Welcome to my blogging duel with TEAM UK’s Matthew Parker. If you have been following along you can skip right to the post… and if you are just joining us, here is some background…

Matthew and I haven’t always seen eye to eye when it comes to Print Buying. He comes from the UK procurement world, and I come from the USA agency world. We used to argue about process, but over the years it has turned into a mutual respect. However, that doesn’t mean we now agree, or see things the same way! As a matter of fact, most of the time we don’t. So we decided to turn that into Print Buying: #UKvUSA and share information about our experiences from both sides of the pond!

At the end of my post is a link to Matthew’s post on the same subject. We don’t know each other’s response before writing our own. Maybe we will agree, maybe we wont, maybe we don’t even see the question in the same way – who knows… that’s the fun part! We have also set a 500 words or less format to keep things moving along.

Please do leave comments and if you happen to support one side over the other let us know on either blog! I am proudly representing TEAM USA, and we are using #UKvUSA on Twitter. LET THE DUEL COMMENCE!
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#UKvUSA: What Printshop Investments Attract New Customers?

I am going to skip over the usual suspects here – equipment, technology, communication tools, Scodix (sorry, I can’t control myself) and go straight to what I think is the most important investment any company makes – their employees.

Let’s talk in reality. Perception is reality. And my perception might be different than yours, and that is fine, as long as you acknowledge my perception is my reality if you are trying to sell to me. That includes matching the correct salesperson to the correct account, and even within an account, the correct salesperson to the correct buyer if there is more than one.

Over the years I have had too many salespeople call on me that might have been fantastic, but they just didn’t fit in with the “agency” culture. That is a polite way of saying they were old… well older than someone you would automatically expect is up on the latest technologies. On the flip side, someone too young isn’t trusted to know anything, let alone be entrusted to the national brand account you are working on. Unless you have a sales force comprised of only 30/40 something’s, you might just be leaving business on the table.

dream-teamMy thought here is to invest in creating a team that represents all three groups, and use them for prospecting. Potential clients can see all levels of experience and knowledge are represented, and when it comes time to servicing the account, the best option for the client can take lead. Send the “Jr” to the agencies, send the senior manager to the more corporatey clients, send the mid-level to all as needed, but primarily have them generate new sales calls since they can speak to, and fit in, with everyone. The team shares in all account work and commissions in a manner that reflects their value and experience, and succeeds or fails together.

Since I invoked the reality word, let me get back to that. If you cannot create this dream team, printshop owners should evaluate if the correct salespeople are calling upon the correct customers – regardless of anything else. People get set in their ways, they make decisions on what to sell or not to sell based on comfort and not rocking the boat. But there just may be more work you could be doing for a client if a fresh face, of any age, got in front of them.

Invest some thought into this. Invest some time learning why prospects don’t become customers. Invest a few bucks on a few lunches and meet with your key customers to find out what they think about their reps, your service, and how your company could do more for them. Understand their reality, and invest in making it yours too.

Have you had the “wrong” salesperson call on you? Why were they wrong, and what was the outcome?

****See Matthew Parker’s response here: http://profitableprintrelationships.com/ukvusa-what-printshop-investments-attract-new-customers****

Next Month’s Duel: How can you connect with print buyers on social media?

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