Thursday, April 22, 2010

Quit complaining and sell something

Does anyone have anything positive to say about the quick printing industry? Many of the quick printers I talk to have a negative attitude about quick printing industry. They lament the changes and talk about how their customer base is shrinking. They point fingers at competitors such as Staples and Office Max or FedEx and the UPS stores and say those businesses are taking their customers with cheap copies. They complain about lazy employees who won’t do anything or equipment suppliers who keep the costs high. Everyone is out to get them.

I can’t agree. Most of these complainers are business owners who are in charge of their own destinies. They just fail to do the basic business functions any business needs to do to survive. They don’t maintain adequate financial records to know how they are doing. They don’t make sales calls. They think making a delivery of a completed job and asking if there is any other printing is a sales activity. They don’t train their employees. They don’t take advantage of the technology they have.

You can still make money in quick printing and there are printers doing just that. Those printers get out and talk to customers and prospects. They use the technology they have available. They make it easier for customers to buy printing. The successful printers are proactive and get in front of customers with ideas and solutions that can be provided by a printed piece.

If you are a quick printer, I have one question: how many sales calls have you made this week? If you aren’t out asking for new business then you will probably be one of those people who is complaining about the printing industry. If you are talking to customers and learning what they need, you are going to have a better attitude because you will find out there are businesses buying printing. You just have to ask for make a sales call and ask for their business.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Print Industry Still Here

Quick Printing Editor Bob Hall recent comments about offset being at the crossroads are correct. Printing is changing and the equipment used to produce the equipment is changing. But just because the amount of offset sales dropped doesn’t mean the end for the printing industry.

Many quick printers build their business on providing convenience printing for the printed material needed to run a business. The desktop computing revolution has eliminated that work. No longer does a business stop by to get copies. Almost anyone who owns a computer has a printer attached that can take care of those needs.

There is still money to be made in printing serving the small business customer. The printing shift is from functional forms to sales material. Printing is still the most powerful and cost effective way for small businesses to reach customers. With the new technology, especially in color, printers can produce high quality work that can be used to help a business sell something to someone.

I’m not talking about developing a marketing and advertising program for a business. I’m talking about reproducing the basic sales material customers need to sell their products and services. It doesn’t require a marketing degree or advertising savvy. All it requires is a printer talking to a customer and letting the customer know what a printer can do to help his business.

The printers who are going to success and grow their businesses are the ones who actually get out and talk to customers about printing and stop waiting for customers to call them because they mailed out a postcard a couple of months ago.