Cold Walking, or Cold Calling Selling Copiers

12 replies
Currently working for an established company that has been in business for 70 years selling commercial copiers B2B. The majority of the company's customers are in the city in which they are located at around a 10-15 mile radius.

Their strategy has always been to go to these businesses personally and knock on doors, and offer their services and products. There isn't a lot of competition where they are located and they do quite well in their area. However, we are looking to expand to a larger city 50+ miles away and about 45 minutes to an hour drive. In this city there are two large competitors which I am finding out have about 75-80% of the business in the area already.

I am driving the distance daily and knocking on doors and haven't had that much luck finding new customers or customers that are nearing the end of their contract with their current copier company. I feel like I am wasting a lot of time and energy knocking on doors just to find out they are already in a contract.

Would it be good to cold call these businesses find out of if they have a need for a copier, if they are on a contract, and how long their contract is, and only focus visiting businesses personally that I know we can close on in the near future?
#calling #cold #copiers #selling #walking
Avatar of Unregistered
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Yes, qualify your prospect.

    How could you use a free report or video series to educate your prospect and get them to see you as an advisor rather than a product-pusher?

    If they've been around for 70 years, do they not have a tickler file for past buyers who are coming to the end of their previous purchase's service life? I realize you are in a new territory, but that could be a goldmine for making a few calls to hear pain points in buyers' own words...that you can use in your promotional material, 30-second commercial, and sales process.

    In your shoes, I would go get one of Claude Whitacre's books from Amazon/Kindle...he has one on the first 90 days of selling and another on one call closing. Very affordable and great info.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11231694].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author rwsorensen
      Great advice, and I will check out Claude's books.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11231853].message }}
      • Also check out this book called content machine by Dan Morris this is will show you how to use content to effortlessly (other than creating the content) bring you customers.

        He gives an example in the book about a pool cleaning company that used content marketing to take his small pool cleaning company to multiple millions.

        But intitally I would agree with Jason, in terms of educting your customer by using a conversion system and then 10x it with content.

        Hope that makes sense
        FREE! Profitable Digital Agency Coaching
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11231995].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    They are always on a contract (90%)

    You call them and say some words like 'I wonder if you can help me....[pause] I'm John from XYZ copiers and I've been asked to give you a call.....I understand you may be coming to the end of your copier contract and have decided to take a look around at what 's available these days...have you been having problems with the machine?'

    Doesn't really matter what they say. You should at the very least find out when their contract will be ending.

    Into the diary...onto the next call.

    S'easy ;0)

    Making Calls To Sell Something? What are you actually saying?
    Is there any room for improvement? Want to find out?

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11231732].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    A couple of ideas.

    Your company has a "Greatest sales rep". Somebody that is doing a ton of business and wins all the awards. Find out that person's name and give them a call If this person is is your immediate area (or in your office) them lunch and learn the ropes.

    In fact, if your company is small and doesn't have a star salesperson...your industry has at least one of these people. Find them, and give them a call.

    Believe me, they will cut your learning curve dramatically. And it's almost a certainty that they will be eager to help you. You know why? Nobody calls them. They have all this training/knowledge/experience and they want to share it with somebody.

    Whatever you do, do NOT start talking to the other reps that are barely getting by. They will destroy your ambition, and only teach you what they to barely get by.

    Does your industry have a magazine? Read back issues. Learn about your competition.

    Become an expert in your industry.

    And....SPEED. Whether you are calling or stopping by, speed is important. If you are only making 5 visits a are wasting most of your day. If you are making phone calls, you can call 50 or more people a day, without breaking a sweat...and you;ll get business every week. If you are visiting, you can see at least 10-15 prospects every day.

    Does the best guy in your business make prospecting calls? Do that. What does he say when he/she calls? Say that. What questions does he/she ask? Ask those questions.

    An hour on the phone with a top producer (or working with them for a day) can change your life. Trust me, somebody is making a fortune selling copiers.
    One Call Closing book

    What if they're not stars? What if they are holes poked in the top of a container so we can breath?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11231767].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author rwsorensen
      The company has a sales manager and one other sales reps, and he's a gentleman that's been selling since he got out of the service in the 70s, selling fax machines before fax machines were a thing.

      He's great at it but he's old school. Knock on doors and take the slow route. Which works great for him, his territory is local and only has to drive 10 miles at the most.

      My territory is going to be a march larger area and a one way drive of an hour. I think it would be faster and easier to qualify prospects by phone instead of taking 6-8 hours and visiting maybe 10-15 businesses.

      I guess I am wondering the pros and cons of both and what would you do?
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11231858].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author myob
    Not only are many of the best accounts on some type of maintenance or supply contract, they also renew automatically unless the customer cancels. You really need to offer some compelling reason for overcoming this inertia.

    I get calls and walk-ins from copier and photocopy supply salesmen almost every week. They generally all have the same spiel, so it's just easier and less hassle for us to say "We're on a contract" rather than a flat rejection. Hardly anyone presses beyond that wonderful response!

    The truth is, I don't have a contract and haven't had one for about 10 years.

    What happened 10 years ago is a salesman came in and offered a free audit of my photocopy usage with a no-obligation analysis of ways to cut expenses.

    I told him (just like all the others) that I was on a contract.

    He then said, "That's too bad that you locked yourself into unecessary expenses. Let me show you how I've been saving companies like yours an average of 20-30%. I'm in a rush right now, but if I could guarantee you the same level of service or better than what you're getting now at significant savings, would that earn my business?"

    Needless to say, he got my attention and kept in touch with me as the end of my contract approached. And as soon as my contract expired, that was it. I don't even have a contract with him. He just provides refurbished cartridges with an "as new" warranty at prices no one has been able to touch.

    We have 4 new large commercial copiers now (all from my favorite copier salesman), and all of the routine maintenance is free. So when another copier salesman comes in, they are simply dismissed with "We're on a contract", rather than having to put up with time-wasting old scripts recited ad nauseam by those amateurs.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11231778].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Originally Posted by rwsorensen View Post

    or customers that are nearing the end of their contract with their current copier company.
    EVERY single point of contact you make... and you ask about the current status to the existing contract.. WRITE THAT INFORMATION DOWN. It wont help TODAY.. but you now know when you can go after them LATER.

    This single list is worth every bit of effort.. ask other questions like what equipment they have.. the things they like best, the things they dislike... prepare to nail the sale when the time comes.
    Success is an ACT not an idea
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11231822].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author rwsorensen
      Yes, we are using Sales Force. Every contact I make I input their information, the contact name, the person I talked to and any information I get about their current machines, like the company they are currently with and when they signed the contract. Most contracts are 5 years so I can usually gauge how long they have left.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11231859].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author rwsorensen
    Ok so i'll be honest. The only experience I have in sales is Direct Response Life Insurance sales by phone. Copier sales is a little different. I have a list of about 300 businesses in my "territory." The list could easily grow to over 2,000 but this is my start. How would you contact them first? Phone or walking in? To me it seems more effective to call by phone first and weed out the ones that I won't close on in the next few months and visit them. Sound quicker than visiting all 300+ companies on my list one by one.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11232958].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author AlexTee
    I'm familiar with this industry and have some tips that may help you!

    But first...

    Understand that you are in a very competitive industry and will have to learn real world selling techniques to be successful.

    The only results that count are numbers (new business) on the board. The industry as a churn and burn reputation!

    Are you working for a dealership?

    Have you received any training?

    These are the first letters of the top brand names...KM, C, X, T, S...which one(s) do you sell?

    In your portfolio of products what is the slowest speed system you sell and what is the fastest?

    Do you sell digital color systems?

    This will give me enough info without you revealing too much on a public forum.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11233122].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Here's another bit of advice I got from another "old school" pro.

    If you can't be number one (the guy with the business), the best position to be in is number two. In other words, you want to be the guy they call when #1 does something to mess things up. Maybe they change the terms to something the prospect doesn't like. Maybe they "improve" the product and it's no longer viable. Maybe the prospect catches the current rep with his teenage daughter. It does not matter.

    Sooner or later, most vendors do something to open the door. You want to be the guy they invite in.

    So how do you do that?

    Two words - "drip campaign".

    You keep in touch. You send content about how to be more productive. If your company has things like white papers, you offer them. If they get an award, you send them a note or email congratulating them (no pitch, just sincere well wishes).

    Here's another tip, specific to selling copiers.

    Look for the people who are in the office on a regular basis - the janitor is ideal, but also people like the lady that waters the plants, the guy who restocks the vending machine, etc. Ask them to tip you off if any of the businesses they serve have full to overflowing wastebaskets by the copiers. It's a tell-tale that all may not be well.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11235651].message }}
Avatar of Unregistered

Trending Topics