As autumn creeps across the United States, and the final quarter begins, how should a new copier representative plan for the end of one year and the beginning of another? It’s time to close out and plan for what’s next.
There are plenty of traditional approaches: write a strategy, review it with your manager, track your progress and adjust as needed – old school.
Let me ask you or, better yet, ask your colleagues: how often does that process work? Not very.
The illusion of control
Everyone has done it. You write it out, and by January 2 it’s forgotten. Quotas take over, and tracking becomes a game of what management wants to see, not what’s happening. The Plan takes a backseat to putting out fires and reacting to customer needs.
The pressure is great because the world changes every 30 days — technology, society, politics, you name it. So, why bother with a blueprint that’ll be obsolete before you even start? The reality is a rigid directive can be your worst enemy in a fast-paced environment.
So don’t do it. Of course, I jest. Sorta.
Over the years, decades and what seems a millennium, I’ve seen plans come and go. Even when things were stable, when putting together a five-year strategy was not only prudent but necessary, no set of plays ever looked the same after 12 months.
Today, old school planning sessions fueled by pizza and clichés like “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it” just won’t cut it.
These are narratives, dogmas, and hogwash.
In today’s world, being agile and responsive is more valuable than sticking to a pre-defined edict.
The anti-sales culture
Yes, you need a standard. And yes, you’ll need to document the parameters if only to go through the rote, physical gymnastics required to commit to memory. But the inspiration is fleeting. Your brainchild is a guide with a vista as wide as Montana – and it’s yours. All yours. Created not by committee, but by you. Share not with the rest of the sales team, for they will not understand.
Today, I bring to you five points of the anti-sales plan. Fueled by imagination, supported by eons of experience and created with the help of today’s latest technology genie, this process is the antithesis of the status quo:
- Embrace Individuality: Craft a strategy that aligns with your values, not a one-size-fits-all strategy.
- Be Flexible: Make your plan adaptable to rapidly changing market conditions.
- Set Broad Goals: Focus on general objectives like customer relationships or new markets, rather than specific sales targets.
- Keep It Private: Your plan is yours alone; don’t feel pressured to share it with your team or management.
- Self-Assess Regularly: Periodically review and adapt your plan, using tools like ChatGPT for insights.
The reality of today’s world
Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the dealership or management vision that you’re required to follow. Make no mistake, adherence to the vision is compelled.
I get it. You’re a team player. When your dealership or management rolls out their grand vision for the year, nod along, take notes, and participate in their planning sessions.
But remember, their creation is not yours. Work within the established organizational objectives but yours is the core all others orbit, your playbook, your North Star. Navigate, adapt, and ultimately succeed in this ever-changing office technology world with your anti-sales plan.
The bottom line
Yes, you need a plan, and it should be a living, breathing entity that moves as you do. It reflects you, not a set of rigid guidelines set by someone else. Throw caution to the wind and embrace the exquisite chaos that is copier sales in the 21st century. It is a great time to be here.
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 email@example.com.