How to create a message that sells more print

98% of sales messages from printing companies sound pretty much the same

That’s what I discovered during my time as a buyer. During my buying career I had over 1,400 printing companies sell to me. But few had an effective sales message.

That’s why printing companies need a different way to sell.

So here’s the TPD Principle

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How traditional selling encourages customers to buy on price

Can you imagine how it feels to be sold to by 1,400 different printing companies?

That is what happened to me as a buyer. In fact, that’s a pretty conservative estimate of the number of printing companies that I spoke to during my print buying career.

In theory, I should be able to tell you about all the creative sales approaches that I received. Unfortunately, the reality was rather less positive. 98% of the sales approaches that I received followed a broadly similar pattern.

Here’s what usually happened. The sales person would tell me a bit about their company. Then they would try and sell me some printing. But, by then, it was usually too late. I would only be interested in price. Continue reading

How failing to plan for decline leads to missed print sales targets

There are some great success stories in print at the moment

I constantly use social media to share great stories about why people should use print. Companies are waking up to the fact that print is still a highly effective communication channel. Companies such as Google, LinkedIn, Amazon and Apple are all using print as part of their marketing strategies. (If you are not already receiving this information from me, please connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter or hook up with me on Facebook.)

Many people say that print is having a renaissance. It is certainly true that a large number of companies are switching some of their marketing budget from digital to print. In addition, our industry is constantly coming up with new products that become common in our everyday lives. We only have to look at the photo products market to see a real growth in one print sector.

Nevertheless, we also need to face up to a truth that we may not like. Continue reading

Why growth may be the wrong path for printing companies

Why do we concentrate on growth?

Many sales targets consistently focus on increasing turnover. Naturally, if you have a lot of press capacity to fill then this is important. However, for some companies it may be a better strategy to focus on bringing in more profitable clients or even customers that are nicer to deal with!

I want to challenge the idea that sales always has to be about growth. For many, the path of standing still may not be right. For others, it is certainly something worth considering. Continue reading

Warning: most printing companies are on track to lose 15-20% of their customers in the next 12 months

Do you plan for decline?

No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to keep all your current customers. Some will stop using print, some will choose another supplier and some will simply go out of business. If you stay being reactive to your customers needs, your business will almost certainly start declining. This will happen sooner rather than later.

That’s why it’s essential that you create a plan to create new business

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Why good customer service makes new customers buy on price

Far too many sales people are fixated on customer service

“We offer excellent customer service!”

“I’m what makes the difference: I look after my customers personally”

“I’m here for my customers 24/7”

“Our customer service team is second to none”

We’ve all heard claims like these before. Possibly you are making them. You’ve probably heard your colleagues coming out with something very similar. Your competition is certainly saying that they do all this and more.

Many customer service claims are untrue

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Four reasons why annual sales targets are a waste of time

How much turnover does your company need?

You don’t need me to tell you that bringing in the right amount of business is vital for the survival of any company. This is what is normally set as the company sales target. It’s the one big figure that has to be achieved over the next twelve months.

Some companies set elaborate annual sales plans. Others just hope that the business will come in. Either way, companies that rely on an annual sales target or plan often fail to reach it.

Here’s why annual sales targets fail so often: Continue reading

How to plan and schedule the right sales activity for your printing company

How will you achieve the sales turnover that you require over the next 12 months?

This is a question that I have asked many printing companies over the years. Naturally, I have received a variety of answers. Some companies have very detailed plans. They showed me spreadsheets, targets and activity outlines. Others rely on their sales people to achieve the targets that they have been set. But it’s up to the sales people to decide how to achieve them.

However, there are an awful lot of companies that appear to rely on hope when it comes to achieving the right level of sales. They carry out no sales planning. They rely on their current customers to carry on working and growing with them. And that is a dangerous strategy.

Many companies have no plan to win the sales that they need

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How the envelope planning system gives focus to your day

Print sales people need to plan their priorities

When you are starting your day it’s important to know what you should be concentrating on. What goals do you need to achieve over the next few hours?

Some people rely on complicated spreadsheets or just hope for the best! Fortunately, for print sales people there is a system to help that is much less complicated than a spreadsheet. It also gets much better results than just hoping!

Introducing the envelope planning system

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How to create prospects that are ready to become customers

Have you been taught the ABC of sales?

There was a sales mantra a few years ago of “always be closing”. When I hear this I always think of the hungry sales person, going in for the kill. Their prime focus is to win the next order.

However, today’s customers do not wish to be sold to in this way. They prefer a softer sales journey. They wanted to be educated and helped. They don’t want to be sold to.

Educating your prospects and customers can be satisfying and enjoyable. Nevertheless, it’s important that your prospects be guided so that they end up working with you. The education is pointless if you don’t win business from it.

That’s why you need CTA rather than ABC

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