How Two Words Cost a Print Salesperson A Lot of Money
I had a meeting with a printing company recently. There’s always a point at the beginning of the meeting where there’s a quick chat.
Salespeople are often using this time to try and establish rapport with a buyer. The emphasis is on relationship building rather than doing business. That means it can be a dangerous time for the seller.
I asked the question that I always ask at this point:
It’s amazing how much a buyer can learn when they ask this question. I am always surprised at how much information printers give away when they answer it.
This printer was no different. As soon as I asked "How’s Business" they responded with a "Not Good." They told me how it was a tough market. They explained that many buyers were only focused on price. Worst of all, they admitted that they were not as busy as they might be.
Many printers assume we’re having a friendly chat at this point
However, I’m not being friendly. I’m using this time to gather information when the salesperson is less likely to be on their guard.
Many salespeople are far more honest with me at this point. They would often give less away if I asked them this during a more formal part of the meeting.
This printer immediately made me worried
Their response got me thinking. Were they about to go under? Should I be placing work there? Or making alternative plans for the work that I do have there?
Of course, for the many buyers that reply, it tells them that they might get a bargain. If the printer’s presses are quiet a buyer may be able to get a rock-bottom price.
With just their first two words, this printer put itself a really bad position
The question may have sounded innocent. However, a good salesperson would have answered it with caution.
Many printing companies are frustrated how hard it is to engage buyers in today’s world. That’s where Matthew Parker can help. He is a gamekeeper turned poacher. Parker has bought print for more than 20 years and received over 1,400 print sales pitches. He now uses his buyer’s point of view to give practical advice to printers. He helps them engage with prospects and customers to create profitable relationships.
Download his free e-book, "Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them" and check out his recently launched book, "How To Succeed At Print Sales: Setting targets, planning the right activities and making sure goals are met."