How to Get a Prospect on the Line
(Blog #10 in the ongoing series derived from a book Harris DeWese wrote several years ago—“A Year of Selling Profitably.” The book was written for printers to use as a guide in training their sales teams through a series of two-hour sessions over 48 weeks.)
Printing companies are like thumbprints—no two are alike, ever. This applies to equipment, staffing, financing and certainly to selling.
Salespeople try new account development with very different efforts. Some work on new accounts several hours every day. Others might invest half of a day one day each week.
Prospecting differs depending on the type of company that you represent. Obviously, new account development will be much different if you sell for a small sheetfed company whose average sale is in the $1,000 to $5,000 range. Observation tells you there are far more print buyers in this small buyer category than in the $25,000 to $100,000 range. Buyers in that range are likely buying long-run web jobs.
It’s up to you to create a work schedule that fits the prospects for your company.
Fundamentally, you should be investing a minimum of 30 percent of your time building a prospect database, updating your prospect intelligence, conceiving strategies to penetrate the prospect account and implementing your strategies.
Call when buyers are most likely to be reached. Monday mornings and Friday afternoons are probably the worst times. Lunch hours—from noon until about 2 p.m.—are also poor times. Try reserving a block of time specifically for making calls; for example, calling in the morning from say, 8:30 a.m. until noon.
Have a reason to call other than, “I want your graphic arts business.” That is probably what your competitors said the last time they called the buyer. You want to sound different. Having a specific topic to discuss or question to ask will give you a competitive edge by making you more memorable.
Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something." He is chairman/CEO at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of info regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 100-plus printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the industry. He specializes in investment banking, M&A, sales, marketing and management services to printers.