Did you have an induction process when you last started a new job?
Many sales people in the print industry are thrown in at the deep end. They are expected to get on with their jobs with little or no help. If you are new to the print industry, this can be a scary way to start a job. But it also carries a lot of advantages.
Some companies will put you on a formal training program. You will be expected to learn an awful lot about print. You’ll also be shown the ropes by the most experienced members of the sales team. This isn’t necessarily the best way to learn. I have talked about the dangers of too much print knowledge before, but learning from the old timers does not guarantee that you will learn the best way to do things.
Being left to your own devices can be scary. But it can also be very beneficial for both you and your company. However, it is useful to understand some basics. So here is a quick advice list to help you on your way.
- Agree targets and report regularly
It is important to know what is expected of you and whether you are delivering or not. Unfortunately this is rarely formalized at companies. It may well be up to you to create you own targets and agree them with your manager. Remember that sales targets should be about activity (for example, the number of meetings with new prospects arranged) as much as revenue.
- Challenge your company
Don’t be afraid to question how or why things are done. You well see options for improvement or new opportunities. Your company has just hired someone with different experience and a fresh set of eyes. They should make use of this resource.
- Visit existing customers to find out what works – and what might work
Often your customers are the best guide to what works and what doesn’t work at your company. After all, your company exists because customers place business with you. Good customers will be honest with you and tell you how things are. They are also often happy to tell you what else they would like from your company. These are opportunities that your colleagues may have missed or dismissed.
- Get your message perfect
Your prospects and customers will decide their first impressions of you in less than 30 seconds. It is important to be able to introduce yourself quickly and compellingly. I always recommend creating a message that is based on the TPD Principle. Find out more about this here.
- Mix up your communication
If you are set sales activity targets at your company, these will almost certainly revolve around phone calls and meetings. If you wish to engage with your customers you have to be more creative than this. Use social media, texting, video and direct mail. You will stand out from the competition.
- Accept that sales is not an instant success story
Many sales people move to companies and expect to make an instant difference. Their companies also often expect big results in a short time. Sadly, sales is rarely like this. There is a lot of groundwork to put in before you win major results. Do not be discouraged if it takes a while for the big orders to come in.
- Create new products and services
Remember, you are a fresh set of eyes at your company. You will almost certainly spot opportunities that others haven’t. Be eager to create new offerings for both prospect and existing customers. Get your colleagues to help you. It is a chance for your company to expand.
Finally, both sides should remember that a new rep is there to help a company. It is worth the company adapting to the rep as much as the rep adapting to the company. After all everyone is there to help each other.
These tips are not an induction process. However, they are a good way to make sure that you and your company make the most of your first weeks there. Together, you can create print sales success!
We have one extra tip for you
Make sure that you read the Xerox production blog regularly! You will discover a whole range of useful resources, including practical tips, case studies and inspiration. It is all focused around the world of print and covers sales, marketing and all aspects of manufacturing.
PS If you’d like more practical ideas on how to engage with today’s buyers, download my free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them” right now at http://profitableprintrelationships.com/e-book/ You’ll also receive my regular “Views from the print buyer” bulletin, full of ideas on how to sell print effectively.