LinkedIn has changed again – does this mean you need a new social media strategy?

Once again, LinkedIn looks totally different

The platform has been updated. Even those of us who use LinkedIn on a regular basis are wondering where to find essential features. LinkedIn has made a whole range of changes, some for the better and some for the worse. Some features have been removed and some changed. Some paying LinkedIn users are going to be very disappointed.

Naturally, many people are questioning how LinkedIn now fits into their social media strategy. However, it is important to remember that LinkedIn is certainly still an important part of any social media strategy.

Here’s why LinkedIn still matters

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Here’s a novel idea: sell printing by using print!

The average printing company doesn’t use print

Their factories may be filled with ink on paper, but none of it relates to them. When it comes to selling their products and services they rely on everything apart from print. They use e-mail, social media and cold calling.

So why is there such a dislike of using print? Why are we abandoning the communication channel which we champion to other people?

What makes this decision even stranger is the fact that print is one of the best performing channels. STATS

Here’s why print works

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Are you conditioning your customers to buy on price?

The best way to get people to buy is to offer them a discount

Retail stores do it all the time. Black Friday, New Year Sales, Summer Sales: we all know that these are a series of events designed to drive customers to their stores. They boost sales.

The print industry is no different. Many companies offer regular discount offers. They will e-mail these out, share them on social media and even send out direct mail about them.

Sometimes it seems that it is hard to buy something at full price. On the high street one sale seems to merge seamlessly into the next one. It’s the same with print. Type the hashtag #printing into Twitter search and you’ll soon find a discount coupon. Continue reading

Here’s a 10-minute sales challenge that gets results

How many sales channels did you use last week?

Most people will come up with three as their answer. They will have used:

  • Phone
  • E-mail
  • Face-to-face meetings

Unfortunately, answering three (or less) is a fail! That’s simply not enough variety to engage with today’s buyers.

It’s time to mix up your communication!

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One of the biggest threats to the printing industry is straight-line negotiation – here’s what to do about it

Ever feel you’ve been on the end of a bad deal?

It’s happened to us all. We’ve negotiated hard but we haven’t got what we’ve wanted. We’ve coming away feeling that we’re worse off than the buyer. We feel that they’ve screwed every last penny out of us.

It’s not a good feeling. You are often left wondering if you could have done something to even things up a little. However, you were probably in a straight-line negotiation. If that was the case then there’s probably not a lot you could have done. Continue reading

How to use WIIFM to stop being beaten down on price

Buyers are always pushing sales people on price

You can’t blame them. After all, that is their job as a buyer. They are tasked with getting the best possible results for their companies. That includes making sure their suppliers give them a good price.

As a buyer, I always noticed two types of print sales people when I pushed on price. Many sales people simply lowered their price. They were worried they would lose the business to the competition. So they reduced their quotes as soon as I asked. They made my life very easy. If I kept asking for lower prices, they kept giving them to me.

However, some sales people made my life more difficult. They were the ones that used WIIFM. Continue reading

Why pubs and printing companies have more in common than we might think

Who would have thought it would be possible to learn so much about the printing industry from a visit to the pub?!

What I thought would be a simple night out for a beer or two and good conversation with a friend turned out to be highly educational. Looking round this one establishment gave me a lot of food for thought about how we sell print.

To be honest, drawing the parallels started of as a bit of a joke between my friend and I. But I quickly realised that actually there was a lot of value in finding parallels and learning lessons.

The parallels aren’t just in the way we do things

I can also see parallels between different types of pub and different types of printing companies. Some pubs are doing very well indeed. Some are struggling. And it’s exactly the same in the printing industry. Continue reading

What the printing industry can learn from craft brewing

Part 6 of 6 lessons about selling print learned from a visit to the pub

Do you have a volume based business or a high margin business?

The pub that my friend and I went to was definitely based on volume. It is a big building in the centre of the city that is expensive to run. They need a lot of customers to keep the venue busy and profitable.

In order to attract enough business they also need to keep their prices keen. Selling extra premium expensive beer is not going to win them enough business. They sell good quality beer at an affordable price.

Running a volume business is not always easy

There are a lot of printing companies that are based on the same business model. They need a lot of print to keep their presses busy. The only way that they are going to keep those presses busy is by charging affordable prices. Just like the pub that we visited, they need to make sure that they keep the competition at bay. Continue reading

Why it’s important to state the obvious when you sell

Part 5 of 6 lessons about selling print learned from a visit to the pub

“Warning: Metal post exposed. Please be careful”

There was a nearby broken table in the pub when my friend and I sat down with our drinks. This was the sign that was fixed to fixed to the top of the metal post where there should have been a table top exposed.

Our first reaction was: “Is this really necessary?” It seemed to be stating the blindingly obvious. It was clear that there was a metal post at this point. It wasn’t hidden or in bad light. It was standing out in the middle of the room.

These days there is a legal requirement to warn people about hazards. I’m sure that if anyone had been unfortunate enough to have an accident, the notice would be necessary to prevent a compensation claim. But, legal issues or not, there is still a good reason for putting up this sign.

People need to be told the obvious

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Will you lose customers because you don’t use enticement?

Part 4 of 6 lessons about selling print learned from a visit to the pub

Pubs have to work hard to keep enough business

Loyal customers make up an important part of every pub’s turnover. If a pub does not have a large group of faithful customers who keep on visiting regularly then it is doomed to failure.

The pub that I visited recently does a lot of activity to make sure that their regulars keep coming back. This pub is located in the middle of a city, so pub goers are more fickle than if the pub was in in a smaller town. They are more likely to visit more than one pub in an evening. Alternatively, they may choose to go to another venue on another night. So the pub has to work especially hard to attract regular custom.

The thing that was immediately noticeable on my visit was the table football. This takes up space that could be occupied by another table and chairs. But it is also a well-used attraction. It certainly brings customers back to the pub, as I don’t know anywhere else in the locality where you can enjoy beer and table football.

The table football is not the only attraction for regular customers. The pub also runs quizzes and music nights every week. They make sure that their customers have plenty of reasons to keep visiting the pub on a regular basis.

What do you do to make sure your customers keep coming back?

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