Open Enrollment | Subscribe to Printing Impressions HERE
Connect
Follow us on
Advertisement
 
Bill Farquharson

The Sales Challenge

By Bill Farquharson

About Bill

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."

 

A Digital Sales Plan to Overcome Hate

1
 
Earlier this month I blogged about how sales people HATE selling digital and VDP. Fifty percent of the comments (OK, so there were only four total, but still...) called for a solution to this malady and more information. OK, Ricky, I’ll ’splain….

Again, the problem is that digital/VDP is wrought with issues and challenges that prove to be too much for the average commercial print sales person. It is a complicated, long sale that moves the rep out of his/her comfort zone, and pays less than the traditional sale. Traditional reps like it quicker and easier and don’t fancy having to sell to people who speak in technical terms. And yet the equipment manufacturers want their monthly invoices paid and don’t much care about the “don’t wanna” sales mantra. There are two solutions.

First, bring the sales rep to the application. That is, teach your sales people five known applications for digital and VDP and force them to learn them cold. Let’s say, for example, that you knew how college admissions directors were trying to reduce the amount of money they spend on tire-kickers. They’d much rather focus on those high school kids who have a real interest in the school and aren’t just looking to collect enough information to cover their living room floor with paper in order to impress their friends. There is a digital printing solution for that and you tell your reps exactly whom to speak to about it, exactly what to say, and exactly what ideas to offer. You even go so far as to offer a sample voice mail message and cover the expected objections. Next, you divvy up the number of colleges and universities in the area amongst the sales staff and let them loose.

An educated, digitally-savvy sales force has a much better chance of getting in the door, and a rep that knows what an application looks like is much more likely to sell digital and VDP. So, step one is: put the ball on the sales reps’ tee.

Second, make it worth their while financially. Sales people follow the money. They will sell what earns them the greatest compensation. Wouldn’t you? But the traditional compensation model of X% of sale is ineffective, especially when the typical digital/VDP sale is much less than its commercial print counterpart.

Get their attention by telling them why it is worth their time: Sales reps (and owners/managers, for that matter) need to understand that their work is primarily upfront and once the “technical connection” is made, jobs flow into the shop without their involvement and often without their knowledge. When I sold digital printing, I had clients who entered orders and the first I knew of them was when they showed up on my paycheck. Sweet!

But back to the money: A client in Maine (ayuh, all the way “down” in Maine) put together a fabulous compensation structure for its sales people. It starts with a $100 bonus for the rep’s first digital sale and goes on to provide additional monies for total same-customer sales, all the way up to $5,000!

I think it’s brilliant and effective, and I'm happy to share a copy of it with you if you’d like one. You will find the download available on my website (www.AspireFor.com). I’ll put it right on the home page so that you don’t need to look all over the place (though you might want to since there is some good info there!). The download will be available for a week or so and then I’ll take it down. If you look and it is not there, just send me an email (bill@aspirefor.com) and I will pass it along.

I hope that answers the question. If not, post a Comment and let’s keep talking.

Oh, and don’t forget about the webinar this Wednesday, August 18 on the subject of Prospecting Secrets. Fellow PI blogger Kelly Mallozzi and I are going to teach you how to do pre-call research so that you have a killer opening line to use on calls and voice mails. Information on that is also available on the Aspire For website (under “PI Webinar” in the heading).

Industry Centers:

1

COMMENTS

Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments:
Thad McIlroy - Posted on August 16, 2010
So you're saying that some 20 years after digital printing entered the market most print sales reps still can't cope with it. They can sell a product that's been commoditized and has lower margins than it used to and for which demand is inexorably declining. But they can't sell the only print product that is growing rapidly in sales and profit margin (as a percentage of dollar, not margin per sale), and which, sold properly, is not a commodity. Got it.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Thad McIlroy - Posted on August 16, 2010
So you're saying that some 20 years after digital printing entered the market most print sales reps still can't cope with it. They can sell a product that's been commoditized and has lower margins than it used to and for which demand is inexorably declining. But they can't sell the only print product that is growing rapidly in sales and profit margin (as a percentage of dollar, not margin per sale), and which, sold properly, is not a commodity. Got it.