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Print Confessions

By Graphic Arts Professionals

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Print Confessions is brought to you by Bill Farquharson and Kelly Mallozzi. Each week, read the thoughts of a different graphic arts professional who will share a point of view that can only be written anonymously, and then join in the conversation by posting a comment.

Five Things Any Digital Equipment Sales Rep SHOULD Do

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and enhance your offset or copying offerings with some production-grade digital printing equipment. Once you put the word out that you are looking, you should expect to get calls from at least five world-class manufacturers of equipment that, if properly placed according to your goals and needs, should make you some nice profits.

Here are five things that digital printing equipment reps should be doing, saying and delivering to help you make this very important decision:

1) They should help you anticipate the low-hanging fruit.

You should be hearing questions like:
  • If we placed the machine tomorrow, who would be the first 10 companies you would call on
  • What would you say to them?

And then they should follow that up with sample talk tracks for showing your existing customers all the great new things you’ll be able to do for them once you go digital

2) They should help you map out the production footprint—physically and early.

You should not be getting attached to any solution until you know that it will fit in with your current space, including any construction or demolition plans. Have your production staff be a part of these discussions to talk about integrating with finishing equipment and any other potential logistics challenges.

3) They should help you develop a business model.

You should have a ballpark projection for volume for the first year by month, along with a snapshot of the return on your investment, including consumables, click charges, and paper, so that you can build a pricing model that is competitive as well as realistic. You MUST use real numbers here.

4) They should be presenting you with a post-sales support plan.

This support should extend up to and include hosting an open house, so that you know that they are not simply going to drop the gray box on you one day and wish you luck. They should be invested in your success, know your industry well, and have lots of ideas as to how to sell stuff quickly and profitably.

5) You should be given a clear picture of how the service side of things will run.

I would ask for referrals in your territory from other printers, and find out how each vendor deals with machine failures and what their service time commitments are. Once you start running this machine, it needs to stay up and productive for long stretches, so downtime MUST be minimal.

This is a great time to get into digital; and you have a LOT of choices. Make sure the company you select is one that you feel is a true partner, and not just some dude out to cash a commission check.

Good luck!

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