The following is an excerpt from Matthew Parker’s Seven Myths of Print Sales series:
- The more urgent the job, the later the files.
- A printer is only as good as the last job they delivered.
- The customer will have conveniently forgotten what you said to them, unless you have it in writing.
These are just some of the things that I have heard printers say about customers. I think we all agree that they have more than a grain of truth in them!
Here’s another thing that I hear printers say about customers:
- The customer makes the sales conversation all about price.
But this is one that I don’t think is so true. In fact, many times I think the opposite applies.
Often, it’s the printer who makes the conversation all about price
Throughout my years as a buyer, I have been regularly disappointed that print salespeople assume that I only want to talk about price. And I have been regularly surprised at how quickly print salespeople want to start talking about price.
Print sales people who avoid assuming that the conversation should be all about price are more likely to engage me. They are more likely to create a meaningful relationship with me. I also find that these salespeople control the sales conversation more often. They often walk out of a meeting having achieved what they set out to do.
Print sales people who assume that they need to sell on price often don’t even get the meeting. They certainly find it a lot harder to achieve what they need to. Buyers treat them as commodity sales people. There is no relationship. It’s the buyer who controls the conversation.
Many print salespeople have trouble in believing me when I suggest that is often the printer who leads on price. But here are three ways in which they frequently do this.
Print salespeople often tell me they have great prices
They often tell me this very early on in the conversation. This claim is made even though I haven’t even mentioned price. However, it is often assumed that the print sales person has to tell the buyer about great prices just to get a conversation with them.
It is true that some buyers to immediately bring the conversation round price. But many times it is possible to have a conversation without mentioning price straightaway. Of course, to make this conversation successful, the print sales person has to avoid the second sign of selling on price.
Print salespeople often fail to sell me their company
Frequently, when a print salesperson talks about great prices, they fail to talk to me about their company. It’s as if they don’t believe that they have anything worth selling. It’s as if they believe that all print companies of the same and that the buyer will only choose on price.
Of course, if the buyer really does feel that all print companies of the same, they really will choose on price. I will talk more about this in my next article.
I can’t believe that print salespeople haven’t got something good and unusual about their company to talk about. But, all too frequently, they are busy making the third sign of selling on price.
Print salespeople often ask for quotes too soon
The goal of most print sales calls and meetings is to get the buyer to ask for a price. However, for this to be a worthwhile enquiry, the buyer needs to be interested in your company. Otherwise, they will just be getting a price to check if they are paying too much. If this is the case, a competitive price will usually be used just to beat their current supplier down.
Many times, print sales people ask me for prices far too early on in the conversation. I haven’t yet got to the point where I am interested in their company. Without this genuine interest, the exercise of quoting is rarely worthwhile.
Let’s see how this works in real life.
To continue reading this post from Matthew Parker, click here.
Matthew Parker has been buying print for over 20 years. He’s had over 1,400 sales pitches from printers. Now he’s using that experience to help printing companies engage with their customers and sell print more profitably. Find out more about Matthew on his site.