Five Sales Steps to Create More Value

How printing salespeople get ahead by adding value.

Printing salespeople, who try to win deals by consistently quoting lower prices, face the shortest path to low sales and ultimate failure. In a tough world, where there are always alternatives to print-based communications, producing high quality print at low prices is not enough. Great printing salespeople create value for their customers.

Value Defined

If there is a choice between value and price, value always wins. Attempting to generate print-based communication, which is both cost-efficient and effective, is daunting for many customers. Printing salespeople who can help are rewarded by gaining and keeping customers.
Value is defined by the customersÕ perception of what they get versus what they pay for it. Value is always deter.mined by the customer and not by the printing salesperson. The higher the val.ue the more they are willing to pay. The interesting phenomenon is that not only will customers pay more, but they will be much more loyal as well. The printing salesperson who can help build print-based solutions that deliver the desired results creates value.

Five Steps to Create More Value

Our research within the printing indus.try shows that top salespeople create value. This skill separates them from average performers who tend to focus on pushing price quotes. Here are some essential steps to create more value for customers:

1. Make Your Customer a Star

Since customers determine what value is, it is vital for salespeople to know what makes the people they are working with successful. This is best done by well thought out questions and dem.onstrating good interpersonal skills. If the salesperson does not know the purpose of the project and what will make the buyer successful, then they should not go any further in the sales process until they do. The best way to get a customer for life is to make them personally successful. Get them a raise, get them recognized by their management, or get them promoted by delivering a successful project.

2.Co-Create the Solution

In our consulting practice, we see countless print customers who have the responsibility, but have limited knowledge of printing products and services. More than ever, there are opportunities to work directly with customers to co-create print solutions. Those salespeople who help to define the print project and influence how it is created build long term relationships with grateful customers. The result is the printing salesperson becomes an indispensable part of his customer's work process and marketing team.

3. Communicate up and across the Customer Organization

Do not assume that customers com.municate well internally within their own organizations. We find that that the opposite is true. Imagine a salesperson sharing the success of a cross-media campaign that her printing company created with key members of the advertising, marketing, product planning, and financial depart.ments within a customerÕs establishment. Blow your own horn. You will find that many employees are not familiar with what you have done. The result will be plenty of additional opportunities to add more value.

4. Reduce Uncertainty & Doubt

In this economic environment, customers tend to be risk averse. Often, they are afraid to launch new initiatives and are hesitant to replace old programs and vendors. By sharing past successes and proposing low risk pilots, printing salespeople can reduce the fear factor for their customers. A great selling strategy is using references, testimonials, and case studies to comfort the fearful customer. Also, by reducing fear, uncertainty, and doubt, salespeople can offset the reluctance to replace entrenched competitors.

5. Create Value Propositions

Sharing with a customer why and how you can offer better solutions is time well spent. For instance, if a sales.person can share successes on how he helped a company in the same industry increase sales or generate more profit, that will certainly get the attention of buyers. The idea is that the more unique the product or service that is tailored to a customerÕs specific business problem, the better the chance for a sale. This is a theory that has been tested and proven.

Great Selling Creates Value

No matter what the solution, most buyers are often clueless about what is a fair price for a great print job. The answer will have serious consequences to the profit level of the work and whether a salesperson closes the sale. It is the job of the salesperson to ensure that value is created and defined. The bottom line is that great salespeople, through knowl.edge, confidence, and selling skills, can get ahead by adding value.

Joe Rickard is a training leader and con.sultant who works with printing and tech.nology companies to improve their sales and operational effectiveness. He is the founder of Intellective Solutions, a provider of customized sales, operational, and sales management training material and services. Contact him at 845-753-6156, jrickard@ or visit www.MyPRINTRe.