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.

Why did so many of these companies fail to sell effectively?

The trouble was that they all focused on the same things. Here’s a list of what I could expect to hear from a typical printing company:

They had great service. As a buyer, I expect great service as standard. You are not going to raise my interest by telling me that you look after your customers well. If you want to see some worrying statistics about why companies shouldn’t sell on service, see here.

How do your prospects feel when you sell to them?

They offered excellent quality. Again, as a buyer, I expect a printer to be able to put ink on paper well. That’s why you are offering me print. Being able to do this doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd. Remember also that the majority of buyers are quite happy with the level of quality they already source. They don’t need the higher quality that so many printing companies are trying to sell them.

They talked about company history. Most buyers do not care that you have been going for many years, or about the interesting family history of the owners. They just want to get straight to the point and find out what you can do for them now.

They had unusual machinery. Few buyers understand plant lists. They are interested in what you offer, not how you produce it.

They used the word innovative a lot. Some companies are proud that they do things differently. That’s great. But sell buyers a different service or product. Don’t sell innovation for the sake of it.

Why did all these company features encourage me to choose on price?

If I hear of lots of companies that all offer great service and quality, good history, unusual machinery and innovation then they all begin to sound very similar. If any buyer is faced with a load of similar options then they will typically choose based on one factor. That factor is price.

In order to move the conversation away from price it’s important to use a different type of sales message.

Introducing the TPD Principle

A sales message based on the TPD Principle is focused on the customer rather than you. It sells on results rather than features and benefits. It puts the conversation on a different footing from the typical print sales conversation.

TPD stands for three things: target audience, pain and difference. In other words your sales message is focussed on a very specific type of person. It talks about the pain and challenges that they face and how you solve them. Finally, it explains why a buyer should choose your company rather than another one.

If your sales message contains these three elements then you will stand apart from the competition. You have a much better chance of converting prospects into customers.

Here are two quick action points for you

Firstly, check your sales message against the issues that I outlined earlier in this article. Are there points that you are selling on that may encourage buyers to choose on price?

Secondly, keep an eye out for my next email on Thursday. I outline the first steps to take in order to create an effective TPD sales message.

It’s important to begin developing a message in this way. After all, you don’t want to end up as one of the 98%!
PS Are you looking for other simple but effective strategies to help you connect with today’s buyers? Download this essential resource. You’ll also be signed up to the “Views From The Buyer Community” at no cost, where you receive useful resources, tips, rants and stories three time a week

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