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Raise ‘Share-of-Customer’ –Farquharson/Tedesco

March 2011

In the 1989 comedy "When Harry Met Sally," Harry and Sally are longtime friends who struggle to maintain a platonic relationship. Throughout the film, both insist they could never work as a couple but, because it's Hollywood, they're married before the end credits roll. What Harry and Sally really wanted was right under their noses the whole movie!

We know what you're thinking: "Is this Printing Impressions or Entertainment Weekly? I expected a column on print sales growth strategies, not a film review!"

This film does offer an important sales lesson: Sometimes the best option is right in your own backyard. Leverage the strength of your existing customer relationships to create and capitalize on new business opportunities with the people who are already doing business with you. The business concept at play is increasing your "Share-of-Customer" (SOC).

Print salespeople that implement intelligent SOC grab strategies will position their businesses for a happy and healthy 2011. Read on for a discussion of how to increase your average SOC, and how the results can be stunning.

For commercial printing businesses, SOC is defined as the portion of each customer's print budget that is currently being spent with your business. For example, if your client did four jobs last month for $10k, $15k, $20k and $55k, respectively, and you only got the $20k job, your SOC is 20 percent ($20k/$100k = 20 percent).

That's a No-Brainer

Why focus on increasing your Share-of-Customer? Let us be blunt: Duh!

The buyer mentioned above already knows you. It's much easier selling repeat work because the hard job of qualifying the lead is already done. Think of how much work is required to travel through the "suspect | prospect | quoting prospect | trial customer | repeat customer" funnel and compare it to the easier task of nurturing someone who's already used to paying your bills.

What happens next month when you get the expected $20k job and the $15k job? Your SOC increases to 35 percent. If your customer is concerned about spreading his/her work around, going from 20 percent to 35 percent SOC is barely noticeable to the client. But to you? Your sales with that customer will increase 75 percent!

That will be noticeable, especially if you can duplicate this performance across your client portfolio. Land the $55k job, as well, and you're at a 90 percent SOC, which is as close to 100 percent as most clients will let you go.



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