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

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

How to create better print profit margins

Part 3 of 6 lessons about selling print learned from a visit to the pub

Have you heard of a beer bat?

A beer bat is a small wooden plank with three holes in it. Each of the holes holds a small glass of beer – usually one third of a pint. The idea is that, instead of having a large glass of a single beer, you get to taste three different beers.

I like to try lots of different types of beer. So when I went to the bar I was delighted to see that this pub offered beer bats. I ordered one and was surprised but pleased to find that it cost exactly the same as a pint of beer.

I think the beer bat was under-priced

Continue reading

How to stop a prospect from buying

Part 2 of “6 lessons about selling print learned from a visit to the pub”

Here’s how to put my friend off his beer with one word

If you mention citrus he will automatically refuse to taste it! He is also keen to avoid any beer that mentions mango, passion fruit or grapefruit. I suspect that it actually has nothing to do with the taste of the beer. He simply dislikes that sort of description.

When we went to the pub on our recent visit we discovered a dark beer that was supposed to taste of roasted malt, coffee and grapefruit! That immediately stopped my friend from ordering it, even though he loves dark beers.

Sometimes, we put people off buying even though we think we are encouraging them

Continue reading

Don’t give your customers too much choice

Part 1 of “6 lessons about selling print learned from a visit to the pub”

What’s the first thing you do when you enter a pub?

Most people head straight for the bar and choose a drink? And at the pub I visited, there was plenty of choice! I counted at least twelve beers on tap, plus bottled beers.

Naturally, that left me with plenty of decisions to make. Continue reading

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

Do your customers drive you to drink?!

I’m very lucky: I love all my customers and they rarely give me problems. Having said that, I am partial to a beer or two. So I can occasionally be seen visiting a good old British pub.

A few weeks ago, I visited a local pub with a friend of mine to have a catch up and enjoy a few drinks. We were intrigued by a sign that we saw near our table. We then had a discussion about whether this notice was necessary or not. Our conversation about the sign led me to draw some parallels with the print industry. You can find out more about these in the fifth part of this series.

Before long, I was finding parallels all over the place between the pub business and the printing industry. Continue reading

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