In the spirit of the season, it’s time to put a bow on the November State of the Industry report on selling non-MFP hardware. Beyond talk tracks and vertical entry points, a number of these offerings profiled—from interactive white boards to security/access systems—call for an approach that may be similar to MFPs, but also bring with them some caveats and variables that must be considered to enjoy successful scaling among your clients and prospects.
What better approach than to go to the dealers who have been down the road you’re considering taking? We asked our dealer panel what dealers should keep in mind when selling a particular non-MFP hardware.
It’s important to demonstrate a degree of patience with certain offerings, such as the Verkada access system. Not only does it require a significant financial commitment, the sales process can be protracted, notes Thomas Fimian, CEO of DocuGraphics in Charleston, South Carolina. The cycle generally calls for multiple layers of approvals with the client’s corporate infrastructure.
“Potential revenues generated by this product line are significant, but the sales cycle typically extends much longer than other transactions,” Fimian cautions. “If you are patient, the payoff for your organization can be lucrative.”
While on the subject of cameras and access systems, a good deal of consideration should be invested in the brand/model of a system. Lauren Hanna, vice president of sales for Blue Technologies in Cleveland, aligned with the MOBOTIX system through Konica Minolta, as she wanted to ensure her dealership would be offering a quality system that wouldn’t break down after a year.
“I would not be taking the camera procurement approach; you definitely need to find a solution that is going to perform,” she said. “The solution needs to be more than a camera. If you want to be in an IT hardware procurement business model, there are no margins there, right? So it’s important to find that solution that can differentiate you while solving the needs that your customer has beyond the camera. Then you become more valuable to the customer.”
Not all interactive display panels are created equal. But while the Sharp AQUOS BOARD line of boards may seem like an easy sell, that doesn’t excuse the rep from being extremely well-versed in the technology, according to Sam Stone, president of Stone’s Office Equipment in Richmond, Virginia. It’s vital to know the difference between a TV and a commercial display. Reps should also think big picture for client placements.
“Ask the customer what they want to use the display for today and in the future,” Stone said. “Education is the best tool in your bag.”
Regardless of the product, Josh Salkin—partner with EDGE Business Systems in suburban Atlanta—follows a simple mantra. It’s important to be innovative, listen to your customers and ask questions. The rest will take care of itself.
“EDGE has found success being unique as opposed to being like everyone else,” he said. “As this industry evolves, the ones willing to look beyond the box are going to come out on top.”