You Think You Know Your Client, Huh?
Just like selling itself, the definition of "client relationship" has changed. In the old days, if you knew their birthday and could pick them out of a police line up, you were ahead of the game. These days, you need to do more than just magically make ink and toner stick to paper for a competitive price if you want to stick around for the reorder. You must obtain three levels of knowledge:
Level One: The Industry—In order to truly lead a client and not just quote jobs, you must know where they are headed and help them to get there. By researching an entire industry, you gain valuable information that might just help you to secure the coveted "name your price" order. That’s where you come up with an amazing idea that is so profound and unique, the client buys it without asking for the cost. That happens when you understand their challenges and help them with their future goals. Best source: Trade Association or their website.
Level Two: The Company—Selling print at profitable levels requires an understanding of a client’s business needs, not just their print needs. This is accomplished when you put some time and effort into figuring out how your print solutions solve their business challenges—it’s those challenges that are the goal of your investigation. Best source: Company Website.
Level Three: The Person—For better or for worse, there is more information publicly available on each one of us than ever before. In this instance, that’s a good thing! This means you can get to know your key contacts on a personal level and connect with them on a human level. Best source: LinkedIn.
Hey, you want to just "sell print," then by all means, stay in your little cubicle and accept dwindling reorders. But if you want to sell at a higher level and higher margins AND be around five years from now, learn the three basic levels of knowledge.
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Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com 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 BillFarquharson.com.