What Makes You So Special – And Do Your Customers Know?
Print reps are the faces of their printing companies. If we customers like you, and feel we can trust you, and believe that you can bring something positive to the work we give you, that’s tremendous value to your employer.
Feeling this connection with a salesperson when we’re in it for a long term is mandatory. There are just too many of you out there for us to settle with a rep we don’t feel a strong rapport with.
But aside from selling your company’s services, it’s smart to let your customers know the full range of what you—the person—bring to the relationship. This isn’t about your history with the company or length of time in the field, nor am I talking about your promise to take care of each customer with TLC.
Don’t get me wrong: these qualities and level of service are important, but sales reps should also be assertive in marketing themselves to their customers and prospects, especially when it comes to related skills.
Years ago when I bought printing, I met a saleswoman. Come to find out, she had a ton of experience in the paper industry before she got into selling commercial printing. I was seriously impressed. She was as knowledgeable about paper as she was about printing. That’s an incredible added value. I don’t know if she works this into conversations with new customers and prospects, but it’s advice I gave her back then. It’s also information I’d find a way to mention on the Website, in a bio.
Similarly, if I sold print and had a degree in graphic design, or even had experience as a designer, I’d make sure my customers and prospects knew. The same logic applies to other related specialties—if you’ve got them, flaunt them.
If we were playing our own version of the “$25,000 Pyramid,” this is a category I’d call Sales Rep Strengths that Would Impress Print Customers:
- Extreme knowledge of typography
- Wizardry at Adobe programs like InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop
- Photographic knowledge of all USPS rules and regulations
- You’re an avid photographer and have been for decades
- You’re a social media junkie
- You write your own blog. (That would impress me.)
- You have experience developing Websites
See where I’m going with this? These are specialties related to your SME (Subject Matter Expertise) of printing, but they’re not always obvious.
It’s important to make people aware of such competencies, even if they’re just personal passions of yours. You’ll be seen as a more valuable resource—someone who’s more dimensional and who can help customers in several ways going forward.
You can find ways to make your skills known without showboating. Don’t hide such light under a bushel, where it does you no Earthly good.
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