There is a special process involved in selling print products that will be used for marketing purposes. Your job as a print service provider is to help your clients reach their customers, meaning you are selling the ability to sell and marketing the power to market. To convince a company to become your partner, you'll need to prove that your offerings are the quickest path to audience attention and loyalty.

Today, making a positive impression on potential clients may involve a few different elements. One of these will be the specific products and services you offer: Implementing advanced and modern processes, that suit today's marketing styles, is one clear path forward. Another involves sharpening your own marketing skills, thinking about your clients' needs and preferences.

The two elements are naturally intertwined: Whether you're determining what services to offer or the tone you'll use to sell people on their utility, your focus is on buyers' needs. Instead of leading purchasers to services they're not sure about, you should be meeting them on their own territory.

Having the right stuff
The printing business of 2017 is in a different place than the industry of 2000 … or even 2007. Setting up a print contract today means offering services that reflect the way companies want to do business. WhatTheyThink contributor Jennifer Matt made it very clear: this involves software.

The interactions between printer and client should be streamlined and effective, and this is where your shop's software will do its work. Your potential clients will want you to come to them with solutions to whatever issues they're facing. Matt recommended thinking about these problems and deciding what software on your end will help you address them. By using this flexible element as your focal point, you're free to grow, even as print remains your main product and the center of your organization.

Getting a contract today is largely a matter of describing a digital process that can get a client some resolution for its problems. Matt emphasized that when big buyers get into serious discussions about new print contracts, issues involving software can take up nine-tenths of the time and focus. The print products are the item being discussed, but the physical details come last. First, the potential buyer has to be comfortable with the software that will connect provider with purchaser.

Delivering an effective message
The sales meeting being dominated by talk of software solutions is one of the many modern printing industry quirks you should be ready to deal with. The selling process can come down to a few critical moments where you either convince buyers of the value on offer or fall short in your messaging. In addition to shifting to talking about what exactly you're selling, you should be ready to adjust your tone for optimal results.

Printing Impressions columnist Matthew Parker recently gave some helpful advice in this vein, zooming in on what clients are looking for when they enter negotiations with your firm. He specified that buyers can be intimidated by the many specifics that go into establishing a new print contract, and that when you create a simple, guided path from their needs to your solutions, the whole sales process benefits. Parker compared the ideal sales experience to buying Apple technology: There is a lot of focus on getting the consumer to the right option, without dwelling too much on tech specs.

Getting into your customers' heads, understanding the best options for the businesses you deal with and being ready to guide buyers through the process can be a great help. Lessening the confusion and nerves that can come with a big print purchase is an excellent skill to possess, but you likely won't be able to deliver this level of service unless you've done your homework on the industries you serve and the challenges they face.

Making the print connection
Every print sale revolves around a problem and a solution. Your job is to convince buyers that your company has the solution for a particular problem. You can do this through designing a technological infrastructure that will satisfy potential customers, and also by knowing your target industry so well that you are an expert on the right solution for any given problem.