Selling Print, Taco Bell Style

I recall hearing that the first restaurant to offer the now-common practice of one-price combo meals (entrée, fries and a drink, for example) was a Taco Bell in New Mexico. Like the Internet, cell phones and the “Downton Abbey” BBC television series, it is hard to imagine what life was like before someone came up with the idea.

Why has no one brought this concept to the world of printing?

Sure, I have seen special offers where a new customer can get business cards, envelopes and letterhead at a fixed price, but I want someone to think bigger than that. Can anyone tie the idea to a specific offering, like print and mail?

Imagine three preset price levels:

  • For $249, a customer could send out, say, 250 2/2 postcards (or whatever).
  • For $499, the customer would get 500 postcards, plus you could promise to send out a follow-up email.
  • For $999, you’d sweeten the pot even further—use your imagination,

It’s funny how the mind works. I often look at car commercials and focus not on the vehicle, but rather the lease price and hear my inner Bill voice say, “Shoot, I can afford that.” Only later do I remind myself that I don’t need a new car.

Wouldn’t you wonder if someone seeing your offer would think the same way? I mean, is it possible or probable that a customer would look at the price and think to him or herself, “I can do an entire mailing for only $499? Let’s go!”

Rarely does someone with the power to purchase such an offering think to him/herself, “I need to do a mailing.” But by throwing three price levels out there, it shifts the internal debate away from that need to one where they are assessing the cost/value, hopefully toward a better outcome.

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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  • sheila

    The problem is the customer won’t have a mailing list and then it defeats the purpose as the proposal above. Then it becomes a bigger headach.

  • Brian


    Isn’t that just selling products though? I would think this strategy takes you out of the solution conversation. I guess it makes sense for small shops or quick printers.

  • Wendy Sherrod

    We did this. We offered postcards with mailing. The postcard information was printed on the stock and size we were proposing. We also listed our other services and generated revenue on them too. We offered a mail list at an additional cost. This will more likely save you time because in most cases the customer supplied mail list is out of date or in the wrong format.

  • aspireforbill

    I just gotta say: If you haven’t seen Downton Abbey (bummed that no one commented on that reference!), watch it asap. The first season is on Netflix. Some of the best television I have ever seen.

  • Robert Bloecker

    my company – – offers a $499 package of 500 4/0 letterhead, 1000 4/4 business cards and 500 1 color #10 envelopes including setups (no logo design) and we have done great with it. People like seeing the price up front. its like shopping for a car. Lets see the sticker price, then work out the details.