If I Trained Sales Reps
Always a buyer, never a seller of print—that’s me. I have a lot of respect for print sales reps, especially these days. At times, selling print services must seem like a Sisyphean task. But I encourage you all to hold the course, be prepared to always champion the print media, and stay in tune with today’s consumers and business customers.
Presumably, print salespeople are trained to hit specific sales targets, and they’re evaluated on and rewarded for their sales growth. Oy, the pressure!
In a pretend world, if I were in charge of guiding or coaching sales reps, here’s some of what I’d stress...
1. Think like a customer. Know what buyers, designers, consumers and marketers are dealing with in 2015. Make it your job to identify what they’re looking for in their print partners.
2. Do your homework. Never do such an ice cold call that you haven’t looked up a prospect on Google and LinkedIn, checked out the company’s Website, and come up with some idea of what products and services a particular company or organization might need.
3. Know customers’ industries. You can’t have too much business knowledge. Keep up with what’s happening in the main industries you serve.
4. Just like printers, customers are all different. Some have decades of experience; some have none. Some are print buyers, full stop. Most buyers today have other responsibilities. Some are graphic designers, while others are marketers. Don’t assume anything about a prospect. Get to know the individual.
5. Shut up and listen. One of the very brightest salesmen I ever worked with in my buying days is named Duncan. He gave me lots of great advice, like this: listen more than you talk. One of the most offensive sales tactics is launching into your pitch and jabbering on without coming up for air. Don’t do it. Show some respect and listen.
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