Vistaprint, Bad Sushi and Five Angry Calls a Day

Car salesman are given a bevy of questions to ask a prospective buyer. The worst is, “How much are you looking to spend?” The best is, “What are you looking for in a car?” One of the more commonly asked questions is, “What else are you looking at?”

Many years ago, I was car shopping and jockeyed between the Nissan Maxima and a BMW 3 Series. Both reps asked me that last question. The Nissan sales rep ripped the BMW and made faces like he’d just eaten some bad sushi. The BMW rep, however, replied by patiently describing the differences between their car and his.

Classy. Guess which I bought.

I was alerted by a reader that Vistaprint is running an ad campaign on national television touting its services while trash-talking the competition. One segment has an actual customer saying how everything Vistaprint does for him is perfect and another who says when she used the local printer down the street, “nothing was right.”

Oh, really?

That’s funny to me because I was in a coaching call with a Sales Challenge customer recently whose company name is very close to Vistaprint. He told me that he gets five angry calls a day from people who call his shop, but think they are calling Vistaprint. In addition, he got a call from the Better Business Bureau telling him that there were 5,000 complaints against “his” company, a matter that was cleared up when the name difference was explained.

Now, Vistaprint is a fine company and it has a very successful business model. I use it myself for checks and have never had a problem. But does it really need to lower itself to such a level? I mean, is the printer down the street that much of a threat to the company?

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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  • Kelly Mallozzi

    I just had something happen to me with Zazzle. When I wrote to them to tell them that their stickers were out of register (for a sticker that reads "Print Lives" they just refunded my money and didn’t even offer to reprint them. Now I have a dozen useless stickers. BOO!

  • TX Printer

    The subject printer struggles because their main hiring trait is testing positive for fogging a mirror. You hire people that don’t have a clue, you get those results back in customer satisfaction. The ad campaign also shows their lack of ethical behavior which the industry should have no tolerance for. Same goes for another company name which starts with the number after 3. Good story, Bill.

  • Margie Dana

    Bill, thanks for sharing this – I wasn’t aware of their ad campaign. I couldn’t agree more. No room for trash talking in this business. Great post!

  • Jaek

    I used to use these companies at least once a month as of a couple years ago. It was 50/50. Half of my orders would come as designed, the others would have some glitch, whether it be placement, stock paper, ink, etc. Since growing, I have not used them and would not recommend them to anyone.

  • a family printshop

    folks, remember that the internet is open to all of us. The advertisement is posted on youtube as a video. If you don’t like their approach and think they are trash talking. Tell them so. You can give the video a thumbs down, write a polite comment. refute a claim, report them for a number of categories of you tube service violation. Be careful on the last one. If you feel it truly appropriate and you’re not flaming everyone each time you go on line, you will certainly be viewed more kindly by the YouTube/google censors.
    Welcome to democracy.

  • Hal Homler

    I like your message Bill. One thing that we all tend to forget about buying through the web is that our dollars exit our communities. For the most part, Small businesses are who employ our families, friends & neighbors – printers & small manufacturers are no different. In these challenging times, this fact has never been more important.

    So, when we are shopping for a deal, think about how those extra few dollars will help your local community in the form of wages, taxes, and the trickle down of consumerism.

  • Marc Zazeela

    Thanks Bill.

    Negative selling has proven relatively ineffective time and again. Your own experience at the car dealer is a classic example.

    I sell services and when I speak with a prospect who has just met with a competitor that trashed me, my response is always:

    "So, the best thing about the competition is that my company stinks?"

    Gives one pause for thought. Put yourself in the customer’s place. What do you expect from a GOOD sales person working for a GOOD company?