Print and Promo Professionals On How to Increase Sales
As a sales professional, you know how much hard work and dedication it takes to maintain accounts while constantly searching for more business. It’s a part of the job, and though it can be a deeply personal process, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn new tricks and techniques from others. Everyone has their own style of selling, but there’s always room to improve. If you’re looking for some ideas on how to do so, take a look through our curated selection of responses from successful industry professionals because, like all good things, success is better when shared.
BE A STAR
You can’t be all things to all people, but you can be a star in your target market. Focus on a profitable and growing niche and become an expert in it. Provide value beyond the products you sell. Have a thorough understanding of your clients’ business, their products, their end-users and their marketing needs. Build a relationship with your clients based on mutual trust.
– Rosalie Marcus, The Promo Biz Coach, Jenkintown, Pa.
BUILD A ROUTINE
Put together a plan. I need to see 10 prospects each month in order to add two accounts per month. Find what works, such as cold calls, internet searches and referrals from customers and friends. Become an expert by saying, ‘This product works for this customer, let me show you why.’ Build a routine. For example, make calls to [connect with] existing accounts Monday and Tuesday, and to get new business on Wednesday. Track your time in order to increase productivity (call logs). Sell more to existing accounts (e.g., checks, envelopes, commercial printing, promotional). Build relationships with customers, and never give up!
– Rod Higley, sales manager/partner, Long Business Forms, Wenatchee, Wash.
STRATEGIZE TO OPTIMIZE
My go-to strategy for sales success over my 30 years in print sales can be summed up in three words: Daily productive activity. This activity minimally includes:
Mindset: Be positive, and have great expectations. Believe it, and achieve it.
Skills: Better your skill by being a consistent learner. Make your activities more productive with knowledge.
Discipline: Discipline is a muscle. You can make it stronger by doing the things that make you successful. How? By being positive, learning new skills, [performing] daily prospecting, providing great service and repeating all of these daily.
– Tim Cromwell, president, AF Graphics Inc., Stafford Springs, Conn.
My secret is that I like interesting people. I find owners of companies interesting, and I can identify with them. I ask a lot of questions that I know they have needs for and show results that we have achieved for our other customers. Then, I listen before I suggest anything. Most salespeople do not listen; they just want to sell a single order of product. We sell items other than promo, so I have to take a moment and listen because promo is part of the mix, but not all of it.
– Mark McCormack, owner, Identity Marketing Group, Omaha, Neb.
BE A THOUGHT LEADER
Our job is to make our customers’ work lives easier. Everyone is busy, but if they know they can hand their project off to me, and it will look good, show up on time and not break the bank, they have no reason to make a change. We also show innovative ideas every couple of weeks because you just never know when you’ll get a hit or it might spark a conversation about an idea they keep meaning to work on.
– Shelley McConnell, president, Printpal Promotions & Printing, Arroyo Grande, Calif.
Sales success requires you to establish an excellent trusted relation[ship] with your prospect. Do your probing properly to understand the needs of your prospect. Present your FAB (features, advantages and benefits). Be professional and honest. Remain an excellent listener; it is very important you ask for the closing … remain silent until the prospect answers you. If she answers you by giving you objections this confirms that she (or he) is interested in you and wants to start a partnership with you. Follow up (visit instead of calling or sending an e-mail) on a regular basis. Keep it simple and remain positive.
– Pierre Hébert, president, Hébert Marketing (International) Inc., Montreal, Canada
STRETCH YOUR CREATIVITY
The relationship we create with each and every client has been the key to our success. Our clients are No. 1, period. We put our heart and soul into our work, and our clients know that. The fact that we have the same customers today as when we opened our doors is a testament to our mission. When you move away from being an order taker and focus on cultivating relationships, your business will grow. Meet in person. Pick up the phone. Listen to your clients. What are their needs? What solutions can you provide? Think outside the box.
– Megan Parker, director of operations, Evergreen Print Solutions, Mukilteo, Wash.
Old-school knocking on doors works, but, to differentiate, we are huge on using (you guessed it) promotional products! We use the tools provided by the Proforma marketing team, including having them mail out a great promo item to a very targeted list. We also do our official ‘cold call,’ which includes us dropping off ice cream to prospects; hence, the cold call! We then bring a promotional product, or products, as gifts to every first meeting. In our presentation, we are brutally honest and self-deprecating to allow the prospect to get to know us a bit more intimately.
– Greg Marks, principal, IdentiBrands (Powered By Proforma), Phoenix
Tom Higgins is the associate content editor and official Kid Rock beat reporter for the Promo Marketing Media Group.