Paper Smarts as a Difference-Maker
My wife and I recently went to a farmer's market (or what we call, “farmer's markup”) recently and I came upon a magazine I hadn’t seen in a while, Edible Boston. I have a history with its editor and I wanted to share the story as part of my sales tip today.
When I first came across this magazine, I noticed something unique and very different about it immediately. The paper it was printed on was unlike anything I had seen before. It had a unique feel to it, one that was instantly noticeable. I wrote a letter to the editor/publisher that complimented whomever made that choice and I went on to say, “Please accept this comment in the spirit in which it is intended: By the time I am done with your magazine, I have torn to shreds!” You see, between tearing out the articles and the recipes and even a few of the ads, there was very little left by the time I was done with it. I enjoyed Edible Boston that much! She wrote me back, thanked me for the kind words, and even asked if she could use my unusual testimonial in her media kit used for new advertisers.
My point is this … learn paper.
That is, spend some time improving your knowledge of paper stock, characteristics, quality, types, etc. This could be a tremendous differentiator for you as a salesperson. My guess is, Edible Boston was given to a specific printer in part because of that paper suggestion. It made that much of a difference.
On a coaching call recently, a client and I did some research together on an unusual footwear company. For some reason, I got to thinking about the competitive advantage one has in the knowledge of all things paper. This shoe company was unusual for many different reasons. Imagine yourself as a salesperson talking to the powers that be about extending their brand right down to the paper stock used in the catalog and then showing some samples that make your point.
Your paper supplier is a wealth of information. It is criminal not to take advantage of what they know. Heck, they’ll even go on sales calls with you if you asked them. In addition, there are educational events and opportunities at trade shows such as PRINTING United and Project Peacock.
We often complain about things that are out of our control when answering the question, Why aren’t you selling more? Product knowledge such as this is one thing completely within our control.
So, learn paper.
Bill Farquharson can be reached throughwhere you also find information on his books on print and digital/inkjet sales and his weekly coaching program.