How to Sell Like a Graphic Artist
The very first sales call I ever made was in 1982. I was 21 years old and fresh out of college. I owned one suit, two dress shirts and three ties. Everything except for the shirts was a hand-me-down from my older brother. Starting me in the shallow end of the sales pool, my boss told me to stop by and introduce myself to existing customers. That first client was a construction company called Kesley and Morse (funny what you remember and what you forget in life, isn’t it?). I walked up to the counter, introduced myself, and asked for the name of the gentleman who was my key contact. I can still see this in my mind’s eye:, the woman that I was speaking with walked into this guy’s office and handed him my business card. He looked at me over his reading glasses, pulled a file from the cabinet next to him, and walked up to the counter. There, he opened the file folder. On the left side was stapled eight other business cards. He took mine and stapled it in the ninth position. Closing the folder he said, “Welcome to the training ground for Boston. Good luck, kid. I’ll call you if I need you.”
Why do I share the story? Sure, it’s cute and funny and a good way to start a sales tip. But I share that story in order to make a point. I might want to talk to you about perseverance or the ups and downs of sales or for no other reason but to make you laugh. That’s what stories do.
A quick check yields this data point: There were 210 words in that story. Suppose I began this tip with 210 words about the speeds and feeds of a random piece of equipment on the floor. I would talk about the quality and variable data printing capabilities and its footprint. I would go over the price and the financing options. The number of words used or the amount of time required to share the information about the inkjet printer would be exactly the same as the story I told you.
Fast forward a year …
You and I meet again. We have not spoken since that day. I ask you what you recall from our first meeting. You scratch your head. That’s understandable. A lot of things have happened in 12 months. So, I give you two clues. First, I say “what did I tell you about my first sales call?” Second, I say “What do you remember I told you about inkjet printing?”
Which do you think you will remember best?
Stories paint pictures. Anecdotes get remembered. They are colorful and engaging. Ours is a visual world. We are in the graphic arts. If you want to be remembered or if you want your sales pitch to take root in the minds of a prospect, don’t just rely on speeds and feeds, engage the customer’s brain through storytelling. Use success stories. Sell more print!
Just like these tips are common sense, growing sales comes down to the fundamentals. That’s Bill’s approach to everything. If you aren’t happy with your sales, look into the books and programs he offers at BillFarquharson.com.