The TDSIT Blog

What Business School Doesn’t Teach You: Developing a Customer Base Outside of the Standard Sale

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, Mar 04, 2015 @ 09:41 AM

customer relationsMy company sells hundreds of copiers every year. You’d be amazed at what our products can do. But today’s customer has so many ways to purchase those same machines, including directly from the manufacturer via the Internet.

Which means we have to do so much more than sell products. We have to sell our commitment to the community, and we have to market the care and compassion a faceless website cannot. How we handle our non-core business offerings makes the difference. Think about calling a customer service hotline, and growing frustrated while dealing with one automated response system after another. We can sell the kind of service that shows up at your door and shakes your hand because that’s far more pleasant than a robot.

Developing your non-core business takes time and planning. Here’s how I suggest you start:

Be a Human

I have this guiding principle I call the ‘grocery store rule.’It’s something I apply to every client or potential client I work with. If I see someone in the grocery store aisle, I should feel confident in going up and shaking his/her hand. I should never feel like I’ve cut a rotten deal and have to avoid him/her outside the walls of our offices. Always, as I make deals and work with clients, I stay accountable. You can always shake my hand. I often refer to myself as the “White Shrek.” I’m big, but I’m not scary.

Create Social Capital

I wish I had come up with the term social capital. I didn’t. I came up with the ‘grocery store rule’ instead. But they work together in so many ways. You’ve got to take care of people, and that matters internally and externally. Even a simple thank you card goes a long way. Forbes magazine took notice of social capital recently. Potential clients can research prices and product details online as per their article called “Social Capital Is Path to Social Selling”. That invites competition. Making real connections with real people is critical in that kind of market. Make it so they remember you.

Give Them Extras

We must provide things a website can’t deliver, or wouldn’t think to deliver. My company fleet consists of 14 Toyota vehicles. Once a year, I buy pizza for the service guys at the local Toyota dealership. I don’t anticipate any extras, and they don’t cut me a special deal. But maybe on a day they’re rushed, they’ll remember me and make sure the lug nuts are tight. I have the same approach with service calls. My clients know they can order a delivery of donuts from us when we visit. Not just any donuts, but donuts with our company logo on them. They look pretty funny if you don’t know the name of our company, but they work for us.

Admit Your Mistakes

Because I am part of the community, and because I do see clients in the grocery store, I have to be honest. Many sales team members at the offices of my competitors won’t be around in 18 months, but I will. And it means I may have to humble myself in front of a customer if I’m in the wrong. I’ve missed sending out a bid before. I don’t make excuses. When I screw up, I go and ask for forgiveness.

Create Partner Businesses

Forging the kind of friendships that yield long-term business opportunities takes time, but it reaps rewards. When I’m presented with an opportunity for a contract outside of the company’s skill set, we often pass them along to friends in the community better equipped to handle the task. I hope in return they’ll pass some back my way. Again, we don’t cut each other specific deals. It works when we all agree not to oversell, and keep things balanced.

Have Staying Power

For some, businesses are a transient enterprise. But we want staying power, and we find that’s an advantage. Creating long-term deals and partnerships means we can always be looking for new clients while keeping our current contacts happy. But once we get a client on the roster, we aim to make them stay. There’s a big difference between selling a machine and making a customer. We always want customers.

Remember the Basic Sales Rules

The extras go a long way into creating the social capital that generates business outside the core. But the sales basics remain. Just like you can gain momentum with a client by showing them extra care, you can lose them with rudeness or inattention. Here are some basic tips:

DON’T GET EMOTIONAL: If a deal is not struck, there may be other factors at play.

DON’T FEEL REJECTED: The bid might have gone to a cousin. It’s hard to overcome some factors.

KNOW THAT FEELINGS CHANGE: If you build a relationship, a ‘no’ may later turn to a ‘yes’ when your contact realizes their original deal wasn’t as sweet as they thought.

BE ACCOUNTABLE: If you make a promise, come through on it.

BE PART OF THE COMMUNITY: Tip well. Civic organizations can help, and be nice to the people you see, like in the grocery store.

To view the original article in InBiz Northwest Arkansas, click here.

 

Tags: customer service, developing customer base, Total Document Solutions, TDS

Happy Earth Day from TDS - Get a Free Print Assessment

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 @ 11:41 AM

TDS earthday

This year, April 22nd marks the 44th annual Earth Day celebration. Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to examine your company’s sustainability practices and begin to adopt new policies to help protect Mother Earth. 

One of the easiest ways to move your company towards a green office environment is to examine your company’s print environment and policies. Today, the technology exists to go paperless in your office environment. Even if you're not prepared to go that far, auditing your company’s print environment can turn up some pretty shocking information that with a little planning can be monitored and turned around to help your workplace to become more sustainable.

Did you know:

• According to the Go Paperless website, the average office worker in North America prints 10,000 pages per year!

•  According to MPS Insights the average lifespan of a printed document in today’s office is less than 5 minutes!

• In the typical office, a single laser printer can generate 100 pounds of waste per year when paper, packaging and consumables are taken into account!

These statistics are truly shocking when you consider the number of laser printers being used every single day in offices throughout North America. A recent report by Print Audit, a company that provides print management software found that in offices where workers simply believe that their printing habits are being monitored, print volume drops by an average of ten percent.

It’s really easy to see how taking some simple steps in your workplace like eliminating unnecessary printers, or monitoring printer output can go a long way towards reducing operational costs and making your office more sustainable.  Taking simple steps like using the appropriate hardware or implementing a Managed Print strategy are two additional ways you can work to get your company’s print environment under control.

One of the best ways to assess your company’s print environment and begin to get your costs under control is to undertake an audit of your company’s printing practices, policies, and hardware. Working with an MPS company is a great first step. They will come in and audit your print environment, often for no charge, and can offer easy to implement cost effective solutions like helping your company to go paperless that will help to make your business more sustainable.  It’s a smart business decision and a great way to celebrate Earth Day this year!

Click here for your free e-book on how to make your office more environmentally friendly!

green printing

Tags: managed print services, print assessment, TDS, environmentally friendly office, Earth Day

What is Cloud Technology & How Can It Help Your Business?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 @ 02:53 PM

TDS Cloud

Recent reports have stated an emerging CIO strategy for the coming year is to increase productivity by outsourcing more of their IT and printing needs and investing in more in emerging cloud technology. The cloud is a vital component to simplifying the modern workplace, giving CIOs a tool that is more scalable, more accessible, and better for the bottom line.

But as great as the cloud is for your business now—allowing you to do business faster and easier than ever before—what’s next? The cloud will continue to be rated as one of the top productivity boosting applications your business can have in 2014. But how will evolving cloud technology impact the corporate environment in the months ahead?

Let’s look at some rising cloud trends and how they can your business practices.

Hiring Challenges

The cloud is still new technology—and it is hard to assess which hiring candidates have good cloud experience. Do you hire cloud experts to better use cloud technology, or do you invest in training current employees in house? It all depends on your size and your goals. But as the cloud becomes more prominent, you will need to be as up to speed as possible.

Better Data Management

The one thing that the cloud will help you manage better in the coming year is data. The cloud allows you to integrate separate areas of the company like never before, so that everyone has the information and resources they need at any time—and from anywhere. This will allow you to leverage and analyze your data in very useful ways. And if your company has more than one location, you will be able to connect like never before.

Deeper Penetration

It has been noted that as cloud technology evolves, it will also begin to have a deeper penetration into more specific industries and business practices—including Managed Print Services. The cloud will give MPS providers a range of new abilities and improvements—which will only improve your bottom line.

Better Service from Providers—Including MPS

The rise of cloud technology will also extend the power of your service providers who invest in it, which will also improve your bottom line. For example you will be able to use cloud technology to enter into exciting new areas, bringing your services to smartphones, tablets and other devices. It will allow for:

  • Remote monitoring, giving your service provider and your business more control
  • Improved document management, so that MPS providers can allow your employees to store, share, edit and print documents from a shared place in the cloud
  • Mobile printing which will allow your printing management to be handled from anywhere, on any smartphone, tablet or device. Talk about convenience.

Through the use of the cloud, CIOs can be assured the benefits of MPS will increase as the management of documents and other services becomes more mobile and flexible. In short, it makes MPS solutions and all services more scalable, portable and affordable.

Find out how much your business spends on print, click here for your free print assessment: 

Print Assessment

Tags: managed print services, TDS, cloud printing, mobile printing

How “Sustainable” is the Office Printing in Your Company?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 @ 12:00 PM

 TDS sustainability

Many businesses now realize the importance of sustainability and how it can benefit a company from a reputation and community standpoint as well as reducing overall corporate expenses.

To promote sustainability in the workplace many companies have implemented a variety of environmentally friendly policies as well as instigated cost saving measures.  This is often received very well by employees and the community at large.  The company can benefit from being recognized as a good corporate citizen while also seeing expenses reduced.

For print sustainability the Xerox ConnectKey solution provides substantial opportunities to “go green” while also saving on print operating expenses.  An additional benefit with the Xerox ConnectKey solution is improved office efficiency and productivity along with better security options.              

The following are some of the print sustainability solutions offered through the Xerox ConnectKey series:

•Monitors for printing utilize the Cisco EnergyWise technology to reduce energy consumption

•Recommended Earth Smart printing rules are available as a standard including duplexing, no banners, and a green meter that measures your level of environmental impact

•Better ink options using solid ink for ColorQube requires less packaging while also providing as much as 90% less waste than the traditional toner products

•LED printing technology is more efficient than typical Xenon lamps and uses up to 1/3 less power

•ConnectKey printers are Energy Star compliant so your company can realize overall energy savings when compared to other printers

Xerox offers a comprehensive Environmental Asset Recovery Program (EARP) so that used printing supplies such as toner, ink cartridges, and other components can be easily returned to be remanufactured and recycled.  This provides a reduced carbon footprint for print supplies.  Reporting will provide information on your participation in the program and leveraging the Xerox Canada Eco Box you can easily send print supply items in bulk to be recycled or remanufactured.

In addition to the sustainability advantages of Xerox ConnectKey companies can also realize more efficient printing capabilities such as automatically routing print jobs to the nearest available printer, utilizing the most efficient printer based on the type of print job, and greater security features to make sure the print jobs do not fall into the wrong hands.

Today’s businesses need to not only focus on saving money but also on environmental awareness and ways to implement sustainability policies.  The Xerox ConnectKey family of solutions offers businesses a tremendous amount of flexibility and cost savings while also helping corporate environmental programs to take root and flourish.

Click here for your free e-book on how to make your office more environmentally friendly!

green printing

 

Tags: sustainable office, sustainable, TDS, green office, environmentally friendly office

Who Pays to Remove the Old Copier From Your Office – Is It You???

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Nov 15, 2013 @ 01:53 PM

TDS copier removal

When the time comes to finally replace your copier with a multifunction printer (MFP) or another device, many business owners or managers are happy to see the old machine go.  But before the copier leaves your building you should be aware of the costs that can be incurred for copier removal.

Typical copier lease agreements have a three to five year term.  In the agreement there are typically stipulations outlining the removal of the copier when the lease expires or if the copier is to be removed before the term of the lease is completed.  Hefty fees can be involved in these cases.

As with any lease agreement business owners and managers should carefully review the entire lease before signing.  Far too many times, however, the copier removal fees happen by surprise because that portion of the lease was overlooked or misinterpreted.

Copier leases can have two different options available.  The first is for the business to completely manage and pay for preparation, transport and shipping expenses for the copier removal.  The second option is for the business to have the copier company handle all of the preparation and transportation expenses.  Both situations can be quite costly for the business.

Copiers are not easily transported because they are heavy and contain toner or ink that must be carefully moved.  Copiers are delicate devices that can be broken if not properly protected during the removal process.

Thoroughly reviewing your copier lease is the best way to avoid the surprise copier removal fees.  Xerox takes pride in having an end of lease program that is business-friendly and can protect you from unanticipated expenses.
 

green printing

Click here for your free e-book on how to make your office more environmentally friendly!

Tags: document management, lease multifunction printer, Total Document Solutions, TDS, service agreement, MFP

Demo the Latest Digital Press Technology: TDS Clear Toner Challenge

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, May 21, 2012 @ 08:58 AM

TDS BlogHeaderSince 2010 Xerox has been making the corporate space jealous of commercial printers with their Xerox Color 800 and 1000 Digital Presses. Now Xerox has once again upped the ante. The incredible speed, of up to 100 A4 pages a minute, coupled with the color enhancements from the company's patented Automated Color Quality Suite, make the 800 and 1000 Digital Presses fierce contenders. The clear coating they offer make them untouchable.

“I'm VERY impressed. They have what I consider to be the most significant capability which is the clear coating they put down on the sheet,” says Frank Romano, professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “That coating capability and all the other specs combined make those machines amazing products for the printing industry”. 

Regular commercial users are undoubtedly jealous of the presses ability to churn out professional-quality jobs quickly, as the presses' technology is unfortunately reserved for commercial printers mass producing flyers, newsletters, brochures and variable data documents. Jealousy would also likely stem from the machines' incredibly accurate color and image quality. Their color quality is thanks to the machines' Automated Color Quality Suite (ACQS)--a set of color management software tools for the inline spectrophotometer that automate tasks that were previously manual—and time consuming-- making large color jobs easier AND faster.

The machines can even produce full-color books and photobooks thanks to the inline perfect binder. “I think the 800 and 1000 could become the defacto standard for photobooks because of the quality of what it is outputting and the ability to have clear coating,” endorses Romano. 

There are five specific new technologies added to the 800 and 1000 presses that have given them unsurpassed image quality, faster speeds and higher reliability that Xerox's commercial presses have become known for:

1. Clear Emulsion Aggregation Toner: a new formula of transparent dry ink made of Xerox's ultra low melt formula. The clear EA toner was designed by Xerox's Canadian research center to pop-off the page visually, to add emphasis to headlines, photos, watermarks, logos and images.

2. Long-Life Photoreceptor: the new protective coating Xerox has used on the photoreceptor lasts twice as long, improving the shelf life of the light-sensitive photoreceptors.

3. Seamless Intermediate Belt Transfer (IBT) System: this new belt system allows for a fifth clear toner station and makes jobs simpler for operators to setup, even with varied sized media.

4. Belt Roller Fuser (BRF): like the long-life receptor the new fuser is engineered to last twice as long. It also transfers heat more efficiently and deliver more-stable image quality.

5. Inline Belt Cooling: Xerox researchers solved the cooling issues created from high-speed presses with their new inline belt cooling system that lowers paper temperature for faster printing with better image quality output.  


The new functions of the 800/1000 Digital Presses were true feats of engineering, solving many of the endemic commercial printing press problems. “With paper moving at these speeds, there are countless engineering challenges along the way,” says David Mueller, Engineering Manager for the new presses. “The technologies we developed, especially the new fuser and clear toner, really push the envelope in terms of how these presses perform.”

The Xerox 800 and 1000 Digital Presses are still relatively new to the game but could become  a sort of industry standard for the commercial printing industry. As Romano said, “I would recommend this product to any commercial printer”.

If you are a commercial printer, quick print shop, in plant print shop or a marketing agency, the Xerox 1000 digital press is definately worth investigating.

Take the TDS Clear Challenge today!: Book your demo and run one of your print jobs on us!

Register Now:


Tags: clear toner, xerox 1000, TDS clear challenge, commercial printers, digital presses, clear emulsion toner, xerox, Total Document Solutions, TDS