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The First Rule of MPS is the Same as the First Rule of Fight Club

22 November 2017 | NORM MCCONKEY



You do not talk about Fight Club. You should also not talk about managed print services (MPS), or any managed services for that matter—especially on your website. Why? It’s complicated. No, really MPS is too complicated for digital marketing. Rather than talk about a complicated solution to customers, why not have a simple conversation about their supplies?

I was once told the difference between the two political parties in America is that one tells complicated truths, the other tells simple lies. I’ll let you decide which is which. Savvy salespeople have known for years that simple is better. When it comes to selling office technology like printers, laptops, and related services, is your marketing message too complicated? Managed print services and managed IT services (MS) are difficult concepts to explain. If you want to generate leads from your website and your marketing efforts, it’s best to start simple.



Cast A Wide Net

Every office I have ever been in with more than 10 employees has a printer. So, that means that every single business needs a supply. They bought a print device at some point, and will either need a new one in the future, or need to repair their existing one. That means that ink and toner, and hardware are universal business requirements. If your website and your message talks about supplies, service, and hardware, you have a big audience. Imagine now talking about MPS or MS? You need to explain what it is, why they need to make it a priority, and why you are better than competitors…the complicated truth.

Earlier this year I was at a Comptia event where the presenter was talking about marketing and lead generation. She had an advance attendee list, and therefore “creeped” the sites of attendees. Her comment could not be more simple: “I’m in this industry, and when I look at your websites, I have NO IDEA WHAT YOU DO!” If your business is selling office technology, and I can’t immediately see your value proposition, that’s a problem.


Using Sales to Get Leads

Conventional wisdom is that you get a lead, then you make a sale. Imagine how much better it would be to get a sale, then make a lead. I’m constantly being told that you cannot compete with online shops that sell ink and toner and hardware, because there is no margin to be made. Well, what if you looked at supply sales as a lead generator? Every client that buys a supply is telling you something amazing. They are telling you the type of printer they have. Imagine if someone bought a 364X cartridge. Well you just sold a $300 cartridge to a customer that has an HP P4015 printer. A NINE year old, SINGLE FUNCTION MONOCHROME printer. And if they buy one sixty days later? Well then you know that they print about 10,000 pages a month. How much would your sales rep pay for the opportunity to move in and sell that client a new color MFP?


supplies search



Now imagine the device breaks down, and your website sells service. Are you starting to get the picture? So, if these businesses are not buying supplies from you, then who are they buying them from? Wouldn’t you like to be a salesperson at a company that is collecting that type of data every day from businesses in your coverage area?

MPS, document management, and managed IT are great solutions for SOME customers—but they need to be sold. These complicated conversations should not be email messages. They should not be long complicated sections of your website. If you want leads then use your website to generate them. Get the sale, then make the lead. Once someone is a customer, even if they buy a supply or two, you are in a much better position to expand your product offering. This is how salespeople benefit from a functioning e-commerce site: it’s the best form of lead generation you can have. There is no better means to generate website traffic than selling supplies. 10 million times per month, customers look for ink and toner on Google—managed print services is searched less than 10,000 times. Do you need more leads? Don’t complicate things. Sell toner online. And remember: don’t talk about Fight Club.





About the Author

Norm McConkey

Norm McConkey has been involved in the print, imaging, and software/tech business since 1993. Holding executive level positions in a number of emerging technology firms, he founded PrintFleet in 2003, and Tangent MTW in 2009. A founding member of the MPSA, an award winning author and presenter, Norm has spoken at various industry events around the world including the Lyra Imaging Symposium, Photizo confernece, ITEX Tradeshow, Regional BTA conferences, Remax Europe, and World Expo. He has been contracted to consult and build go to market and sales training programs with several OEM manufacturers such as Canon USA, and HP, and distributors such as Parts Now and Supplies Network, as well Resellers including Office Depot. Norm’s current project, MPSToolbox (, is a software platform which helps technology dealers develop and maintain e-commerce websites.


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