Step up to High-Altitude Selling
Every task begins with a first step but, in sales, there are six more steps that must be taken to leave crowds of competitors in the dust. Inadequate salespeople often try to jump over the steps or don’t even take the first one. As a result, printing jobs go unsold—not for lack of demand, but for lack of effort.
Be forewarned, the steps are steep. But, at these higher elevations, sales soar and profits proliferate. Are you ready to climb? Let’s do it.
1. Pick a market category and find out what is needed. For example, consider travel, an industry of $758B with more than $7B in print buys. (It should be more!) The two urgencies are increased business and consumer bookings, and fewer cancellations in this down economy.
2. Provide a program solution that is print-intensive. Call it by a clever name, such as, “Book-Keeping.” Your solution may be personalized, multichannel follow-ups and reinforcements; a combination of e-mailed PDFs, digitally imprinted color postcards, a travel rewards mail-out brochure and coupons; or a welcome package.
3. Obtain a database of prospects. Preferably, find one with rankings, or independently locate a listing in a business magazine or through the appropriate trade association. It may make sense to join the association, providing useful credibility for later presentations.
4. Test the concept by offering it on that basis. Forget cost-plus, upfront pricing and, instead, commence the program as a co-op, 50-50—their seed money and your printing plus a gain-share split of the retention savings. RI Communications, New York, uses this method with “destination” clients by collecting an upfront co-development fee and a back-end royalty/commission combination. In economics, we call this opportunity-cost pricing.
5. Protect the program as a trade secret or by copyright and trademark. It’s astonishing most printers don’t know the essentials of intellectual-property protection, or even how to label communications and process copyright, trademark and patent applications.