Printers – Help Keep Your Customers Employed

It is in your best interest as a printer to make sure your customers are secure in their jobs. They are responsible for giving your firm business. They are your biggest advocates inside their companies—often, they’re your only advocate.

Doesn’t it make sense that you’d want them to stay put and build on the relationship with you?

What are you doing to ensure that happens? Let me throw a few ideas your way…

  • Do you know what capabilities they are looking for in their service providers?
  • Do you know what challenges they’re facing in their careers/companies?
  • When was the last time you had a conversation with customers that didn’t involve either a job in production or one (hopefully) coming down the pike?

How has your relationship grown and developed (presuming it has)? Has this customer learned to trust you and your firm more as time has passed, resulting in new kinds of applications or new services?

I ask because an increase in volume, as well as new services, indicates that you’re a key provider for that customer. It symbolizes trust. It points to a deepening relationship. What led to this growth, and can you duplicate those steps to develop other customer relationships?

Are you familiar enough with top customers’ industries to be able to make strategic suggestions to them about their marketing materials, such as new applications that would one-up their competition?

I wonder how many printers think this way about customer retention. How many printers take an active role in helping clients succeed in their job? If you fit that description, I’d like to hear from you. Or if you’re a print buyer reading this post, I want to hear about printers who have in some way helped secure your job.

Share your thoughts by posting a Comment below.

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Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched her new business in 2013 as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. Now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content.

You may know Margie as the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event production business, she’s still publishing her Print Tips newsletter. She looks forward to helping companies create and style all of their content so their potential customers sit up and take notice. For details and to sign up for her Print Tips and new marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com or e-mail Margie at margie@margiedana.com.
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Comments
  • CanonKelly

    Margie
    I am surprised there haven’t been more comments here because this is a great post! It is so simple, but salespeople really need to remember to treat their relationships with customers in a very human way. have meaningful conversations. Ask insightful questions. Focus on more than just the project. Think about the future. Be curious. No one will criticize you for being nosy. When you demonstrate that you truly have their best interests in mind, clients will value you. Thanks for this reminder

  • Steve Counts

    Good job as usual Margie. You make me think. It reminds me of another great "idea giver", Stephen Covey. Covey’s discussion about the battle between Mr. Urgent and Mr. Important comes to mind.
    What you say in regards to visiting with key customers to HEAR what is going on in their world is true and IMPORTANT. The challenge for suppliers like we printers is to fight of the URGENT issues and make the time to do exactly what you have described. Thanks for the reminder.

  • glenncolorguy

    Margie,

    Great observation. It’s true! In a tough environment we all have to work together. I work a lot with printers, helping them to make their printing better. I really want them to succeed, because it is the only way to measure my own success. The free benefit to me? It makes it much easier to sell my own services when I know that I am helping someone else to succeed. I’m sure that the same holds true for printers as well.

  • Mike Daues

    Margie, I have said for years that one of my priorities is to make my client look good to his/her associates and most of all, to his/her superiors (to build value) – as well as to make their professional lives as less stressful as I can. It becomes more difficult every day to truly enjoy your work these days. I try to combat that situation and make dealing with me as pleasant and easy as possible.

  • Susan Beyer

    Great system, Margie!! Customers are happiest when they can count on friendly/professional service, fair prices, consistently high quality printing, and delivery that’s on-time, every-time! Sounds like so much yada yada yada…but systematizing your operations is what we see keeps everything on course. Love your common sense blogs! Susan, System100