‘Prospect Characteristics Matrix’ Turns Suspects into Prospects
Usually, you cannot qualify until you present. If the suspect says, “Our longest run is 3,000.” and you have nothing but high-speed heatset web equipment, your presentation has disqualified the suspect. Qualifying suspects is a skill that can be learned, and it is the salesperson’s ticket to fame and fortune. Here are tips for qualifying suspects:
• Using your company’s equipment list, write down the kinds of graphic arts materials—manuals, internal forms, letterhead, two-color folded brochures, etc.—that are best suited to your equipment, staff and quality level. The list will probably not exceed 20 items.
• Go through at least 50 old job jackets. If your company has since enhanced its capabilities by adding equipment, limit your search to the length of time the new equipment has been installed. Take notes on the kinds of companies and jobs that have been most profitable over the past two to three years.
You should begin to see patterns between the types of jobs your company is well-suited to produce, and the kinds of companies that have used or currently use your services.
• List the names of the companies or agencies that bought these jobs in one column on a sheet of paper. Then, using either general knowledge or a directory, make columns for each company’s sales volume, number of employees, industry, products, locations, buyers’ titles (if available) and dollar amount previously spent on the print jobs. Then fill in the blanks. More detailed patterns should begin to emerge.
You will begin to identify the characteristics of companies that are most likely to buy your most profitable products and/or services. For example, you may find that a high percentage of the companies are in a particular industry. Note additional characteristics, such as sales ranges of the companies and number of employees.
Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something." He is chairman/CEO at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of info regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 100-plus printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the industry. He specializes in investment banking, M&A, sales, marketing and management services to printers.