell you, don’t be afraid of taking chances at the risk of committing errors.  The adage, “By seeking and blundering, we learn,” is as relevant today as it was in 1864.

I suggest you ask the best salespeople in your company about that “one time the demo didn’t go well” or “when the proposal went out incorrectly,” and they will have plenty of stories to share.  It happens to everyone; it is part of the selling culture and the cause of great, undeserved consternation by sales managers everywhere.  So be it. Make more mistakes.

Keep learning

“Learning never stops” is a phrase that is always true.  But as mentioned in the first 30 days, learning professional selling is like drinking from a fire hydrant — impossible.  Especially nowadays. 

There are millions of articles, books, videos and presentations preaching the best way to sell. None of them work; all of them work.

I’ll make this analogy: Finding an effective “how-to-sell” resource is like discovering a good bourbon. The judgment of what works or tastes the best rests with you. It’s a journey that aligns with your always-changing life and your evolving palate. There are no inherently poor training sessions or subpar bourbons— only those that do not match your unique and changing experiences and tastes.

Additionally, your company has its own selling process and training protocols – from weeks of intensive assimilation to a 45-minute walk-around tour and a phone book.  Embrace whoever your employer brings through the door and read whatever is shared by the sales manager.  There’s a nugget of knowledge in everything.

In these last 30 days, find one book about sales and selling.  From “Cold Calling Techniques (That Really Work!)” by Schiffman to “Kitchen Confidential” by Bourdain, find one book for the month and read it for yourself, not your manager or colleagues.

Pro Tip:

Here’s a different way to learn how to sell.  At every turn, during every prospect interaction, ask how they determine what companies to go with — from the trucks they buy to the vendors they use to make widgets, ask, “How do you determine who you are going to work with and how has this process changed over the past 10 years?” and then shut up and listen.

Welcome and good luck

Again, nobody wakes up one day wanting to sell copiers. Not one kid ever said, “Mom, when I grow up, I want to be a trusted advisor.”

The fact that you’ve made it through the first 60 days is a credit, but there’s more. Selling as a profession applies to every phase of life, every corner of the business world.  Today, more than any other time in history, professional salespeople can do what we’ve been saying we do but never did: be an expert, attract like-minded people, feel good about what we do.

I’ll leave you with these three bullet points:

  1. Always Be Consuming.
  2. Nod your head and do what you want anyway.
  3. Talk about why you do what you do, not how.

It is a great time to be here.

Sell On!

is an entrepreneur and founder of the notorious destination site TheDeathOfTheCopier, where he comments on all things imaging, the rise of managed services and the advance of business technology. A prolific writer and frequent speaker, Greg shares his passionate, unique – and often provocative – view of technology and people, addressing the impact of digital on 21st century business. His 2014 book, Death Of The Copier, offers a controversial summary of the early days of Managed Print Services and the not-so-distant future of the hard copy industry. Reach out to Greg at greg@grwalters.com.