In our expert series we discuss a variety of best practices to help sales reps, managers, and everyone involved in the sales process become better.
In this round, we sat down with Dale Dupree to get his insight on how he wins at the prospecting game.
Dale “The Copier Warrior” Dupree has been in the copier industry for over 10 years. Dale’s goal is to know and learn more about each individual business that he serves. He loves being different from other boring sales people, as life is too short not to be yourself and have fun.
To learn more about Dale, visit: www.copierwarrior.com
Trey Gibson: This is Trey Gibson from SPOTIO. We are coming to you live from beautiful Dallas, Texas. With ourselves, Expert Series. Where we explore best practices for sales reps, managers, and everyone in between to become the better sales professional today.
Today we are going to be talking to Dale Dupree about how to win the prospecting game. Dale I’m really excited to speak with you. I will go ahead and let you introduce yourself, tell the audience who you are, where you’re from, and a little bit about your background, before we get rolling.
Dale Dupree: Sure. Thanks Trey. I appreciate you having me on too man. My name is Dale Dupree but most people more commonly know me as the Copier Warrior. And I’m also the appointed leader of the sales rebellion. I self-appointed myself to that too. Born and raised in Orlando, Florida. Which a lot of people are shocked to hear, like “You’re from Florida?” That’s crazy man. But I’ve lived here my entire life. Actually, l live in my childhood home, after my father passed away from cancer three years ago. I bought his house so that it would stay in the family. And we could keep his legacy going. But also, and I was a copier sales rep for 13 plus years. A musician for five, touring in a band full-time. And the copier side and the music side are both things that my dad had in his background a well too.
So, basically I’m just living my dad’s life at this point. It’s a little freaky at times, but I love every minute of it.
Trey Gibson: Nice. And so, how’d you get started into sales?
Dale Dupree: So, it’s funny because I never, ever thought I was going grow up and become a copier salesman, right? I wasn’t like 12-years-old telling the teacher like, “Yeah, I’m going to be a copier salesman, it’s going to be so awesome.”
But my father founded the company in 1984 and then I was born in ’85. So, I like to tell people that toner runs in my blood. And because I was surrounded by this small business mentality and my father’s copier firm at a certain point in life it just becomes inevitable, right? But I rebelled ever wanting to come and work for my dad’s company. So, even though I would do it in the summers or even when I got home from tour sometimes. My dad would challenge me he’d say, what you’re just going to sit around for sixty days before you go on the road again? You’re not going to work? I mean what’s up with that. So, my dad was the accountability partner as well too. But he got me hooked on copier sales, man. I mean just absolutely hooked.
I fell in love with the idea of working for him as well too. But also just the way that he served his customers and the way that he brought me up in the sales game. I saw a different side of sales. And again, I fell in love with it.
Trey Gibson: So, for those of us that don’t, aren’t too familiar with copier sales. Kind of help describe the sales process. Like who are you selling to? What does the process look like? Is it a multi-touch, single touch, just give us a little idea about how that goes.
Dale Dupree: Yeah. The crazy part about copier sales for me at least, is that I had no idea how hard it was going to be. And then I didn’t even know how hard other people thought it was until I went to this sales conference. I was about a year and a half into my career and yes, I was definitely struggling, don’t get me wrong, right? But I sat in this conference where they basically had people stand up that were in these specific industries. And copier sales was number two on the list of the hardest with the most turnover. And I was like, oh my God. I’m like a year and a half into this. Is it over for me?
Yeah, so with copier sales on the B2B side of it realistically what we do all day is we prospect. Even when we’re in sales cycles, we’re closing deals, we’re going to appointments, we’re working the post-sale process, we’re always prospecting.
The copier game is 100 percent about bringing that new business in and so there’s a lot of factors to it, right? Typically, you’ll find copier reps are very used to going door to door in person. So, belly to belly sales. But when it evolved over time, because I’m a millennial, so when I was first starting in the copier industry it was like get on the phone, use social media, even though nobody knew how to do that in the first place. They’re just saying it’s the next big thing, right?
So, I adapted to all of the processes. And I do like the phone, but at the end of the day I think the thing that works the best in copier sales is being in front of somebody. And being able to articulate your reason and your difference, so that you can move them forward on the sales cycle. Because the biggest thing that we run into in copier sales is that you are not the only person calling on them. You are not one of five either, you’re like one of twenty.
Trey Gibson: Wow.
Dale Dupree: You’re just a number in the sales bullpen on that first touch.
Trey Gibson: Wow. So, how big is the average deal size, and then how long is the sale’s cycle typically?
Dale Dupree: We use the number $7,500 for the average sale. I’m a million dollar producer. And I’m not a million dollar producer as a major account rep. So, I sold so many $7,500 sales that I made it to a million dollars a few times in my career. So, it’s not easy from my perspective.
Because the cycle also, is anywhere between the moment you meet them, they could be right in the middle of a bid or five years down the road is the average lease. Somewhere around like the 42-month range is what they say copier transactions happen within.
Trey Gibson: So, we are talking about prospecting today. We’ve got the right guy, clearly. You’ve done a ton of that. So, it is a hot topic. No leads, no sales. So, today’s noisy marketing, prospecting has become challenging. So, how does an outside sales rep go about prospecting in a way that’s going to maximize efforts?
Dale Dupree: Yeah, it sucks to prospect in this day and age. Especially. And five years ago it was absolutely horrendous. And to be honest with you back in 2010 is when I stood my ground and I said, I’m not going to be like the rest of these people in the sales game.
Matter of fact I was learning sales from financial advisors and from my friends that were in the retail market space as well too, or selling used cars. I was going and diving in and learning, well how do sell, or what do you do, what are your processes? And I found that the thing that is most common is that all sales people do the same thing to get business. Which is that they are calling on a prospect, typically cold, and they say the same thing. They talk about their “benefit statement.” Which is that they want to sell you something.
To me I saw a lot of dishonesty inside of the sales world too. And sometimes not intentionally either. It was just the way that we were taught how to do it. Fib a little bit, not to the point that it’s an actual lie. But you know, it’ll create some credibility with you and the prospect.
I do not agree with that whatsoever. As a man of integrity from being raised by my father, he told me that the most important thing that we have to do is to communicate clearly and respectfully with our prospects and with people in general.
I just didn’t want to do any of that. So, instead I was changing the game by doing the exact opposite of what everybody else was doing. So, if you were on the phone making a $100 a day, I was saying in my head, how can I call ten people today, and get more activity and drive more results than everybody else doing those $100 dials.
Back in 2010 was when I started that. Eventually, I branded myself as the Copier Warrior. And created a whole persona and atmosphere and it became entertaining for my prospects. It became something that they were not used to. They had never seen before, and they were curious. So, I drove curiosity. I was audacious in the way that I was reaching out to people. And I became a local legend.
Trey Gibson: So, said something interesting there that there’s some people call a 100 and you wanted to call ten. And I’m assuming those ten were laser targeted. You knew who your prospect was. And I see that so much with people wasting time calling the wrong prospects. So, how did you determine who the right person was or the person, right company to call?
Dale Dupree: Sometimes it’s pretty simple, Trey. Like if you think about it. Because you’re boss gives you this list of 1,000 people inside of your territory and says, you get an appointment with them, every single one of them, right? And so, we sectioned that off, and we say, okay, I’m going to make a $100 a day. We put all of this math together because we are taught that sales is a numbers game. And I’m definitely not saying that it’s not a numbers game, it is to a degree. But that is being a slave to the number. That is not using the number to your benefit whatsoever.
So, what I did, was I said, well hold on a second. First off, even if I were to call a 100 people. How do I have an intelligent conversation with them in the first place. This is too many dials. This is too much information. There’s no way that I can pull all of this.
And so, simplistically, I used the internet. And I used social media. And today it’s so easy to use all of this stuff. You can jump on Instagram right now and find your buyer and scroll through ten picture posts to figure out exactly who they are, how they like to be communicated to and not just like they go swimming on the weekend with their family. Or they went to this college. Or all of this surface level stuff that sales people think that somehow are a weapon or a tool.
Really, what I’m looking at is the psychology. I’m looking at the relationship that I can build based on the things that I’m seeing. And how can I balance a couple of surface level statements into the room to make this guy or girl comfortable with speaking to me further.
Trey Gibson: So, how important was it for you to know your numbers, and did you know your numbers? So, if I go, I got to visit, prospect these many people. Set this many appointments. Get this many closes. Like did you know those numbers?
Dale Dupree: Yeah. I knew them and I still know them very well. So, my record year, my banner year was that I closed 77 net new accounts in one year as a copier sales rep. And if you looked at the transactions being an average of 7.5 thousand, I wrote a lot of business. There was a lot more than that at the end of the day. Because there were play-in accounts that had two/three machines on average. So, the way that I looked at, because year over year, I average 50 net new a year. And so, the average copier rep gets anywhere between 12 and 20 across the United States. And that’s just from all of the research that I’ve done, that’s not official research. Just asking every single copier VP of sales in the industry that I could get a hold of, hey, what are your top reps doing for net new. And it’s like consistent. You’ll have ten doing like all 12 net new accounts a year.
Which is essentially one a month, right? So, in my mind that wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to have a big community of clients. I just didn’t want to have this big blank canvas that I was just kind of throwing paint all over in these random places and saying, oh, I got these guys over there and I got this big account over here, but I don’t have any of their neighbors. I wanted all of it, right?
So, I sat back and said, if I wanted to make ten sales a month that were net new, if that was going to be my goal. And I am going to end up with 77 at the end of the year instead of 120. That’s a pretty dang good number, right?
So, for me what I was doing was just manipulating my methods. My own methods, not the prospect, but my own methods. So, I was looking at the sale cycles. I was looking at all of the things I had to say and do in order to advance myself through said sale cycle. To get to the finish line to sign the paperwork to cash my commission check. And I wiped all of that crap off the table. And I said, I’m just going to go and build relationships. I’m going to create curiosity in my buyers. I’m going to spark something that makes them want to meet with me because they will have a fear of missing out if they don’t.
So, I put together marketing pieces that were one touch pieces. Whether they were digital, through video, or email content, or they were literal manufactured marketing tools that I was using. One of my favorites is, that a lot of people know about because it’s on my podcast selling local, is that I put these bricks together that had the Copier Warrior logo on them and there was a little note that said, read before using. And there was a text on top that said, for the copier. And I would walk into the lobby and hand that to the receptionist and say, hey this for Larry. Like I always knew who I needed to get it to.
And so there’s confidence in that. And that’s the piece of the puzzle too for sales people that a lot of times we come in the front door and we seem arrogant in the bad way, right? But a good confident arrogance is a much different way to relay what it is you are trying to accomplish to the prospect or to the person at the front desk.
They are much more laid back when you walk in. And they’re like, ah this guy knows what he’s doing. He’s not a …., right? Is the idea. So, I’d leave that brick. That person would take it, they’d pop open these instruction manuals that I put together for them. That I could mass produce this. So, remember I could get this out to 200 people if I needed to.
So, they would look at this brick and they would see these instructions that would tell them how to throw this foam brick at their copier, and that it wouldn’t cost them any money. And they could take out their frustration or they could just call me. And if you can imagine that I would go and do about 50 of those a week. I would probably get about 25 to 30 people writing me before I called them. And that was my goal. Was to drive inbound in a way that people weren’t doing it. So, not using Google Ad Words, but using the Copier Warrior stamp of approval on the marketing pieces that I was passing out.
Trey Gibson: That’s awesome. So, you go in, just to walk through your prospecting process. You know when you’re entering a business who you’re going after, and that’s the purchasing manager or the CEO or whoever you’ve determined is the best person. And then, you start off by leaving the brick to kind of get their interest, and the receptionist will pass it along. And then, you’re hoping for an inbound call. Is that pretty much how you did it every time?
Dale Dupree: Yes. I did. A lot of the times my marketing pieces would instruct the buyer though or let the know, I should say, that I would call them. So, I would tell my prospects, hey don’t worry about getting in touch with me. Like I’ve got downtime between 3:00 and 5:00 every day, so I’ll give you a call at some point.
So, I would also put in their head that I’m coming for you.
Trey Gibson: I like that.
Dale Dupree: I’m coming guys. It’s okay, like you don’t have to worry, I’ll come and save the day. But it was very interesting to see how people would react to these pieces. Because again I would hit pain points. I would cause curiosity. I would be so audaciously different than any other copier sales person that they – and copiers are boring, Trey. They are extremely boring. A lot of the stuff we sell in general, as professionals, it’s boring. We try to make it seem like such a real cool thing. But it’s just not. Is it important to the process of the business that we’re serving? Absolutely. Do they care? Not really.
What they care about is selling their product to you, right? We have to keep these things in mind. We have to tell ourselves these truths to not lie to our self to whether or not our product is so good and awesome. But to tell ourselves that our prospect truly doesn’t care. And so, how do we put it at the top of their list more than anything? How do make them volunteer to call us and say this is awesome, I need to at least see you and meet you and tell you that you’re weird to your face.
Trey Gibson: Have you seen any other, with other customers you’ve worked with, whether in the copier industry or not, use another marketing tactic like that? Do you have any other examples come to mind, or is that’s the go to? That’s pretty creative.
Dale Dupree: I mean I have 150 touch pieces. That’s what I tell people. I actually have 150 manufactured touch pieces. A lot of them are DIY. You can just use a piece of paper that you print on your printer for a lot of it.
Now there’s a little design work and some content that goes into that, right? Imagine taking a crumbled up piece of paper. I don’t mean to make noise here. But imagine that this shows up for your prospect. And you say, could you get this to….imagine that. And so, I would put content inside of there again it would drive this and enraged curiosity. Where somebody would sit back and they’d go, this is the weirdest thing, but also this is awesome. I need to call this person.
So, you’ve got to remember too, so I’m a millennial and a lot of the people that I’m targeting because of my age at 25 years old selling copy machine, gosh almost ten years ago now, I’m 33. So, but they were not decision makers that were my age dude. And so, what I was doing, I was also pinpointing people in the sales department. And I was finding people that did have social – they had some kind of social standing, whether it was through Facebook or LinkedIn. And I would call on them, and I would ask to be a part of an alliance that we could build so that I could get to their boss at some point. So, I would invite them to lunch, to coffee and I would lead these marketing pieces for them as well.
So, that was another big piece of the puzzle for myself that helped me to break through this. Dude in a couple of years the majority of decision makers are going to be millennials, right? And so, this is the way they think. I’ve already cracked the code on that side. I can’t wait until we’re all making decisions.
Trey Gibson: That’s awesome. Okay, and so once you get their attention you’re going back and visiting them. And then are you asking the gate keeper to see Larry or whoever it is? Like walk me through how that works. I think people that are watching this, they want to know like tactics. Like what did you say or what did you do that they might be able to go an start using?
Dale Dupree: Yeah. So, I tell people, even when you’re dropping these pieces off or let’s just say that you go in empty handed in the first place, too. Because a lot of people would say, well you’re only good at this because you have these marketing tools.
And while I do believe that those marketing tools are a big piece of my success, it’s the most significant piece of my success. I still believe that I can do it without the marketing piece. And a good example of that would be, one time my brother and I, brother worked for me at one point actually, selling copiers. Then I threw on jeans, which was very unethical in the dress code world of my area, right? We threw on jeans, we threw on polos, unbuttoned, and untucked, might I add.
Trey Gibson: Real rebel there.
Dale Dupree: Yeah, we went to a billion dollar corporation, okay. Walked in the front door with a six pack of beer, asked for the owner, and just said we just want to talk to him. And the guy met with us. And we sold him copiers.
Trey Gibson: Wow.
Dale Dupree: So, again, I tell that story because there are pieces of the puzzle in the prospecting game that rely mostly on attitude and mindset. And so, going in and believe in yourself, and believing and telling your brain these things are going to work, and I’m going to be successful by doing these things. And again, it’s this mindset of service, at the end of the day.
If we really break it down. So, when I walk in and I hand this crumpled letter, I hand this brick to the person who is going to get it to my decision maker, it’s bigger than just a sale for me. And I relay that to the person that I’m speaking to. I tell them that I am very invested in this community, because I mean it.
I tell them that this just isn’t my territory, and they are not just a prospect on my list. I tell them that I want to be intentional in building this relationship and so I know that 100 other copier people are calling you all the same way. So, I’m going to change the game for you today. And so, here’s this marketing piece. And if the person’s available today, I would love the opportunity for you guys to take a look at it. I will sit right here in this chair, and then come back and discuss with me. But if today’s not good, I’ll be happy to come back another time.
So, you still have a lot of the workflow, I should say, that a regular sales person would. Again, it’s just this mindset, this mentality of overcoming the objection before it ever gets to you in the first place. And telling the prospect that you know exactly why they don’t want to meet with you. You get called by 100 of me a day, you don’t need my services.
Because you’ve already got a machine and you’ve got three years left on your lease, I know. I already know that. I just want to build a relationship with you. And then they go, you’re right. All of the things you just said are exactly true. And so, okay, Mr. Wizard, I will meet with you.
Trey Gibson: So, what are a few things that sales reps can start doing to step up their prospecting game today? You’ve already gone over some, but what are some others? That tactical stuff they could take away and start doing now that would help drive the numbers?
Dale Dupree: So, the first thing I would say is to any sales rep listening, outside of everything I just talked about, understand that interaction with your prospects is super important. And a lot of the old school methodology is lost. Completely.
So, like one of my favorite things to do is to write thank you notes. And not because someone met with me, either. I will write a thank you note to the front desk person and say, hey thanks for getting that marketing piece over to Dennis, right? I will make sure that I intentionally am involved in the culture and the lifestyle that people are looking at my company from the perspective of inside of the way that I serve them.
I want people to be indoctrinated by my processes, right? In a good way. So, because we’re giving them a better experience.
So, the first thing I would tell reps is just think about the experience and the entertainment value of what you can provide. To your prospect. Because right now on a daily basis they’re bored out of their mind from 8:00 to 5:00. And they do the same thing over and over again. So, go and interrupt those patterns. Send them a personalized video, saying, hey, I just wanted to reach out and see if I could learn more about your business.
Because we can’t sell a product in the first place, until we have learned and know the people we are trying to serve, right? And so, there’s nothing wrong with asking those types of questions. The prospect is very concerned about what you can do for them, yes. Absolutely. That’s why they allow sales people to come in the front door or they take appointments in the first place.
But they want to know what are your true intentions and how are you going to treat them in the long run. And when you can start doing that stuff from the every beginning, they will feel much more confident and it will build credibility. Because they will see you as something that is different. But not just different, but somebody that has mastered the skill of sales from the perspective of what it is you’re trying to accomplish with them.
Trey Gibson: Very nice. That’s great. You know one question that we get asked a lot here is whether it’s B2B sales or B2C, is how many doors should I be knocking a day? All activity, I got this question yesterday actually from a large company. And my answer is always the same as like, well you start with the end result. Kind of like you mentioned earlier. Like if I need to get X number of sales, I don’t start with I better go talk to 50 businesses today, that’s really not, sure you might end up there. But if I’ve got to get two sales or two appointments then I can manage the rep to getting those two appointments by working backwards to understand how many marketing pieces they need to give out a week, or how many doors they need to swing.
So, how do as a manager, because you rose through the ranks and were high-level manager at some huge companies, how did you help your team to make sure that they were hitting their prospecting goals?
Dale Dupree: Yeah. So, my fist chief code is that we would, every rep had the intention when they went out into the field on a daily basis was to find one deal a day. And it’s DAD, is the acronym. Deal A Day. And so, every day a rep would need to go out and find one deal. Okay, so that’s imperative to the success of a copier rep. Because at the end of the month, when you’ve got a solid 20 deals that you’ve found, you can start to work those into your long-term goals.
Because a lot of the deals you’re going to find, are going to be people that say, hey, we’re definitely interested in talking to you but we’ve got like two years left on our lease. We would count that as a deal because you’re building future business, right?
So, month over month, all of the sudden after two years with being with that company, you are not just hitting your goal, you are setting the bar for the goal of everybody else.
Another thing too is I would also look in the verticals. I would say, if you are calling on this vertical, we all know that it’s going to be more difficult than if you call on X or Y vertical over here. Why make life harder for yourself. You’re going to these places. But sometimes it was because it was like low hanging fruit as they say.
There’s no satisfaction in going and just getting a sale real quick. Again, because that low hanging fruit is kind of toxic at the same time too. The decision makers are not nice people. Like inherently, right? You have also have to come to terms with them. At the same time too. And figure how you are going to change and stuff.
So, I would have them focus on those things in a much lighter degree. I would say, hey, why don’t we pick one company from that vertical. And we’ll work on them.
And over here we’ll pick ten out of these verticals and make it easier for you.
The strategy really was more about, hey, where is your territory, do you know your territory, do you know who’s in it, do you know who is an inventor inside of it, do you know who is a billionaire inside of it? Do you know who just opened their business last week inside of it? How involved are you truly inside of your territory?
That works for reps that are not just boots on the ground but STDRs calling for estimates over the UK. It’s the same thing.
The internet again. The internet, it’s a very powerful thing. I don’t know if you guys have heard of it, but it’s a great tool to use. Being able to see and visualize your territory is something that you can also do using Google Maps or doing the world view and seeing. Hey look, you’ve got a customer right in the middle of the UK and you’ve got ten people corner to corner around them that you’ve never talked to that you could also sell your product to. Why aren’t you leveraging that? Why aren’t you calling your prospect and say, I’m going to call your ten neighbors, do you know anyone of them, can I drop your name, can I build a relationship through you, vicariously through the relationship that we have?
There’s just this bigger picture that sales reps forget. And so, my training to my reps, was number one, authenticity. You do not get to go out and be a copier rep, you get to go out and be who you are truly to every single person that you meet. And that’s what’s going to cause that big number to be a lot smaller when it comes to like your monthly quota and whatnot.
But then secondly, to be so much more intentional about who it is we’re targeting and what kind of information that I want to get back on a daily basis.
It’s very simple for you tell our rep, I want you to find one opportunity a day. They don’t have to buying right now, they could be buying in 12 months. But I want you to find one a day.
A lightbulb switch, especially for young reps, 21/22 years old, they’re like, oh, that’s all I got to find. Well, hell I’m going to bust my butt and go find that then.
Trey Gibson: I like that. That make sense. Okay, let’s wrap up here with our Keys to Crusher series. And this is four questions we ask everybody, and we call it Keys to Crusher because here it’s SPOTIO, if you’re 150 percent to quota, we call it you’re a crusher. So, I like to ask everyone we speak with the Keys to the Crusher questions.
So, number one, what’s your favorite business or sales book, and why?
Dale Dupree: Stu Heinicke, How to Get a Meeting With Anyone. That was a huge piece of the puzzle for me in developing my outreach methods and the way I wanted to live inside of the sales world.
Trey Gibson: I haven’t heard of that one. I will have to check it out, that’s good. Mindset, you’ve already talked about it some, but how important in sales and what do you do or recommend to get in the right mindset?
Dale Dupree: Yeah, mindset is important. And we have talked about it a lot. To me this starts at the beginning of your day, every day. It’s about telling yourself and visualizing your success before you go out into the world. That’s the way that you truly create a mindset. You should be able take 30 minutes every morning to spend on yourself. To create an atmosphere of success for yourself. To do things. For me, like in my habits, I’m a musician, right? So, I bust out some music every morning. I got LED lights going in the room that I hang out in and I’ve got a devotional that I read. Like I have these things that kick it into gear for me. And they allow me to get into a rhythm. Not a routine, but a rhythm. A rhythm is so important for sales reps to get into, because that will flow and carry into the mindset that they are pushing out to their prospects in every conversation that they have.
Trey Gibson: Best advice you received in sales.
Dale Dupree: The best advice would have to be from my father. My father told me to always be myself. To always serve others without expectation of any kind of reward and give every single ounce of talent back to my community that I was trying to grow.
Trey Gibson: Awesome. And then, one thing every sales rep should start doing today.
Dale Dupree: Every single sales rep out there should start caring about their prospects on a deeper and more impactful level. And they should stop worrying about themselves or the number that they have to hit on a monthly basis.
Trey Gibson: I was listening to Zig Ziggler tapes a couple of weeks, if you help enough people get what they want then you’ll get what you want. That’s all in the same vein. That’s awesome, Dale. Thank you so much for spending some time with us.
If people wanted to learn more about you, connect with you, where can they do that at?
Dale Dupree: So, they can find me on all social media @salesrebellion. And then they can find me on LinkedIn as Dale Dupree. You can check out my podcasts and all of the major podcasts players it’s called Selling Local. You could call my cell, and you can find my cell on my website salesrebellion.com.
Trey Gibson: That might be a mistake, but okay. Awesome. Dale, thank you so much for your time, we’ll talk to you later.
Dale Dupree: Thanks Trey, appreciate you man.