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Three essential questions for printing companies to achieve profitable client qualification

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

You can’t drive a car without turning the engine on first.

You can’t print a leaflet if you have no ink for your press.

I’m stating the obvious here. But it’s impossible to get the end result you want without going through an earlier stage in the process first. Sometimes the earlier stages of a process are not so obvious.


Break eggs before making an omelette – ask the right questions before qualifying printing prospects

That’s the problem with client qualification

You can’t qualify your clients unless you know how you want to qualify them. However, this is a part of the process that is often missed out.

Printing companies that know exactly what clients they want will achieve more worthwhile sales conversations. They’ll have a good chance of achieving better relationships with their prospects and clients too.

Printing companies that fail to decide how they want to qualify their clients will struggle with these issues. Chances are, they’ll end up with a high proportion of unsuitable clients. Those clients might cost them a lot of money.

So how do you decide how you qualify your clients?

I have gone through three important areas to consider when qualifying clients. These are:

It’s important that print salespeople work through these areas and decide what is acceptable for their company and what is not. It’s no good thinking about this in the middle of selling to a prospect. You need to know exactly when to walk away before you start the sales process.

Some sales people will still be concerned about this strategy.

I don’t want to risk missing out on any clients

Remember that not all clients are good clients. You want to make sure that you have the best chance of winning profitable, long-term clients. You also want to make sure you avoid wasting time in the sales process on prospects who aren’t going to buy.

The prospects that sales people are worried about missing are often the prospects that were never going to convert anyway. If they do convert, they can cause problems.

Let’s look at a real-life example

A few years ago, I started talking to a potential new printing company. I was very clear about what I need it. I outlined some pretty tough process and quality controls that were essential if we were to work together a this particular project.

The salesperson promised me that he could deliver on this. He was convincing enough to make me visit the factory. That’s where it all went wrong.

When I went around the factory, the right quality controls were noticeably absent. The salesperson had wasted my time. He may have thought that he could impress me with the factory. In actual fact, he did precisely the opposite.

There is no way that I will ever work with this individual again. It would have been far better if he had admitted from the outset that his company were not up to the job. He would have saved himself a lot of sales time that could have being spent more profitably looking for prospects with less demanding projects.

I would have also admired his honesty, and potentially contacted him for other projects.

Here are three action points to make sure you avoid this sort of scenario

  1. Read the articles but I have linked above
  2. Set out exactly the sort of client you want, and what will make you walk away from the client.
  3. Find out more about target markets in “How To Stop Print Buyers Choosing On Price”

Remember, some processes cannot be changed

This applies whether you’re making omelettes or selling print.
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