Printers: three ways to increase profit margins from your clients by over 12%

Posted by Matthew Parker

Do you find print sales a hard slog?
Do you feel that buyers are only interested in the lowest price?
Do you feel that there is nothing you can do about this?

I have just released The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook.  I did a lot of research work for it.  And I saw a number of situations where buyers did not choose on the lowest price.

Why on earth would a buyer pay more?

The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook

The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook will help you become a more effective negotiator. Purchase your copy now!

It may seem odd at first, but let’s consider how this might work. Let’s say that I am buying a marketing brochure. The brochure is a vital sales tool for an important exhibition. The trouble is that the exhibition opens in a couple of days. And no-one told me that the brochure was needed for the exhibition until this morning.

Of course, I could just try and find the cheapest price for the brochure. But let’s say that I found a printer for the brochure who offered me something a little different. Let’s say that this printer was willing to:

  • Deliver an early sample copy for the marketing team tomorrow morning
  • Make a 7am delivery to the exhibition to make sure that my company had everything they needed before the doors opened
  • Guarantee no charge if delivery wasn’t made on time

Wouldn’t that peace of mind be worth paying a little extra for? Wouldn’t it be worth giving a slightly higher price in order to win these benefits?

Some of you may feel that this is an unrealistic scenario.

Don’t ideas like this fail in the real world?

Well, that example allowed a printer to charge me 12% more than they would normally!  And I have seen a number of other examples where print companies have put together similar solutions.  Solutions that ended up with much higher profit margins.

But to get a result like this a print company has to negotiate.

Print salespeople who negotiate well will get higher margins

They will be able to control the negotiation process with their clients.  This will lead to higher revenues.  So they will be more likely to achieve or exceed their sales targets.

But there’s another thing that they will achieve too.

They will also achieve better partnerships with their clients

Which client is going to regard you as a close supply partner?  The one bought on price alone?  Or the one who paid more because they needed the extra solutions that the printer threw into the negotiation?

Of course not all printers will negotiate well.

Printers who don’t negotiate well will struggle to achieve their sales and profit targets

These printers will end up selling on price only.  So their customers won’t be loyal.  And the print company will have no control over their sales pipeline.

So here are three tips to help you negotiate better.

Be the first to make a proposal

If you make a negotiation proposal before the other party, you are in a strong position.  Your client has to react to your proposal.  You have set expectations in their mind.

As part of your proposal you can include elements such as the schedule, delivery time and guarantee of delivery.  And if the client tries to beat your price down then you can remove those elements.

Suddenly the higher price may seem very compelling to the client.  But this negotiation strategy only works if you have set your negotiation goals correctly.

Make sure you always set flexible negotiation goals

Print sales people who negotiate on price and nothing else have no flexibility.  They can only give way on price.  So it is easy for the buyer to beat them down.

But the buyer has a totally different conversation with a printer who has set flexible goals.  In the example above, there are several strands to negotiate:

  • Price
  • Schedule
  • Exact delivery time
  • Guarantee

I use a system called NICE to set my goals.  When I use this system the conversation stops being totally about price.  And what happens if the buyer does try and buy on price?  They find that they lose many of the elements of the proposal that could be important to them.

But this only happens if the print salesperson stays firm.  It’s important that they don’t away something for nothing.

Always get something in return

Sometimes print sales people need to give way.  But if they do this they should always get something in return.  It puts them in a much stronger negotiation position.  I explain more about how to use this strategy in The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook.  This strategy helps you hold your own against buyers.

As a buyer, what happens if a printer gives way too easily to one of my demands?  I simply ask for more.  And I’ll often get it.

Giving away something for nothing just encourages buyers to give you a hard time.

So here are three action points to stop buyers giving you a hard time

  1. Make sure you set out personal negotiation targets before you talk to a buyer.  And make sure that you have set a strategy that makes it realistic for you to achieve them.
  2. Always make your proposal before the other party.
  3. Read up about negotiation.  Invest in a copy of The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook.  It’s a great place to find out more about negotiation skills that are really relevant to the print industry.

Wouldn’t you like to charge 12% more to your clients?

Practice your negotiation skills.  Make sure you set flexible goals.  And take the lead when you talk to clients.

You’ll soon find that your profit margins will rise.
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P.S. Make sure you invest in The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook.  It’s a great place to find out more about negotiation skills that are really relevant to the print industry.  And, right now, there’s a special launch price.  But this is only for a limited time.  So make sure you purchase your copy right now.

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