How to Steal a Customer

Customer: “Bill, sorry to tell you that I am going with another vendor. I appreciate your taking the time to provide pricing and will definitely keep you in mind for future work.”

You: “Well, Christine, I hope we can work together in the future and look forward to demonstrating the level of service that I provide my customers. I might have been more expensive on this job, but I feel that I’m worth it. Take care.”


Two weeks later…

You: “Hi, Christine. Hey, I just thought I would follow up and find out how that job went. Were you pleased with the quality? Did the vendor deliver on time?”

Customer: “Actually, Bill, it was not the smoothest job I’ve ever seen. We had some production issues and the communication was less than stellar. In fact, we barely got our product out in time because of the delays.”

You. “I’m sorry to hear that there were issues. You might recall that I was slightly higher in price. Follow-up calls like this are part of the overall service that I provide my customers. When I said I thought we were worth the money, this was part of what I was talking about. By the way, did the winning vendor make a follow-up call like this?”

Customer: “Come to think of it, no. Perhaps he was afraid of what he might hear!”


You: “To be fair, production issues can pop up at any time and that certainly is not unique to them. However, I would go out of my way to communicate options and details to you so that you’re not calling me wondering what’s going on.”

Customer: “Well, that would certainly be different than what happened here. It was a frustrating experience made worse by the fact that we didn’t have any facts.”

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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  • WishfulThinking

    Two weeks later… >
    ‘Hi, This is Christine, leave a message at the beep and maybe I will get back to you.”


  • Janice Odriscoll

    Amen, Bill. Certainly every print provider in this day and age is getting hit with the “I got a better bid” syndrome. For the providers that can rise above price undercutting by providing great-quality printing, thoughtful front-end consideration, industry knowledge… and professionalism and patience, any “lost” client will return to you. The print industry’s power, longevity, and resilience demonstrate a great deal. Hold out, guys, and remember why your client started working with you in the first place.