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How the TPD principle stops print customers choosing on price

“But we’ve always done it like that.”

That’s the frequent answer to the first of my questions that I ask when I visit a company as a consultant. That first question is why are things done as they are.

Many times, processes and principles have been passed down from person to person. These processes and principals have never been challenged. But the business environment around us is changing. For print companies to survive, they have to challenge what they are doing.

One of the most important places to do this is in the sales team.

It’s time to challenge traditional print sales messages

If you want to shake hands on a print deal you need to use the TPD principle

If you want to shake hands on a print deal you need to use the TPD principle

Traditional print sales messages don’t work: this article explains why. A much more effective method is to use the TPD principle.

Print companies that are using the TPD principle have a better chance of creating a conversation with a prospect. The prospect is likely to see this conversation as the beginning of a partnership. The prospect sees that the print sales person understands their company. So the printer is more likely to get the sale. These print companies will be more in control of their sales pipelines. They are finding it easier to achieve the targets that they have set themselves.

Print companies that are not using the TPD principle are finding it harder to achieve their targets. They are not in control of their sales pipelines. Much of the time, prospects are treating them as commodity suppliers. This is because they are finding it hard to make their sales messages engage with prospects.

The TPD principle gives print sales people the best opportunity to connect with their prospects.

So what is the TPD principle?

The TPD principle is a way of constructing a sales message. A TPD sales message contains three elements. These elements are designed to encourage a prospect to purchase from you. The three elements are target market, pain and difference.

You need all three elements if the sales message is to be successful. Let’s look at these elements one by one.

Target market

Many print sales messages that I receive are designed to work with as many people as possible. They are based on a one size fits all strategy. The trouble is that it is very difficult to create a sales message that engages with everybody. That’s why I recommend a sales message that is focused on a small target market.

A sales message constructed in this way has a much better chance of connecting with the prospect. It will speak knowledgeably about their market sector. It will talk in their language. And it will also talk about the prospect’s pain.


In business, pain is the biggest motivator for a prospect to buy. If someone has a business problem they need to fix it. If you can help them fix their problem, they are much more likely to buy from you.

If you can’t solve any problems for the prospect, why should they buy from you?

Of course, part of the sales person’s duty is to make a buyer aware of problems. It may be that they have a pain that they weren’t aware of.

Combined, target market and pain can make a very effective sales message. But it doesn’t give a reason for a prospect to specifically choose your company. That’s why you need difference.


Difference is the same as a USP. It is the reason why a prospect will choose your company and not the competition.

In the print industry, difference is often focused on service and quality. But these are expected by buyers. Other print companies create a difference from a technical issue. Many buyers will not understand these issues.

The most effective way of creating a difference is to base it around to the way in which you solve a prospect’s pain.

However, whether we are talking about target audience, pain or difference, some salespeople think these are irrelevant.

Buyers of print are only interested in price

There are many price-focused buyers out there these days. However, as I have explained in a previous article, many print companies lead their sales pitches on price. It is possible to move many buyers away from being solely interested in price.

Price is still important to buyers. However, it doesn’t have to be the only issue. Sales messages based on the TPD principle are more likely to move the conversation away from pure price.

Here is the first step to creating your own TPD message

I have written a book which goes into the TPD principle in more detail. It is called “How To Stop Print Buyers Choosing On Price”. Find out more about it here. It shows you in detail how to create your own TPD message. The book is also full of examples of how other companies are using it successfully.

When you read the book, you will be able to create an action plan for your own sales messaging.

Don’t let your sales message be the same as it always has been

Make sure you challenge what you are saying to your prospects.
P.S. Do you want more inspiration on print sales?  Download a free copy of “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them”.

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