Don’t Look for Shortcuts with MPS

Done right, managed print services programs benefit VARs and clients alike. But let’s face it, these contracts don’t sell themselves, and any vendor program or so-called consultant that suggests there are shortcuts to solid sales work is tampering with the truth.

“You have to do more than send a flyer or e-mail,” is the succinct way Mike Trevisan, president of Atlantic Office and Laser Products Inc., a Beltsville, Md., provider of print management solutions, puts it.

Fellow blogger and print services veteran Greg Walters says success requires two complementary forces: “Selling with your head down, focused. And selling with your head up, with vision. It’s difficult to keep that balance, to stay on the razor’s edge. But when you can, the stars are the limit.

The real revenue potential of managed print services, according to both Trevisan and Walters, comes not with selling hardware and locking clients into long-term contracts, but with solving the unique business problems of each customer. And there’s no way to do that without one-on-one sit-downs with a client’s decision-makers where VARs do a lot of listening and talk mainly when it’s time to ask questions to flesh out details.

This reality can be frustrating to sales staffs looking for short close cycles, but the effort is worth it when the payoff is predictable revenue from contracts that span three to five years. And there’s a good chance that VARs will see an additional reward—a clear understanding of each customer’s needs that paves the way for other types of IT solutions.