Today, becoming a company's print service provider means truly impressing a potential client. The universal need for physical documents has undoubtedly taken a hit in the digital-first age, and it's time to find other ways to present your products and services as helpful and necessary parts of a marketing or communications effort. Fortunately, there are still plenty of approaches you can take, provided you are ready to embrace the present day and run your print business with a healthy level of digital integration.
An intelligent, modern and agile printing business is nothing like the massive companies of old, which were limited by their traditional presses in how quickly or affordably they could turn orders around. You likely aren't hampered by those restrictions, as the printing industry's widespread acceptance of digital printers has probably affected your organization. That means it's time to fully embrace your capabilities and sell companies on your ability to be there for them exactly when they need your products, with just the right offerings for the situation.
Newfound efficiency is a compelling sales point
There are plenty of new ways to sell paper document services that will help convince potential buyers. Even marketing departments doubtful about the efficacy of traditional press-created paper products may respond well when faced with the data-driven, high-speed capabilities of a modern service provider.
WhatTheyThink columnist Barb Pellow recently explained there is still a market for physical marketing materials, and that this is the kind of space where you could make an impact with well-timed and effective offerings. She noted that your focus should be on the supply chain. Marketers today deal with complex systems that may be slow or costly. If you give them an alternative, your services could begin to look like a true lifeline, a way to improve the marketing mix without losing money.
Companies have been expanding their marketing channels for years now, taking on new methods to reach customers in new and exciting ways. Of course, the quest to become more compelling has sometimes coincided with spiraling costs. Pellow pointed out that if you leverage your modern tech offerings, such as online order capability and high-speed, low-overhead digital printing, you can cut through this tangled web of suppliers, storage and shipments. Marketers who recognize your company can give them exactly the products they need on demand may see a way to streamline their operations immensely.
This appeal could change the whole way you brand your print products. Pellow noted that instead of selling your services as web-to-print offerings, you can specify that they are supply chain solutions. You are helping marketers reach their customers as directly as possible, ensuring there is little waste of time or money within the organizations you partner with. When the dollars come off of their budgets, these businesses will realize how helpful a good print service provider can be – meaning you should focus on leading up to this moment when pitching to them.
One potential hitch in plans to promote your services as a marketing revelation can occur if the companies you reach out to don't see their supply chains as problem areas. This shouldn't happen in many cases, as Pellow noted it's quite clear that numerous organizations are having trouble with their efforts to control cost sprawl as their budgets shrink. If they don't yet see the situation and what you can provide, that's your job – sell them on the concept of print products that suit their needs and arrive just when they're needed, in quantities that won't break the bank.
Know your value
The above suggestions on how to sell the value of print products are especially relevant in light of the fact that selling products is largely a matter of establishing trust between your company and a potential buyer. If you can confidently articulate value, the sale will rise. And if not? Printing Impressions columnist Mary Ann McLaughlin recently tackled this topic, offering a warning that being unable to present your services effectively is a surefire way to waste money.
The author explained that selling relies on your ability to determine where your partners' potential clients are in the buying process, then describe products in a way that will close the transaction. She stated that sales personnel should familiarize themselves with what they are representing and how it can improve the situation of organizations with varied needs. This means studying the possible problems and situations that occur frequently among your target audience and cooking up likely solutions for them.
Your competitors are also worth studying. Being the best choice among all print providers in your region or market segment means offering some kind of value your rivals don't. Whether that's a unique product, faster service or more in-depth knowledge and communication, you must have an advantage to form a compelling presentation on your company's merits. Once you're clear on the situation, it's time to get those contracts.