Printers: three resolutions that will increase your sales in 2012

Posted by Matthew Parker

Are you planning to lose weight this year?
Get fitter?
Be more healthy?

Most of us have set some New Year resolutions recently.

It’s time to set New Year resolutions for your print company too!

And in 2012 Profitable Print Relationships will help you out.  We’ve set three resolutions for you to put into practice.

Three printing resolutions for 2012

Printers: use these three resolutions to get 2012 off to a great start

Printers who use these resolutions will find that they can create powerful new customer partnerships.  They will strengthen their existing partnerships.  And as a result they will find it easier to achieve their sales targets.

Printers who don’t use resolutions like these will find it harder to achieve the sales they need.   They won’t be creating good relationships so easily.  And the ones that they have will be under threat.

So what are the three resolutions that remove this threat from customer relationships?  Well the first one may not appear to have anything to do with customers or sales at all:

Resolution 1:  Go to a print event

I don’t think enough people go to print events.  However, they can be highly useful.

Printers tend to regard these events as occasions when they review their plant.  But, actually, you should use these opportunities in many different ways.  Here are some of the benefits you should gain from a print event:

  • new industry contacts
  • inspiration (make a note to go and see some of the speakers)
  • ideas and software for making processes more efficient

You also have a good chance of meeting potential new customers at many events.  Of course you shouldn’t regard attending a print event primarily as a sales activity.  But I have often been surprised at how many good print buying customers I have gained from events.

The opportunity for new customers sounds great.  But if you want to be attractive to customers you will need to stand out from the competition.  And that’s where the second resolution will help:

Resolution 2:  Create a new product or service

Printers who want to stand out from the crowd need to offer something different.  So 2012 is the time when you should concentrate on exactly what you give your clients.  Creating a new client offering doesn’t mean investing in lots of new equipment.  It means changing your mind set.  Here are some of the offerings you could create:

  • a new offering from customer service (such as an automatic confirmation of product despatch)
  • a new way which lets the client work more efficiently (such as automatic file upload)
  • a way for customers to make their print more effective (for instance, QR codes)
  • a completely new product that is not focussed on print (perhaps the ability to create kindle versions of brochures)

Whatever you develop, it is important that it will benefit the customer.  And it is important that both you and the customer understand how it will do this.  Of course, to ensure that your customer understands the benefits, you’re going to need the third resolution:

Resolution 3:  Challenge your customer

It is easy to assume that customers are happy with the way that they are doing things.  However, often they would be delighted to be shown a better way of doing something.  And that’s something that not enough printers do.

So make 2012 the year when you sit down with your customer and see how you can help them further.  You may be surprised at how grateful your customer is that you do this.  And you may be surprised at the extra business that comes your way.

However, some of you may be feeling that these three resolutions don’t focus enough on extra business.

These resolutions don’t focus on sales activity

And there’s a very good reason for this.  For your sales to work well you need the right inspiration.  And the right product.  And the desire to build great relationships with existing customers.

When these things are in place, then you can work on your sales activity.  Just remember that these resolutions are long-term resolutions.

Don’t assume you’ll have an instant rise in sales

Seeing a change in sales from the implementation of these strategies will take time.  I’m not going to make you get rich quick promises.  But I am sure that, if you implement these resolutions correctly, you will see sales rise.  And that this rise will be a long lasting rise because you will have focussed on the fundamental ways in which you deal with your customers.

So here are three steps to focussing on this through these three resolutions

  1. Diarise a print event to attend.  If you are based in the UK you should consider Publishing Expo on 28-9th February.  Or Cross Media on 3-4th September.  (Both are based in London).  I will be presenting at both these shows and it would be great to meet you.
  2. Set a date for a meeting at your factory to discuss potential new customer offerings.  Make sure you invite people from everywhere in the factory.  It is your workforce who may come up with the best ideas.
  3. Highlight three customers that you will issue a challenge to.  Set a date to sit down with each of them.

Then you’ll be well on the way to an excellent start in 2012.

Have you planned to become fitter in 2012?

We that’s exactly what your print company will be doing too!

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P.S.  One other resolution that you might like to make is to become better at print negotiations.  I’m launching the Print Industry Negotiation Handbook.  To receive a free extract “How to avoid using straight line negotiation and giving way on price” sign up here.  You’ll also receive updates on the launch and news of a special launch offer.

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