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3 sales phrases that can stop you from winning print customers

There is a new breed of printing companies these days

Suddenly, there is a whole group of printers who have stopped selling print. Nowadays, it’s all about the data.

Data means you make a decent profit margin. Data means that you become much more interesting to a customer. Data is the route to stop being a commodity manufacturer. It’s the way to become a service provider.

In theory, the combination of data and print creates a compelling sales proposition.

So why aren’t these companies making more interesting sales approaches?


Is this how your customers react when you try and sell them value-added print solutions?

In my last article I discussed why 98% of traditional sales messages from printing companies sound exactly the same. I highlighted the three elements that many companies led on but which meant nothing to buyers.

Data and print providers use these elements far less frequently in their sales messages. However, their sales messages usually have some common elements. Again, it makes all the suppliers sounds pretty much the same

Worse still, the sales messages from these companies are often incomprehensible to prospects. These solutions that these companies sell are valuable to prospects. But something gets lost in translation.

Here are three phrases that I frequently hear in the sales messages from solutions providers. And here is why I find they do not work for buyers.

“Innovative, cutting edge”

Sometimes I feel that every new solution launched by the printing industry must be right on the edge of a technological breakthrough. Traditional printers talk about all the traditional elements of their craft. The new breed of service providers are only happy if their service sounds brand-new.

However, many buyers are cautious about taking up brand-new solutions. They want something to have a track record. They want a proven process or technology.

Innovative and cutting-edge may be designed to appeal to buyers. But it may actually have the opposite effect. Here’s another phrase that can put buyers off.


For people selling data as well as print, print is suddenly no longer enough. It’s all about mixing up methods of communication

It has generally been proven that, whatever communication method you choose, it will be more effective if you back it up with at least one other communication channel. However, the way that this is phrased can make a big difference to your sales message.

Many customers don’t understand the phrases “multi-channel” or “cross-media”. They are frequently used in the printing industry. But they often mean nothing to marketing professionals. A more commonly used phrase is “integrated marketing” or “multi-touch marketing”.

If we want to sell effectively in these market segments we need to speak the right language. Here’s another bit of language which doesn’t mean very much.

“Solutions based services”

Suddenly, the printing industry is all about selling solutions rather than print. Let’s not forget that the customer is going to buy something unless it solves an issue for them.

The trouble is, some printers now spend all their time telling customers that they are solutions based.  But they forget to tell their prospects what they are actually solving.

Here’s another approach to selling these sorts of services

One printing company I know talks to their prospects about raising the return on investment on their mailing lists. That is what their prospects are focused on. That is what gets their attention.

Let’s face it, if someone wants a better return on their mailing list, they don’t care whether this is achieved by an innovative, cutting edge solution or by carrier pigeon. As long as they get results and as long as the figures stack up, they are happy.

The printing company I know realises this. They don’t talk about their technology. They don’t talk about their processes. They talk about the results for the customer. They sell through case studies.

It makes it much easier for the customer to get the message. That means better sales for this company.

Here are three things to think about if you are selling these sorts of services

  • Take out the meaningless phrases
  • Avoids talking about technology
  • Focus on the results that the customer will see

If you are one of this new breed of printing companies you have some great opportunities to sell to your prospects. However, they need to understand what you’re talking about.

If you do simplify your sales message, just make sure you don’t go back to talking about service, quality and price!
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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