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Five Signs That Your Customer Won't be Going Paperless (and How to Change Their Mind)

September 27, 2017

Following are five signs that a prospective customer won’t be going paperless, as well as some suggestions for changing their mind:

  • They regularly sit in the Iron Mountain box at local sporting events. Iron Mountain is a $3 billion-per-year business with more than 170,000 customers worldwide, and their primary service is storing paper documents. Obviously, there is a lot of non-paperlessness associated with this. The dirty little secret attached to storing paper records off site is not the storage costs; it’s the retrieval charges every time you want access to your own documents. If your customers rarely need to see documents after they are shipped off to Iron Mountain or one of their competitors, you may not be able to convert them to imaging. But if you can present them with a cloud-based imaging service for the same amount or less than they are spending on retrieving paper documents from off-site locations, you may have something.
  • They refer to their MFPs as “copiers.” “MFP” stands for “multi-functional peripherals,” and the multi-functions typically include printing, copying, and scanning. All MFPs are digital, and more than 90 percent installed today are attached to a network. They can be used for more than copying! As a result, chances are, your prospective customer already has a document scanner installed that they can leverage for at least some basic document capture. If you show them how, they might even find out that scanning can actually make things easier and more efficient. This might pique their interest in a more comprehensive solution.
  • They have a sign with the Einstein quote “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” According to Forbes, the typical executive wastes 150 hours a year searching for lost information. According to OrganizedWorld.com, the average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day looking for things. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, finding a lost document will cost a company $122 on average. According to ThePaperlessProject.com, it is estimated that 7.5 percent of all company documents are lost completely. You get the picture. While it might be okay to have a messy desk to spark creativity, having electronic “back-ups” to help you efficiently find documents when you need them can be a huge cost-saver.
  • Your potential customer “likes the feel of paper.” This argument might have held some credence in the days before tablets and larger smartphones (phablets). But today’s mobile document-viewing technology makes working with electronic documents just as flexible as working with paper, and you don’t have to worry about losing or damaging the paper. Plus, you gain capabilities in areas like collaboration that are hard to duplicate with paper.
  • They say, “We’ve always done it with paper.” And Eastman Kodak always succeeded by focusing on film—until it didn’t. Markets change, and what may have worked well 20 years ago will not always cut it today. In today’s world, technology can enable start-ups to take down established players before they even know what hit them. Look at what Uber has done to taxis, for example. Let your customers know that the quickest way to become obsolete is to not innovate. Imaging is designed to help them compete in an increasingly electronic world without having to completely abandon the paper processes that they are comfortable with. It will just help these processes run more smoothly and efficiently, which is a good thing.

No, you are not going to convince every Luddite out there that a document imaging implementation can help their business. But if you can at least open some eyes to considering it, you may find that your sales pitch, along with input that your customers are receiving from their peers, as well as the pressures we all face to improve our businesses, may all come together and lead to sales to customers you once considered to be married to their paper.