Long Term Gain

Last week I wrote about ways that putting in effort on a seemingly small opportunity can sometimes pay off and earn you big business. There is another lesson that I learned from this same customer shortly after I earned the company’ business…

Twice yearly this publisher held a symposium, lasting several days and requiring signage, attendee booklets—in short, LOTS of printing. The first time I was allowed to bid on the work, I looked at the spec sheets and discovered that they were printing a 20×30 poster for each meal—breakfast, lunch and dinner—for several days. I proposed that instead of printing many boards, we create a “master” board on to which you could Velcro smaller signs to designate which meal and the day—ditto for the speakers and the directional signage. My realization cost me a thousand or so dollars in revenue, because we ended up printing many fewer signs than they originally asked for.

But what did I gain? The client was so impressed that I was mainly concerned with saving them money instead of worrying about how much I was billing, that for the future symposiums they did not even put the project out for bid—I was automatically called for any of the work that was in my wheelhouse. I had gained their trust by showing that I had their back. And as I said before, I enjoyed that relationship for the better part of 10 years.

So I’ll ask you this…Are there ways you could help your clients save money? Is there some creative solution that solves a problem? If so, follow it. And by all means, always make sure the customer KNOWS what you have done for them—how you have saved them money or solved their problem. Because in today’s consultative selling environment, being on time, or even being the cheapest provider (which, let’s face it, none of us really wants to be anyway), is often not enough to win the business long term. If you want a client for the long haul, show ’em what you can do for them that the others won’t or can’t. Solve problems. Save money. Be creative.

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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  • http://TJTedesco TJ Tedesco

    Great story. Putting your customers’ interests above your own is a principle that should guide all of us in business.

  • http://jimbuck jim buck

    Very good idea.
    In these hard times, I require myself to look for new and efficient ways to keep customers and win over new accounts.