The Fifth Myth of Print Sales: Customers Only Choose on Price

The following is an excerpt from Matthew Parker’s Seven Myths of Print Sales Series:
When the print salesperson is white and sweating, then you have done your job. It’s a familiar situation to everyone. The buyer has been ruthlessly in action. They have mentioned

  • Budget limitations
  • Competitor prices
  • The promise of further work
  • The risk of them changing supplier

Slowly but surely, the print sales person has been forced to give way. If they want the work they will have to compete on price. After all, all buyers choose on price. That’s the only factor that buyers consider.
But is that really true? Let’s look at a different point of view.
Sometimes, the print salesperson forces the customer to choose on price.
In my last article I focused on how some print sales people led on price. Not all salespeople are making the conversation all about price. But many are still encouraging the buyer to choose on price.
Some print salespeople understand that a sales messages can make a customer choose on price. They have addressed this.  These sale people are well-placed to create effective partnerships with their prospects and customers. They are more in control of their sales pipeline. They have a good chance of achieving what they set out to do.
Print sales people who have the wrong type of sales message find it much harder to achieve what they need. They are busy slashing their prices. They are involved purely in commodity selling. It’s hard to control a sales pipeline when it’s based on the lottery of lowest price.
However, as a buyer, lowest price is often what interests me most.
It’s important to understand that this is not the way I would like it to be. Of course price is important to me. But I would like to make my buying decisions based on more than this.
The trouble is, sometimes I find this very difficult to do. It’s down to the print sales pitches that I receive. Sometimes I have no option but to choose on price. Here’s why.
Many print sales pitches are exactly the same.
Over my years as a print buyer, I have received more than 1400 print sales pitches. 98% of them have contained exactly the same main elements.
Here are the four main elements that are defined in most print sales pitches:

  • Good quality
  • Great service
  • Competitive prices
  • Environmentally friendly

I expect all these things from a print company anyway. But I am battered day in, day out by the same message from nearly every printer. Most print companies are portrayed to me as being exactly the same.
So how does the customer react to this?
If everything else appears to be the same, the customer has only one choice. They have to choose the one factor that differentiates the print companies from each other.
The customer has no option but to choose on price.
The customer is forced to do this because there are no other differentiators. Service and quality and environmental credentials are rarely enough to make a print company stand out from the competition. The customer will want to be reassured on these issues. However, is not the first thing that should be brought up in a sales pitch.
A customer needs to understand why your company is truly different. They need to understand the value that you can bring to their business. If you can do that, you move the conversation away from being purely on price.
Here’s why I paid more for a print job:
To continue reading this post from Matthew Parker, click here.

PPR_logo_RGBMatthew 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.

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