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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When Did You Make Your Last Sales Call?

You notice a pattern when you ask successful printers why they are having success in this down economy. Almost every one of them attributes their success to making sales calls. They get out from behind their front counter and go out and see customers on a daily basis.

In most cases, the owner is the sales person and he or she is the one who is visiting their top 25 customers and top prospects. They may have sales people working for them, but they have those sales people doing the same sales activities.

Why are successful printers out selling? It is because they know they will eventually lose some of their top customers so they are always working to replace them. Sure they call on their top customers to keep that business, but the majority of the successful printer’s efforts is in calling on prospects. They are looking for prospects who can become significant customers providing them with at least $1,000 a month in sales.

Some not so successful owners complain they don’t have time to get outside the shop and sell because they are too busy producing the work for customers who walk in the door. Where would time be better served? Producing a $50 copier order or making a sales call on a prospect with $50,000 in printing per year?

CPrint President Todd Nuckols always says that most printers don’t have a sales problem. He says they have a production problem. They haven’t organized to get the work out so they are stuck doing production rather than selling.

The first step in correcting this problem is putting someone in charge of production and getting out and making sales calls. An owner should be spending the majority of his or her day telling customers about the benefits of using them and then asking for the sale.

The industry has changed. If you aren’t out asking for the business you won’t survive. People don’t walk into print shops any more with big accounts. You have to go where the printing is and that is at the customer’s office.

If you are a print owner, you need to stop what you are doing in the shop and turn it over to one of your employees and go make a call on a potential customer. It could be the first step in insuring you have a future in this industry.

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