Just When You Thought Loyalty Was Dead...
"We get calls from sales reps a lot," confided Sam, a design friend of mine. "But we usually tell them 'Thanks, but no thanks.'" Even though Sam’s studio is very small, he has won several awards and is thus on the radar of reps everywhere. But then something happened a few months ago that changed the landscape of his studio.
A very persistent merchant rep offered to update all of his swatchbooks (she might have thrown some chocolate into the mix, we will never know and Sam gave in—just this once.
However this rep left a mark. She was on time, thorough and to the point. More importantly, she had done her homework, and knew about the work he did and what he might need and be interested in. I know, I know, you’d do the same. But many, many don’t.
And now Sam tells all the printers he works with to buy paper though her company.
"I have never done this before," he confessed to me. "But I was just so pleased with the work she did and that she had listened."
Sam’s not alone. Another friend of mine swears by a certain paper (nope, not a house sheet). She uses it whenever designly (yes, I just made that up) possible. "The paper is uncoated," Jane admits, "but the results are stunning. Why would I use anything else?"
What do these friends of mine have in common? They were given the opportunity to build trust: trust in a sales person, trust in a specific stock.
Print service providers are given the same opportunity to earn the trust of designers every day in the exact same way, by doing their homework and listening to the needs and ambitions of their customers.
Trust doesn’t grow on trees; you have to earn it. Consistently, persistently earn it. Not an easy task I admit, but well worth it.
Or in the words of Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image: "If you build trust by providing value to others, good things (like more business) do happen."
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go and build some trust of my own. But I am curious. Where do you feel you are very loyal to something and what is the root cause of this loyalty?
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.