Why print sales people should stop visiting their customers

Posted by Matthew Parker

We live in a time-poor world

Everyone is constantly telling me that they never have enough hours in the day.  By the end of the week there is still a huge amount left on our “things to do” list.

What can we do to makes things better?  I have one simple suggestion to this.

Spend less time in the car

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Spend less time in the car and more time selling print

Many people still spend a vast amount of time travelling on the road.  I wonder if it is really necessary?

Here are three alternatives:

Consider if your conversation is really necessary

I am always surprised at how many pointless conversations are suggested to me.  Big corporations in particular seem to delight in gathering large numbers of people in one place for no apparent reason.

Do you really need to have team meetings to review figures that have already been distributed by spreadsheet?  Do you really need to have a client review if there is nothing to say? Do you need to visit a client just to pick up artwork or collect proofs?

Naturally, there are many conversations that are still essential.  But consider an alternative before jumping in the car.

Ask yourself if you a phone call would be sufficient

Many of the meetings that I have attended could be replaced by a phone call. In fact, I rarely sell face to face.  Instead I schedule conference calls – even with new clients.

I often find that the fact that I decline to have a meeting makes a potential client more curious about me.

But what happens if you need to show something to a client, or you have a presentation?

Consider using Skype or a Google hangout

I am still surprised that video calling is not used more frequently.  It is easy for me to share my screen with someone else.  I can hold up prototypes to the screen to demonstrate them.

If colour matching is an issue, a sample can always be posted to a client first.

Here are two action points for you

  • Sign up to Skype
  • Decide to avoid one face to face meeting this week (you can always replace it with a phone call)

If you are time poor, it’s time to reward yourself.  Why not set yourself a target.  It could be a work project you’ve not had time for. Or it may be a decision to do something with your family.  But why not save up travel time from meetings you avoid and use it to fulfill your goal?

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P.S. Download more advice for effective print sales – written by a print buyer. You’ll also receive a free copy of my e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them” (worth £19/$29)

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2 Responses to Why print sales people should stop visiting their customers

  • jeremy says:

    The element you are missing here though is relationships. People do business with people, not companies. It’s just like the issue of kindle vs a book. People like the feel, like to turn the pages of a book rather than the scroll down a page. People like to “touch” (shake hands is probably just as good) and sit face to face with other people. A skype call doesn’t cut it. You could end up creating the perception that you don’t have time for them and that could ending up costing you the client. Having said all that, I agree that a lot of time is wasted heading to clients for superfluous conversation that leads to no business at all.

    • Matthew Parker says:

      Jeremy, Thanks for your comments. I have often found that being too busy to have a face-to-face meeting makes clients more eager to work with me because they see everyone else wanting to work with me. Naturally, it depends on the person but I have had no problem creating great relationships with many people on Skype. As you say, it depends on sizing up the opportunity that is being discussed.

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