A Digital Sales Plan to Overcome Hate

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.

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."
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  • http://ThadMcIlroy Thad McIlroy

    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.