Around water coolers everywhere, talk of New Age MpS is all the rage. Indeed, from Miami to New York to Utah, enlightened miscreants are growing their hair out, burning battle-cards and letting "the sunshine in" on managed (print) services.
What's all the hubbub about? Are happy hippies dancing their way desk-side, dropping toner as they go? No, my good reader, nothing that exciting.
New Age MpS is about looking at the world from a different perspective - at least that's the rumor.
Here's the deal, everybody is doing MpS. Heck everyone on this side of the fence is doing each other - but that's a different blog. We're all talking to ourselves, while we eat each others dinner - we create exclusive circles, late at night it seems, coming up with this business model or that value proposition designed to maximize profits and increase share of wallet.
In that effort, you know it all and exclude everyone who doesn't see it the way you do. Your blinders are on, you bring 'new paper technology' to a market who doesn't want more complexity. All this because over the years of training and indoctrination, you've created voids and excluded the most important person from your formula.
Alternatively, New Age MpS is inclusive - not exclusive.
Many years back, at one of the Transform conferences, before it was called Transform, I presented some fool thing about "MpS inside a VAR". One slide outlined the MpS Ecosystem, showing the then current MpS influencers; software providers, MpS programs, infrastructure, consultants, OEMs (Canon was not in the MpS mix yet, just MDS), VARs and toner remanufactures. As complete a survey as it was, I was missing one key player.
New Age MpS includes all the usual suspects plus the most important player of them all:
Yeah, I can hear your groans from here. You KNOW the customer is the reason for the season, don't you? You've taken classes, read the sales books, attended all the free Photizo webinars - you got your USB stick up and ready and know it all, don't you, big boy?
No. No you don't. New Age MpS includes the customer, and the customer does not need to include you. Self maintained MpS is not some psychedelic trip of fantasy or a mystic crystal revelation. It's here, now and it is just the beginning.
New Age MpS: the intersection of reduced clicks and customer self-reliance and realization.
For eons, the seller/buyer interplay has been dissected, documented and studied. Until very recently, the relationship was often one-sided - in fact, at least in your perception, the "pushy salesperson" prevailed. Over the past few decades, the selling philosophy has given lip service to the "customer as a team member" strategy - all the value propositions around becoming your prospects' "trusted advisor" was just that: strategery for filling your funnels.
The Old Age is still "us vs. them":
- We "target" them
- We "qualify" them
- We design and use "elevator pitches"
- We use "techniques" on them
- We "close" them
- We "move them" through a "funnel"
- We "lock them in"
- We expect more "share of wallet"
- We "prospect" them
- We "cold call" them
- We find or create "pain" - then twist
- We talk "fear, uncertainty and doubt"
- We organize them by low and high hanging "fruit"
- We "account manage" them
- We "handle" their objections
- We call their receptionists, "gate keepers"
- We are "hunters"
- They are "take-downs"
New Age MpS is upon us, the Age of the Customer. How do I know this? Your clients are telling us. More importantly, you are telling us. Every time we, Walters & Shutwell, have been on the client side of the selling equation, we bear witness to:
- Contrived, rehearsed sales propositions
- Premeditated and assumed selling cycles
- Hollow pitches and talk tracks full of phrases like,
- "we know you're going to do xyz with all the vendors"
- "we know you're getting this information for an RFP"
- "we want to be your trusted advisor",
- "we're want to be in relationship.."; or
- "we're here to make your life easier..."
Think about the conversations you have with yourself, in the elevator, in the car, after a "good" appointment. Do you mentally place your target in the 30, 60, 90 day stage of your funnel? Are you checking off all the items your sales manager is going to want to know when you 'huddle-up' later in the day - who are the decision makers, when is the ex-date, what "lure" do we have to get them to "close" by month's end?
How does any of that support the "trusted advisor" role?
Now, take a deep cleansing breath, light some sage, find your center and consider this: what conversation is your client conducting just after you leave their building? We've been there. We've heard them. You don't want to know. This is going to sound 'preachy', but please remember, our words come from a place of love.
Your prospects do not believe you. We'll say it again, but slightly different. Your prospects do not believe "in" you.
It's worse - this message is garbled from the enterprise to the SMB - over the entire spectrum. All those sales classes, strategy sessions, product knowledge seminars, education tracks and multi-million dollar consulting projects cannot keep up with the prospect.
From the Inland Empire of Southern California to the back-water, environs of North Carolina - the faces change but the messages stay the same.
A New Hope, A New Age
New Age MpS envisions you and your prospects as One; no more "us vs. them". No more corporate, top down dogma disguised as value propositions. No more quotas. Fewer clients, less money but more commissions.
Clients find you, not the other way around - out of this world.
Hey man, we're just passing along what we've seen and heard from your prospects and customers. You can believe it or not.
These "...crazy new-age outlooks that seem nuts by most people’s standards..." are the shape of things to come.
Turn on, tune in and drop out. Whatever man.
The Popular version, 1969: