How You Serve Print Buyers: Make This List and Check It Twice
The new year is nigh. If December signals a slowdown of jobs coming into your company, you have more time to plan how to make better connections with your print customers in 2015.
Maybe it’s time to examine your own—and your firm’s—customer development strategy. A list to guide you in this exercise would help.
May I suggest your list include the following 10 items?
- What worked for your business development efforts this year—and what didn’t?
- What’s changed about the role of corporate print buyers (or consumers if you serve them) that should influence how you develop new business relationships and strengthen existing ones?
- What sorts of services have a lot of your customers asked you to offer them, month after month? Can you make this happen or at least get the ball rolling?
- How certain are you that your customers are 100 percent clear about all of your capabilities?
- Can you articulate how you differ from your top 5 competitors? Would the whole sales team be in agreement?
- Can you describe the profile of your primary customer? What industry, what title, what products are purchased, how experienced is he or she, and so on.
- What do your customers count on you for, specifically? Write down all the qualities and services that make you a key resource for them.
- What complaints did you hear from customers this year that made an impression? Are you in a position to address and correct them?
- Think about yourself as a customer in a B2B relationship. What actions from a service provider would knock your socks off—and can you replicate them for your customers?
- What one quality or work habit of yours do you wish you could improve, especially a "customer-facing" one? Name it, and commit yourself to fixing it.
Any one of these topics will force you to take a long look at how you serve your print customers. As in all of my blogs, columns and articles, I approach them from the customer’s perspective, and therefore I assure you it wouldn’t be a waste of your time, or your sales team’s time, to give any and all of them some thought.
While we’re speaking of lists, wouldn’t it be a good time to ask your customers for their 'wish lists' for 2015? Ask them in a friendly, personable way, letting them know your intent is to try your best and deliver in 2015.
The good news is that you won’t have to don a red suit and squeeze down chimneys to deliver these gifts. But I assure you, customer satisfaction and loyalty will color your new year a rosy one indeed.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com