E21 – How To Sell High Value Products and Services with Randy Gerson
Full episode Coming Soon..
Randy Gerson from Gerson & Associates joinsGary to talk about selling to Xerox, dealing with long, complex sales cycles, and getting your foot in the door with high value prospects.
- Randy Gerson’s background story (01:27)
- How do I use this training and how can I make my budget for this year? (05:44)
- When I wanted to get out of sales and do Marketing (and then doing both) (07:11)
- The Launch of KinKo – FedEx Office (13:00)
- How do you deal and manage with these sales process (21:38)
- Strategies for working with gatekeepers and influencers (26:16)
- Techniques to obtain “new meetings” as a result of developing new accounts (29:26)
- To explore more about Sales and Marketing (36:09)
To get in touch with Randy Gerson:
00:00:52 Gary Ruplinger
Hello and welcome everybody to another episode of Pipelineology. Got a very exciting episode for you today. I am pleased to be joined by the founder and partner at Gerson and Associates. Randy Gerson, Randy. Welcome to the show.
00:01:08 Randy Gerson
Gary, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here and, uh, this should be fun and entertaining. So, thank you.
00:01:15 Gary Ruplinger
I’m looking forward to it myself, so I guess before. We get into the interview here. Could you just kind of give us a quick little bit about your background, your story, and then we’ll get into more stories.
00:01:27 Randy Gerson
Sure, be happy to do that, yeah? What a lot of people don’t know about me. Actually, I was born in downtown Los Angeles so I’m a LA Big city baby. Only bigger city would probably be in New York at the time in the United States and grew up in LA in Orange County. I kind of watched it grow over time earlier in my career, was actually an athlete. I played professional tennis for a super short less than a year. Career injured my knees and that was like a flash in the pants. Now in my career, but people that maybe don’t know that about me, but I do have an athletic background and still tend to stay in shape and participate a lot sport. But professionally after that I actually got into sales career. So, help my parents build a business, did some operational things for them. But eventually my father decided I need to be in sales out in the field and I got this really great sales training from him. I’ll go love this. It was he put a pitch book together which was just samples of the materials. That we created. A cover on it with the company name. Bought me a new suit at 24 years old and kicked me out the door and said go so that was my Oh boy, so really zero training. At all, he says, go out and talk. To people and he just gave me a list and said go bang on door has literally was myself training for my dad. Uhm, and those that know my dad know that he’s got a good gift for getting along with people. So, he figured that I’ve got that gift from him and it should work out fine for me. Little did I know how difficult sales was going to be. I’m dead, I get some deals. Sure, I think on the pity of my father mentioned his. Name a couple. People signed some agreements and gave U.S. business, but that I close some deals on my own. Maybe 1, maybe two to my recollection, but now that I look back on it, it was a lot of charity case back then and so not a great way. But very typical way that a lot of people. Started out in sales career. They have an expert personality and think oh I could be in sales. It’s good money. I enjoy it. I enjoy talking to people but not so fast. Sales isn’t that simple. From there I actually left the company and really started my sales career. I landed a job at Xerox Corporation. And this was back in their heyday. And those who want to look it up, Xerox was famous for winning an award. And I’ll get to that in just a minute. But I started in sales.
00:03:47 Randy Gerson
There got trained from them. Xerox would not allow you to talk to a customer even though you had a budget ticking over your head for the year until you were fully trained, which took about three months. It’s 7 to 8 weeks of full training, two weeks at a time. They ship you to their training center, which has 6000 students. Six students to one teacher video training sales process sales consulting training math training how to do contracts negotiating skills, you name it. The whole 9 yards. It was the best of the best. I graduated from there after three months of having my budget took over my head and put. Into practice what they had taught me. One thing I did notice, and you’ll love this Gary, is a my set behind it so think of a room. It’s got 100 salespeople out like a boiler room, ’cause that’s really what it looked like. It was a giant open room with chest high cubicles. She could see just barely over your eyeballs. If you were tall enough, 100 salespeople, 10 sales reps per row, 10 rows across one big giant square you had 20. 8 cubic feet. That you sat in. This is before. PCs or anything. We had one mainframe computer in as 400 in another room that you could go use the screen. Otherwise, you sat there with three stacks of Yellow Pages, phone books of businesses that you had to call. On and a telephone. That’s how sales was at Xerox back in the day. And a lot of people can’t imagine that. So, I sat at the desk and the object was as you were, either dialing for appointments or you were out in the field being at those appointments.
And so, three cubicles up from me was a gentleman by the name of Bob and keep Bob Anonymous. Bob was the number one Rep 17 out of 20 years in the country for Xerox and happen to sit three cubicles up from me, Now I know how lucky I got working for me. Dad, I know that I didn’t close a lot of deals. I’m now freshly trained thinking OK.
00:05:44 Randy Gerson
How do I use this training and how can I make my budget for this year? So, I decided to burn another full month of my budget. Now this will be 4 full months and travel with Bob in the field and find out what does this guy do with the training that he got that made him number one. 17 out of 20 years. What’s different about Bob. And when you looked at Bob, he didn’t look any different. Look like every other sales Rep. In fact, Bob looked like he had too many dinners here in there, and you’re thinking, you know Bob, not great shape. But God, he knows what he’s doing. So, I travel with a buck. We made friends and I found out what his trade secrets were and how well he was at making deals happen, and Bob utilized my Skills from my previous business. The travel that helped him as well. So, after working with the training, working with Bob, Learning the skill sets, I then set out to actually do my territory with only six months left in the year to make the budget. The budget was about. 800 and I think almost 900,892 or something like that was the budget for the year over the previous years. I ended up selling 1.2 million. That year, in that budget, and then the second and third year, I ended up selling up to 11.2 million. By the third year in that territory, so it took a territory from 870,000 just under a million to 11/2. You can imagine that at that point. I mean, I was the hero at Xerox. They wanted to say what do you want to do next? And you’ll really love this part of it. That’s very interesting.
00:07:11 Randy Gerson
I said I wanted to get out of sales. You could literally hear the pin drop in the room when I said that out of my mouth. There are five other executives in the room. With the whole Western region. I was in the room with the Western region president and VP and you’d still forthright looking for a position for me in their sales organization. And I say I don’t want to be in sales anymore. So after the dead silence that seemed like forever, it’s probably only 10 seconds, but seems like forever one of the executives asked me. Well, what would you like to do? And that’s when I open my mouth and said and you’ll love this, Gary. I want to get into marketing. What respectful salesperson wants to get into marketing ever? You know back then too? That was when sales Rep said marketing stinks. These leads are crap. They’re horrible and marketing said these poor salespeople can’t sell if their life depended on it. We’re sending these great leaves. What’s wrong with them? And so, you had the big US and them and Xerox pointing to each other, and so, me making that comment to my sales exec was like I was going to the. Other side you could just see it on their faces. Without a lot much to do, I actually was placed on a ten-person team up after about a month of deliberation. They made me an offer and part of the offer. Was the good news? Were they found position in marketing for me, the bad news was I was living in San Diego and I had to move and so I moved from San Diego signed a two-year deal to go to Rochester, NY? Now just imagine the weather San Diego to Rochester, NY. It doesn’t get more. Polar opposite than that. I mean it was so bad that my first six months in Rochester when I drove my car out there, I lived on a plow. St didn’t realize it and I’ve left my car on the street in a snowstorm and it literally got plowed away the next morning. Ended up on the neighbor’s yard upside down and. A big snow pile buried. And of course, they’re all laughing at me there. I left my car in the street, the. Rookie from California, so my indoctrination. But the good news of all this was I. Was put on. The Malcolm Baldrige team was a ten-person team at Xerox that was assigned to steal market share back from the Asian market that was stealing them in the small copier division. So I was part of a ten person team to design A marketing plan. A full sales funnel plan and an implementation plan out in the field to all 63 districts. And so, they tapped me in the team because of my selling skills and organizational skills to be the deployment of the sales plan. And so, I Helped with the team of Tempe again it was. 10 people and I was by far by far. I say this dumbest person in the room, ’cause I think everybody had at least one PhD if not a couple of them in that room, they’re all scientists really smart. And here I am flopping in there with my chemistry degree from San Diego State. No PhD, no degree in marketing or anything like that. And I’m here on this team and we all work together to devise a really great. Plan that coupled with a sales plan so tying marketing and sales together, so is my first time seeing why marketing and sales needs to work together and not point fingers at us and them. And by doing that, we’re able to steal market share back from the Asian market. And it was a success for Xerox. If you look at their stock, they really jumped stock that year. So, when I joined, Xerox stock was $22.00 a share when I left it was 160 some dollars a share.
That’s how much an increase it was because of that market. So right place right time for me to go from a top sale. Person into a marketing position and that’s kind of how I cut my teeth in marketing and really become a seasoned salesperson that understands how leads get generated and why. It’s so important to follow up on those leads with many different types of processes that are important versus just having a great salesperson. And we can talk more about that later, but that’s kind of my story at Xerox and from there I left there and went to Kinko’s. And we can talk a little bit more at Kinko’s story, but I actually was hired by a gentleman named Paul Orfilla who was Mr. Kinko because he had dark, ***** hair that was his nickname at UC Santa Barbara, and that’s how the stores got their name from Paul’s hair and most people don’t know that, and he owned a zero X 8200. Then he got a special cord that was 12 to 13 feet long so he could plug it into his garage, roll up the door and roll it out under the streets so people can make copies at UC Santa bar. That’s really how Cinco started. Most people don’t realize he started in a little house with a garage and a machine with a special cord, ’cause it’s a 220 Volt to plug in like an old appliance plug to get the company started. Humble beginnings for that company. If you look at him now there FedEx Office. But that’s another great story for that, and so from there I actually launched when I left Kinko’s, I launched into my own career. Really, Gerson and associates and been doing that ever since, and so we’re basically sales and marketing consultants, not an agency. It’s me and my partner. Chris, who’s very well-known and we help companies grow but sales process is probably one of the most important things that most companies forget and all kind of stuff there. Gary, let you ask some more questions, ’cause like I mentioned I could go on for a while about some of those stories.
00:12:21 Gary Ruplinger
No, I was. I think that’s really interesting stuff. I know kind of were talking before even we went live here, just that even what Kinko’s used to do. Cool, before they became the office type of or printing type of company that people knew them from and I guess now they their FedEx Office. Is that the actual name of the, what they’ve merged into so they don’t.
00:12:43 Randy Gerson
FedEx Office is the official name of Kinko’s now, just FedEx Office with a completely different logo. Colors are similar to what Kinko’s having a completely different logo, but how would you like to share more about the Kinko story and kind of their morph into who they are?
00:12:57 Gary Ruplinger
Yeah, I’d love to hear more about that. Yeah, very interesting story. So, when I went to go work for them, there was 13 locations here in San Diego. There was, you know, hundreds of locations throughout the United States and the biggest profit centers. Believe it or not, we’re San Diego County and Houston, TX. And so, my choices were going to Houston. Or excuse me, Dallas, TX. Not used in Dallas Fort Worth area or stay in San Diego after living in Rochester for two years. You can kind of figure out what my decision was stay in San Diego, so enjoy the weather. Not Dallas is a cool place. I like Dallas Fort Worth area but just love San Diego so much more. Since it’s kind of been my alma mater and I’ve been here for a long time. And they had a store downtown that was 1000 square feet, which was the typical Kinko store. Think of a long rectangular Bay. That’s usually what they rented out, and they had a few analog copy machines in their few self-service machines up front. They did some shipping with both UPS and. FedEx back then so. Both, they would ship either company and. Some post office stuff. If you paid enough, they drive it over to the post office and ship through the post. Office and it was really the preface at Kinko’s, and they were doing mostly Prof notes. And what Prof Notes were in the beginning for Paul, especially in the early days of UC Santa Barbara was if you had that class. Let’s say you had a business admin class at UC Santa Barbara Mechanical Engineering, which they’re famous for up there at that school, and your professor was professor. John and he used this textbook and had these notes every semester for his class. Well, Kinkos actually reprinted those professors’ notes put him. In little slots on a wall and you just go look up. You’d walk in as a student, look up your professor, your major, your professor, and grab those notes and pay for the copies and they just keep replenishing those in there for each student. And so that was their business was professors’ notes. Unfortunately, all those copies were pieces of textbooks that were in there with the professors, notes, previous students note that they this professor authorized to put in there, and they ended up in a giant national lawsuit for copyright infringement. And guess who was pushing the lawsuit? Not the schools everybody guesses, not these students obviously wanted the notes, the publishers. The publishers amassed together. I forget who the major publisher was sued Kinko’s for copyright infringement. It took seven years of courts to get through that, and during that time Kinko’s decided to reinvent itself, and that’s actually when I got hired in, so I wasn’t. I was there after the professor notes were going in, so this 1000 square foot store. Downtown was a hybrid college notes and then some lawyer copy and they did a lot of stuff for small law firms. That had to copy all these weird side sheets for court cases and that was really their business. And so, we had two machines where I had two employees all day long, just unstable ING stuff for lawyers and put him on the glass hit one. Another one. It takes all day to copy one box, you know, 1/8 and a half by 11 box of paperwork and we charged a lot for that service, but they wanted to go digital, so I brought the digital part of Xerox and what I didn’t say why I was at Xerox. They went from analog to digital. This is when their docu-tech series of machines which are now in all different sizes. I column like the $1,000,000 machines because. Fully digital one hooked up to an ASK 400 computer back then. Now they hook up to PC’s with all the attachments. Was about $1,000,000 with payments. If you took all the payments out for the lifetime of the product, it would equate to about 1,000,000 bucks and include the service and everything, and so Kinko’s decided they want to go digital. So, we brought that equipment into Kinko’s I talked the owners into bringing several pieces, that’s we put seven of these machines here in San Diego. We put the first four downtown started advertising to strictly businesses downtown, and we grew the store from 1000 square feet to 10,000 square feet. Imagine that 10 times for all with digital equipment. Then we invited a put a big PR. Peace out invited. All the businesses, including restaurant groups, in the area which there are tons of restaurants. Our downtown was doing what lots of downtowns were doing back then, revitalizing downtown to the way you see San Diego now, it wasn’t like that back then, but it was getting like that. They only had one street with all the nice restaurants, and they are now. That’s the whole downtown area just migrated over, and we provided a business atmosphere.
So, this is that was a huge kick off. We had lights like it was a Hollywood event outside going in the sky. You know, we had golden tickets to get in. I mean, we really produced a huge event for this and. And we had business leaders. Press show up and what we did is I designed this little demo that we had done at Xerox in the digital room back in Rochester and what we have done is we contracted somebody in iron. That was at Xerox that I knew somebody in England, somebody in New York and somebody in Saint Louis to be on camera back then. An 18 T camera conference room. Much different Gary than what we’re doing now is Zoom this you had to pay a lot of money. And go to a special room to get on camera. So, we brought the cameras into our demo room at Kinko’s downtown, ’cause it was three blocks. Away the AT&T. Building and they with a lot of money offered to do this for us, and we showed the guy in Ireland showing the headline of the newspaper that day in Ireland and we had the same person do that in every city that we had contracted with and we had them digitally scan those on his scanner and the whole crowd pressure watching this you think about this. This was 1993-94 right in their digital wasn’t a big thing that nobody even knew what. Email was back then. You think about it. Back then, we’ve come so far in such a short period of time. Technology wise. And all these headlines were scanned. They arrived at the machine digitally. We manipulated them into a 24-page book with five tabs. For each section and on the back, we had a hand drawn of a picture of somebody hand and then across the top that it said technology is now in you. And we printed these books, complete with the tabs, the front and back cover, hot off the press. It was blue bound, so glue was hot. We made sure we put him in someone hands. They could feel the heat and we turn them upside down on purpose so they could see the hand with.
Technologies now in your hands and that launched Kinko’s into the digital age. It cut the headlines here in San Diego. It went across the country. It did so well. We expanded obviously Dallas Fort Worth snacks into 10,000 square foot stores, and now that’s the footprint that you basically see for a Kinko’s store somewhere between 7:00 and 10,000 square feet across the country, away from their humble roots of the 1000 square foot storm, which was the big. Store Paul’s idea was to do this and grow this with his board and sell it to and didn’t even be interested. The first offer they got. Believe it or not was from UPS. UPS made an offer can’t ghost kind of turned it down and FedEx came in with a much better offer and that’s how they ended up being with FedEx and it became. FedEx is property and ownership over a two-year period where they marked all the stores into FedEx Office. Over time, cleaning all the TV promotion PR that they had done with. Now you’re thinking boy, that’s too bad for UPS. Well, not so bad for UPS ’cause they bought my other customer here in San Diego, mailbox etc. So, mailbox etc. turned into The UPS Store. That’s who they are now. So that used to be a mailbox etc., which was my other client. So, was I lucky? Yeah, right place right time having Kinko’s. Here in Southern California, headquartered in mailbox etc. And helping both those companies exit, plan out was a a great position to be in. For sales and marketing. To be able to help those companies on with teams of people grant you that took teams of us to do this. To make those sales, but that’s the KinKo story, and that’s kind of what they’re out today. They’re the juggernaut of what we call the small Office Home Office.
00:20:43 Gary Ruplinger
I love the, you know stuff; you just really don’t even think about in terms of like the history of some of these. These companies, so I guess if we can maybe kind of shift gears here ’cause I know you’ve mentioned it a little bit when it comes to these sales processes. I mean, you’re talking about $1,000,000 machines at Xerox. How do you deal with these lengthy process? You know, processes that I’m assuming. Take at least months Ben. I’m sure nobody not picking up the phone and they’re saying hey, are you interested in AM 500 or a docuhub or names? I’m just going to butcher but. And I say you know what? Yeah, you know eyes are getting run down I’ll take three, you know, come, come on later this afternoon and put him in. Uh, could you kind of speak to what those type of sales process and how you manage that without kind of dropping the ball along the whole along the way?
00:21:38 Randy Gerson
Sure, sure, that actually goes back to my training at Xerox. They were really good about process. One thing they drilled into your brain in that one-on-one training. And by the way, if you failed the training you got fired on the spot at their training center in Virginia. Literally I watch people get escorted out of the classroom. Nice to see I never see you again. They literally weren’t even on the campus. That afternoon they put him on a plane and. Kicked him out, so you had to know your stuff and that’s why they say anybody that graduated from Xerox back then. That’s why a lot of companies seek those type of salespeople ’cause I have that basic consulting process training that just doesn’t fail. It’s successful time and time again. There’s been many books written about sales. After that they all follow the similar. Process using different. Words and that process basically, as you mentioned, Gary, does it take months? Well, if it was a two-month sales cycle most. Of the time you. You and I might not be sitting here. I’d be an island somewhere, maybe a couple islands that I purchased going forward. No one is cutting $1,000,000 checks or even quarter $1,000,000 checks like that. It’s a process. And really, what it takes is the salesperson themselves have to understand that they’re not really selling their consulting. Given advice becoming a resource. For that entity, knowing that this entity may take up to 18 months to close the deal, 18 months year and a half, and it’s the long game. And if you’re not prepared for the long game, then you’re going to lose right from the beginning, and in that 18 months there’s a lot of process that you have to conduct one step to the other, and if you skip a step or two. You could obliterate your entire 18 months that you’ve worked so hard for that one, so you need to have patience and fortitude to make it in those kinds of sales. The other is when you’re doing enterprise type sales is you have to know who the key players are at the come. And cross your fingers ’cause you know it’s going to happen. One of your key players, maybe one of your key influencers is going to leave. Either get promoted laterally within the company, no longer an influencer, or get an upward promotion to another company during your sales cycle. So, the average tenure was two to four years at a corporation back then. You could imagine with an 18-month sales cycle, you’re right in that window of change. And so, the key was figuring out who the key players were and figure out who the key players might be during your sales cycle. So, you can actually preempt who might come in and make sure that they’re more friendly than an unfriendly in your process. Uhm, the real short circuit way to talk about this is when you go into a company you have your gatekeepers.
Everybody talks about the person up front. This got to get you connected to somebody else. There’s a process for how to become good friends with the gatekeeper. How do we show them respect which a lot of reps may or may not do, ’cause they don’t think much of the gatekeeper? They don’t realize how hard those people work to do what they do, and really, what they’re instructed to do. So, we learned early on from Xerox as they showed you in the process to show respect for every. Single person you dealt with in your process because each one of them is as important as the person writing the check, which we call AK decision maker, right decision makers, a person that writes the check authorizes the. Payment or cuts it themselves, and that’s the key that you’re looking for, but in consultant sales, you’re amassing an army of influencers to the decision makers. So, just in case that decision maker is not quite sure yes or no, they’re on the fence. That army scream anatomy of their employees. Saying we want this makes it. Very hard for them to say no. And I’ve been in several situations where the person in charge that was the actual person that wrote the check, the decision maker authorized. It wasn’t keen on the idea, but I had masked 10 or 12 individual employees underneath that person that was they would have been in very bad political shape had they said no to their entire team. And so that’s one of the techniques that Xerox teaches you in the process that I know to impart in companies whether the cycles short or long, understanding who the players are at their potential client, how important those players are, and what role they play. In your process and what role, they play in the company. So, you understand the entire thing and that shows respect to the person that you’re trying to get to when you finally get there to talk to them that you understand their business, their competitors and their company versus just being another salesperson, you become a resource.
00:26:02 Gary Ruplinger
So, when you’re kind of like working with all these influencers and gatekeepers, did you kind of have a specific strategy for each of them? About ’cause? I assume you’re also dealing with a lot of different personalities during something like this.
00:26:16 Randy Gerson
You are you are you get personalities or all over the spectrum and so you have a playbook. And so, I used to have a Playbook that I’d open it up and have the account name it has the structure of the company, their actual organizational structure. Even if most people don’t even know what it was in the company, I’d start mapping it out after asking questions. It’s the first thing they trained us to do. Once I understood the organizational structure. Then I looked at who I was currently dealing with, where they were in the organizational structure and figured out where the decision maker might be if I didn’t know already, and then how many players I’d have to interact with and who those players might be along that you know 9 to 18 months sales cycle that I’d mentioned earlier. And so that playbook became the institution of how you’re going to go after that account. And of course, that playbook, like any playbook, and like any plans or like, and you’ve read some of these great books. It’s like the best plans once you go to contact with the customer, they just all go out the door and so you have to constantly be planning and rejiggering your plans. As things change in the field, but without that starting format, you’re going to be lost in your head on who’s. Who do I have to talk to and even personal details about each person you know? Are they have a family? What are their values so you can find common ground? What are their likes and dislikes? You need to know this about every key player that you’re selling up to, so it isn’t as simple as I know John or I know Mary. It’s I know Mary’s got three kids. She’s been married for 30 years. Her husband loved to go here on vacation and so when I talked to Mary, who’s the gatekeeper, she knows I, I generally care and understand who she is and what her role is. Not only personally but in the company, so it’s very important you know them personally as well as know what’s going on in the business for them as well. And you got to remember when you’re selling. Not every employee is a happy go lucky camper at that company. And so, you have to play between the political lines as you navigate between all these people they get to the right person.
00:28:12 Gary Ruplinger
Yeah, it sounds. As you’re saying that I’m just like picturing you know, like an FBI type of thing where you have a dossier on each person, and you have like a big thing on the wall of them and say all right. So that’s not the boss. How do we get to the boss? Yeah, type a type of thing trying to piece together the puzzle of in this case, the sailor of the whodunit, or what or what not.
00:28:34 Randy Gerson
Yeah, actually you’re not far off our top. Your top five accounts you literally had to draw up on a white board for management when I was at Xerox and show them what you understood about the account, not for Mary and half by 11 playbook you had to draw it up there without looking at your playbook. They want to know if you knew it in your head. Besides on paper that you own those top five accounts ’cause they, Xerox knew If you could close two to four of those top five accounts, they would make their budgets rolling up to the district budget.
00:29:01 Gary Ruplinger
So, when it came to developing new accounts, because I assume you didn’t really start or may correct me if I’m wrong, but did you? I assume you didn’t start with any accounts, I don’t. Uh, but maybe I guess maybe you did, but when it came to trying to get those new meetings, what are some of the techniques you use to get them, or what lengths did you go to two? I guess maybe get some of these meetings.
00:29:26 Randy Gerson
No, I got some good stories there. Now go back to my Xerox selling days a little different now. Techniques are a little different today because of all the technology, but pre massive technology and I think back let’s see then I did have a mobile phone, but it was one of the bigger awkward no smart phones back then. It was just a regular straight phone as pre-BlackBerry days. Uhm, to give you an idea of what cell phone technology that was, one of the few people that had one in my car. Uh, back then I had amounted one. If people remember that cell phones were mounted in your car back in the beginning, they were. Unless you got a transportable unlock, it looked like a brick about this big that you’d carry with a handle with the handset on your head. That was the transportable ones but had the fully mounted ones. Back then, uhm? How did I prospect so there were some? Accounts given you had to manage in a territory, but. You would have trouble making your budget if that’s all that you were working on. That’s usually about half of your budget. They calculate is the accounts that were given to me. It’s the other half you have to go out and get, and so my territory was all of San Diego County and it was called the print for pay market, meaning that anybody that printed on a piece of medium and then sold that to somebody else. They call that print for pay, so Kinko’s would print for pay, right you go. In their consumer goes in. They get some copies. They pay for the copies that Sprint for pay, so I was mostly dealing with what they called the offset printers, the big presses and the printing. That was not a copy machine and Xerox hadn’t really broken into that market. They really wanted it bad and I just come from that market. That’s what my parents did for Levy, and they were in the print for. The market, and so I kind of understood it from that standpoint. And so, Xerox was very suit and tie. A three piece or two-piece suit was their dress code. You actually got a book about this thick with the dress code. It’s back in the days when IBM had to wear socks suspenders as part of their dress code. I remember reading my buddy who worked for IBM. We didn’t have to wear socks suspenders, but it was that detailed. Do you believe or not can? Imagine giving this to somebody today? What kind of lawsuit that throw off? Must be crazy, right? Besides wearing the, you know the Chuckie cheese uniform, where they can’t tell you to wear socks suspenders. I mean, it’s just crazy unless it’s really part of their uniform. And then you were only allowed to wear a red tie if you’re going out, closing that day, so we always knew who was closing deals in the morning meetings of sales ’cause they had red ties on, or the women had red sachets or something red on their clothing. That was very much color coded back then.
It was really interesting. I can’t even imagine any of this flying today in HR. If you really had some of these things in place, but saying that, UM? It was really interesting with how they processed all this. Is it kept you very focused on what you need to do and so for prospecting? What I did instead of wearing all that suit and tie print shops, did not salute to the guy driving up in the Mercedes or like the insurance guy in a full three-piece suit. Owners may have been OK with that, but not the guys in the back. They were making the biggest. Influence on the owner to buy this equipment. Right, and So what I would do is I’d go out in my kind of OK average car. I had a change of clothes downstairs, so I had to show up at Xerox every morning in my suit for my first morning meeting before out the door at 8:00 o’clock. And then I will go downstairs in my car and change. Clothes in my car into my jeans, my polo shirt and. My brown loaf issues and I would use those to go into the back door of all the print shops in San Diego. So I entered through the back door, not the front door, and talked to the guys in the binding department in the shipping department. Made friends with everybody in the back and worked my way to the front just like I was taught at Xerox. Instead of trying to come through the front door so by the time I got to the decision makers, I already knew who I was.
That had been in the shop for quite some time, and all the things I was doing that had really in their mind not a lot to do with sales but investigating into their productivity looking at their competition and their customers, and how I could help them actually generate more revenue was my approach and I had a playbook for that. Just for that print for pay market that I used over and over again to be successful and so I was very successful at turning accounts that Xerox had never spoken to buying equipment. That’s how I sold 11.2 million in one year. So, it took Me 2 1/2 years of prospecting those deals to get the actual purchases down the line.
00:33:43 Gary Ruplinger
00:33:44 Randy Gerson
That’s just one example, I give you another. One that you’ll love. Uh, this was long after Xerox. I was still selling, and I couldn’t get into this one account for the life. I mean every salesperson has this story. They got this media account. They want to get into, but just the back door shut. The side door shut the front door shots like this house is boarded up and you just can’t get in no matter what unless you like mine underground and come up through the bottom right for just an allergy. And I just couldn’t get to this guy that I wanted to talk to. So, I found a chocolate company in San Diego County that could make chocolate in any shape you wanted. And they did. Basically, mold injecting with chocolate, so I had them. I took my dress shoe down there and had them make a mold after my dress shoe and make a chocolate. No, that was full size, and I had him put it in plexiglass and I sent it to this guy, and this is the cliche of cliches. I said I’m trying to. Just get my foot in the door. Will you please just talk to me for five minutes? Does this chocolate turn me 5 minutes and I got a meeting with? It was so gimmicky and so cliche even back then the guy says I got at least talked to this guy that took. All this effort. To make this shoe and it got me in the door. Never used it again, just the one time, but it’s just one of those things I didn’t know what else to try to do. I couldn’t network my way in through. Anybody I knew and so this was the best chance I had, and it worked. So sometimes off the wall stuff works, you never know.
00:35:07 Gary Ruplinger
You literally sent a chocolate shoe.
00:35:10 Randy Gerson
I’m not proud to say it, but I actually did it. Year 2000. I would never, never do that again, I’d probably get shunned on social media forever.
00:35:19 Gary Ruplinger
Oh gosh, I love it I think it’s brilliant, I’m like I’m trying to think can I use that today in 2021?
00:35:26 Randy Gerson
My cut through the clutter, right?
00:35:28 Gary Ruplinger
Yeah, how do I? Do I how do I borrow that? And do that since you know we do a lot of B-to-B work here, so we’re always trying to get into the different companies too, so.
00:35:37 Randy Gerson
Yeah, by the way I didn’t invent that. I heard about that from somebody else, and that’s who turned me on to that chocolate or they did the mold injecting ’cause they had done the same thing was a woman? With her women dress. Shoe that she had sent out.
00:35:47 Gary Ruplinger
Well, I know we’re kind of getting up there in time, so I guess for anybody who you know wants to kind of explore this deeper. I know you guys do a lot of you know different sales and marketing things so if anybody is kind of looking for you know some more information about that. What is kind of the best way to get in touch with you or who should reach out to you type of thing.
00:36:09 Randy Gerson
Sure, yeah, any company that’s looking to connect their leads I call marketing, right? That’s a Christian. I do well is drive lead generation. Demand generation leads. They already got an engine great connecting that to an actual sales funnel because we all know that 80% of the leads you generate don’t close and those are the ones that are most important to the business long term and so. Developing a process to what to do at the 80% that don’t close versus the 20% that are gonna close anyway is really what makes a company successful or not. And Chris and I have an uncanny way of developing and showing those processes. That was kind of describing earlier what to do once you get that lead in the door. Or and then take it all the way through it, or close and track it so you know exactly what your metrics are for sales and it helps you with projections. Moving forward also helps you know when the company is gonna have a slow down or speed up based on how many leads are in the pipeline in your process and so those are the kind of companies that are great to talk to us and Chris and I you know for free we’ll talk to any company. Uh, no costs. Just call us up and we’ll shoot the gap and give you what we think you know. And then it’s up to you from there what? You’d like to do? We’re pretty low-pressure kind of company.
To get a hold of us, the best way is you can go to our website. It’s www.rgersonassociates.com. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you’re really aggressive and you want to just call me, I’ll give you my cell number. It’s 619-851-0265 feel free to call me text me. I pretty much answered just about anything. Happy to talk to other professionals in the field that do the same thing. I do always great to share stories and gain knowledge and become better as a community at what we do.
00:37:54 Gary Ruplinger
Well, I love it. Well, we’ll make. Sure, we share. You know your website in the show notes. Check him out, give him a call, send him a text. Absolutely Randy. Thanks so much for coming on today. I really appreciate your time.
00:38:09 Randy Gerson
Gary, thanks for having me. I appreciate it and I hope the audience enjoyed it and wish everybody a self-safe and a happy day.
00:38:17 Gary Ruplinger
Alright, take care, Randy, thanks.