Are you in danger of losing key clients? Why sticky solutions are vital if you want to stop selling commodity print

Posted by Matthew Parker

Can you imagine losing 20% of your work in one phone call?

That’s what happened to a printer I know recently. Their biggest client has tended out their work. At the end of the process they have decided to change suppliers. It was a purely price related decision.

There wasn’t anything the current printer could do about it

All the client had to do was to send their PDFs somewhere else. The current printer had served the client well. But they had no way to make it difficult for the client to move to the new supplier.

If they had had a sticky solution, it would have been a different story

Falling print sales

If you don’t have sticky customers this is what could happen to your profits

In my last article I explained what a sticky client and a sticky solution is.

Printers who use sticky solutions are more likely to have clients that stay loyal longer. It’s more difficult for the clients to move. In any case, the work is more likely to have been set up as a partnership. Printing companies with clients like these control a more stable sales pipeline. They find it easier to achieve their targets.

Printers that do not use sticky solutions will struggle to achieve the sales that they need. They will find that their clients are moving away purely for the price. They are more likely to have clients who treated them as commodity suppliers. Therefore, there is no control over the sales pipeline.

Here are three more ideas to create sticky customers:

Design

Design is a very emotional purchase. I would not dream of changing my designer. I know I could buy a cheaper solution. However, I trust my designer to come up with ideas and designs in the way that I see them.

Even more importantly, my designer knows how I work. I have to admit that I am a nightmare when it comes to working with designers! My designer knows to ask all the questions about things I should have briefed him on.

Changing my designer could be a very expensive move. Here’s another that could be expensive if you change suppliers.

Multichannel

Multichannel solutions can be and emotional purchased just like design. Unless the clients a skilled marketeer, they will not have had much experience in this type of campaign. Therefore, they will need a supply partner that they can trust. They need a partner to design and execute a campaign that suits the client’s needs.

If this partner is producing great results, why would a client consider changing? They would need to have received a great pitch of a competitor. It would certainly have to come down to more than saving a few pounds.

The next solution is not so emotional. But it is still very effective.

Digital asset management

Digital asset management allows a supplier to control all a client’s visuals and content. The stickiness is similar to that of web to print. Once the client has all their assets in one place, it is a pain to move them.

With digital asset management more content is held them with web to print. Therefore, it is a bigger job to change suppliers and a bigger pain.

While I hope these solutions make sense to everybody, there may be a problem for some printers.

What happens if we don’t sell these services?

It is perfectly possible for a printer to find a partner to help them supply all of these solutions. In some cases, it may actually be preferable. Starting to sell complicated solutions requires a change in skill set for both sales people and production teams. Working with a partner makes it much easier to manage this culture change.

However, you need to make sure that you are selling solutions that your customers want or need. That’s where the action points come in.

Here are three action points to help you get sticky customers

  1. Talk to your customers. Carry out some research into what will help them.
  2. Once you have defined the services you need to sell, you are in a position to start looking for the right supply partners.
  3. With the right partner in place, your new sales campaign can begin.

With sticky solutions you can worry less about losing clients

It might have been a very different story for the printer who lost 20% of their work. I’m not saying that they would not have lost their client in the end. But the client would have found their decision to change supplier to be much more difficult. The printer would have certainly received much more notice of losing the work.

Sticky solutions put you in a much better place.
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P.S. Are you making any of these print sales errors?  Download a free copy of “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them”.

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