20 November 2009

Aggressive sales, understanding needs, photocopiers and what not

The company had acquired a Fuji-Xerox multi-function copier from a third party dealer. The machine had lasted over a decade, being temperamental towards the end. The company had spent a considerable amount on repairs and the dealer had undoubtedly made a tidy sum. The sales people from the dealer, no doubt, being driven by a commission based system, was aggressive and had advised the company to purchase a brand new high-end device. These sales people had made little effort in understanding the needs of the company, which, really, was quite limited in volume in terms of copies and faxes. Each time, the dealer would play on the fears that there would be no more spare parts for the machine when in reality, there was. Finally, it did come a day when the spares ran out. At this point, the dealer reluctantly refused another service contract.

Given my previous experience with the sales people from the dealer, I saw little need in contacting the dealer for a new device. I decided to approach the companies that manufactured them, namely, Ricoh, Fuji-Xerox and Canon. The differences in approach of the sales teams was considerable for the latter two principals.

I found that the turnover in the sales staff of these companies dealing in copier and document imaging was massive. Many of the sales people who visited me were no longer with the company. I had tried calling them with the stack of business cards they gave me when they visited me time and again over the years. These sales people were likely to be under great pressure to achieve a certain level of sales and many had departed on not being able to deliver their quota.

I had also found the majority of the sales pitch of these people wanting with a number of them not appearing to understand their product and the options for leasing, hire-purchase and outright purchase.

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