There are three questions to ask new customers that will DRASTICALLY improve your print sales. You must learn to ask “How, what and why” in your sales conversations.

HOW:

Let’s start with the first one, the door opener. If we’re feeling shy about this process, it’s certainly not prying to ask:

“HOW did you find me (or find out about me)?”

This is VITAL information for a printing company, especially if the lead comes from an online source.

Recently, in a phone conversation with a printer, I forgot to ask how he learned about me. Later, when I asked, I realized I had made incorrect assumptions. He found me through a Google search. I thought he had found me through an association referral. If I hadn’t asked, I would have put more effort into into a channel that did not, in fact, produce this lead.

WHAT:

Once we know HOW they found us, we need to know WHAT our prospects were searching for when they set out on their journey. Sometimes the journey is not a straight line, which is why we need to ask:

“WHAT were you originally looking for?”

I see printing businesses spend so much money building elaborate sales campaigns and lead capture programs based on (there’s that word again) ASSUMPTIONS. Even if these businesses have a good idea of where their online traffic or word-of-mouth referrals are coming from, they need to dig deeper to find out the pain points (and thus the keywords and phrases) that started the search.

The printer who had searched for me online was not searching for the terms I normally use to market myself. He printer had done a Google query for a different marketing service, and my name came up.

When he told me the phrase he was searching, my mind was blown. It turns out I do rank on Google for a search phrase I was not aware of. Knowing this, I will be able to organically work that phrase into my sales and marketing materials as well as social media. That’s when SEO for printers really works, when you can market yourself using content that prospects are actually searching.

So knowing WHAT he was searching for was a key piece of the puzzle. Next is the “why” that gives you the sales information. 

WHY:

The next question helps you refine your sales and marketing process. You must understand why the customer chose you out of all the other options out there. Therefore, we must get additional insight by asking:

“WHY did you choose me?” 

You see, the “WHY” is what helps you craft the appropriate sales offer.

You’ve heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” That means that, even if your sales, marketing and SEO programs are getting print customers to your door, you still need to close the sale.

In the marketing automation and online sales world, “closing the sale” is called “conversion.” You convert the prospect to a paid customer. To effectively close or convert, we need that key piece: Why was I the right fit? 

If you’re still not clear, ask: “I’m curious. Out of all the other choices out there, why did you end up picking me?”

When we ask HOW, WHAT and WHY, we also tend to have a nice conversation that reveals:

  • What has changed in their life or business.
  • What’s missing.
  • What is coming on the horizon.
  • What are they afraid of.
  • What are they excited about.

If you don’t ask and you rely on assumptions, two things happen:

  1. You miss valuable buying cues that help you move the sale along.
  2. You miss crucial data and insight about your own marketing process and where you should be putting your money and effort.

Asking prospects HOW, WHAT and WHY are the most affordable and effective steps in your sales and marketing program. They’re more useful than assumptions you make based on SEO reports, clicks and traffic sources.

Real answers from real people are what you want.

If you’ve been making assumptions about how customers find you, what they’re searching for, and why they you’re their first choice, then you need to establish a better HABIT of asking questions. Incorporate “the ask” into your sales training process. Put sticky notes on your phone and computer. Asking should become second nature.

Your printing company WILL see an improvement in your sales and marketing efforts if you know how your customers found you, what they were searching for, and why they specifically chose you. 

“Don’t assume. ASK!”

See more from Sandy


Sandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for printing companies. She builds sales and marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul, with affordable tools and your own people…and without stress! Find @sandyhubbard on Twitter each Wednesday at 4 PM ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr  with a lively online discussion for printers and those who love print.

 

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