Between the Lines: Training in Vain or Not?

If you’ve been around this industry long enough you get to know people or you get to know names if not the actual person. That’s the way it’s been for me.

One subset of the document imaging industry that’s always fascinated me is the sales consultants. Some I know personally, others I know fleetingly, and some I simply see their names over and over again. I’ve always had a general idea of what they do, but not much knowledge of how they actually do it, or how effective they are at doing it. Yes, you can sit through a session at a dealer conference or BTA event and get a general idea, and maybe even learn a thing or two, and I’ve done that. But what happens when they actually show up at a dealership?

I wanted to learn why these people are needed and why some of the document imaging industry’s most successful dealers, who could probably write their own manual on selling or teach their own course, bring these folks in to train and educate their sales teams, and how their curriculum is evolving to meet a changing industry. That was the genesis for this month’s main feature.

I ended up interviewing two sales consultants/trainers who I already knew, Tom Callinan of Strategy Development and jack of all trades, Andy Slawetsky of Industry Analysts. (Believe it or not, Andy does sales training in addition to his incessant Tweeting.) I also spoke with two sales consultants/trainers who I hadn’t had the opportunity to interview before, Kate Kingston of the Kingston Group, whose name was already familiar to me, and Larry Levine who was introduced to me by Scott MacGregor, formerly of Flo-Tech and now president of SomethingNew LLC.

All explained why they’re needed in this business, what they do and how they do it, and what the ideal outcome should be.

But that was only one side of the story. The other side was the dealer side and back in June I solicited input from dealers as to why they hire these folks and what the money invested in sales training and consulting has brought to their dealerships. I found a few volunteers who were willing to share their experiences and those are included in the article.

If you’re like me and have ever wondered why your dealership would need a sales consultant or need to bring in someone other than your OEM for training, maybe you’ll be as enlightened. I was.

Thanks for reading.


Scott Cullen
About the Author
Scott Cullen has been writing about the office technology industry since 1986. He can be reached at