Reader Tips on How to Be Successful in Print Sales Enable Much-Needed Vacation
Va-ca-shun (n): To not work. No, really. Submit a column, back away from the computer, and get lost. Go on … it was clear to everyone but him that he needed a vacation. COVID-19 quarantining had made him a little, well, more crazy than usual. So, he reached out through LinkedIn for a little help from his friends, asking readers to submit an answer to the question, “What is the best advice you could give to be successful in print sales?” Here’s a sampling of what came back …
Michelle: “Be social media-active. Engage. Learn your clients’ behavior and be there when they need (something). Share what’s happening in our industry. Share so they learn and start to engage with you and your business.
“Be personal. More than ever, people want to know who they are doing business with, and they want to feel a sense of trust and comfort. Give them this and you will get business in return!”
Trish: “Sell solutions, not print. Help your clients achieve their goals and give them ideas to help get more value for their budget dollars. My favorite print reps from back in my agency days were the ones (who) helped me do my job better. And another thing: if agencies are your target market, dropping off a bunch of random print samples can actually be more annoying than helpful.
“Consider dropping off only one sample at a time — one that is truly relevant to that business. Maybe add a personal note: ‘Thought this type of mailer could be good for client X. They cost approximately X dollars apiece. The campaign was hugely successful. Want to know more?’”
Power of Positive Thinking
Andre: “Have the right mindset to keep from becoming your worst enemy. Instead of worrying, ‘I hope I get the sale,’ think, “These people are looking for someone exactly like me to help them solve their problem. My product will make their lives better, so I have an obligation to help them. If I don’t help them, I’m doing them a disservice.’”
Elizabeth: “Perseverance! Don’t give up after a ‘no’ response. Also, be genuine. Finally, once they become a customer, pay attention to details and LISTEN!”
Dan: “Choose your target market carefully. Call on the companies that your business serves best in terms of capabilities, capacity, and applications. Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. Find the round pegs.”
Rich: “Patience, patience, patience. Also, build a healthy bank account to support yourself during the lean times.”
Digital Marketing for Lead Gen
Clain: “Don’t wait for a marketing department to do all of your lead-generation activities. There are digital marketing activities sales reps can do (contributing/aligning website content to your target market, sharing your stories through blogging, posting/participating on social media, etc.) that complement and enhance traditional lead-generation activities. Dip your oar in the digital marketing water!”
Wayne: “Identify the five characteristics that define your very best customers. Identify five potential clients who share those traits.
If those potential customers are known to your very best customers, ask for an introduction. Ask your very best customer to mention the value you just created for them when they make the introduction.”
Chris: “Be persistent … timing is critical! The fortune is in the follow-up. Boom!”
Joe: “To be successful in print sales — especially these days — you need to be creative. Don’t assume everyone is going to have the same needs. Research the prospect. Understand what problems or struggles they are encountering, and try to form a solution that can help them out. Be helpful and think outside the box.
“I had a (sales rep) tell me his client is not really buying anything right now. After a long conversation, he found out they were going to start requiring temperature checks for all of their employees. Their problem was they could not find any thermometers. The sales rep did some research, found a (supply) and reached out. He also was able to sell the thermometers to other clients in need.
“They were impressed at his ingenuity, and now they are coming back. All of their printing will be going to the guy who help them out in the hard times. Be willing to assist your client in whatever their needs may be.”
Cliff: “Invest in the time it takes to find a mentor and engage actively with him/her. The person might be a sales coach, or a successful sales rep whom you admire, or even a close friend whom you trust. Sometimes the thing holding you back is you, and a mentor can help direct you to make positive changes that improve your sales results.”
Cassie: “Go into a selling situation without any preconceived notions. Don’t disregard what they say they want, but don’t limit your solution either. Often times what they want is not what they need. If you come up with the right solution, the price objection goes away.
“Done correctly, cost becomes irrelevant and the only question the client has is, ‘How soon can you do it?’”
Common Themes of Advice
Note the similarities throughout these 12 submissions. Namely:
- Be patient — Don’t look for or expect the quick, profitable sale. Quick sales are not profitable, and profitable sales are not quick. Do the work to create a quality sales pitch. Then, make the calls, make the calls, make the calls.
- Be personable — In a world of robocalls, be yourself. Be natural. Have some fun with it all. In the end, someone who wants to buy from you will find a way.
- Be clever — No one needs a sales rep just to turn specs into a number. There’s an app for that. Look behind the specs, find out what the client is really trying to accomplish, and come up with a better way.
- Be different — Take the time to do what is required, but then go the extra mile to do what is unexpected. There are plenty of boring sales reps out there.
And with that, the columnist gathered his things, helped his wife jump on the back of his 2011 Victory Vision, and rode north. Acadia National Park (Maine) is a day’s ride.
Thanks to everyone who helped out. Let’s roll.
Bill Farquharson is a respected industry expert and highly sought after speaker known for his energetic and entertaining presentations. Bill engages his audiences with wit and wisdom earned as a 40-year print sales veteran while teaching new ideas for solving classic sales challenges. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault, are available at salesvault.pro.