Selling Print Shop Services: New Mindsets, New Relationships

The way you sell to your print shop customers is changing, and the focus on relationship-building needs to be a focus for your entire organization.

Selling Print Shop Services

As we’ve chronicled over the last few weeks, print shops are at a crossroads. On one hand, it has never been easier or more cost-effective to execute a number of different sized jobs, and to offer both smart marketing and customization options that make your store invaluable. On the other hand, you still have to sell those services to an increasingly digitally-focused public, and that’s not always easy.

The crux of the issue is that despite access to tools that make almost every aspect of a print shop’s business easier, it is still incredibly difficult to get your entire team to adopt. You may find that sales and marketing are slow to embrace training, reluctant to prospect, and that your prices aren’t low enough to close a sale on their own.

What are you to do, you ask?

Embracing a New Mindset

Welcoming new technology is often sold as a difficult process, but aside from the price tag and the learning curve, making room for inkjet or automation isn’t difficult because the benefits are so obvious. Changing a mindset honed over a lifetime in business is much more difficult.

One of the crucial things to know in 2016 and 2017, according to InfoTrends, is that the traditional sales process is no longer as successful as it once was. Customers are reluctant to pay more for a difference in the level of service, meaning you have to create a value proposition that is less about the nebulous edge you have over your competitor and more about the tactics and great ideas you can offer in conjunction with new technology.

Ultimately, that means your representatives can’t just sell on a bullet list of product features. They need to be versed in the prospect’s or customer’s business, offer potential solutions to major challenges, and proactively bring new ideas to them, even if they don’t directly help sell the product.

Forge a Relationship

Valuing a relationship over the sale—even if you don’t yet have that relationship—is what’s critical for print shops in the here and now, as Kate Dunn of InfoTrends argued at GRAPH EXPO. We see it in today’s marketing and sales efforts regardless of industry, as we’ve moved to models that favor crafting relationships over closing sales. That’s a positive development for customers, of course, because it means their needs and desires are being taken into account, and they have a business partner they can trust.

It is also going to be a positive relationship for your print shop. In this increasingly connected world, it’s incredibly easy for your rival shops to reach your customers with offers, and it’s very difficult to differentiate yourself meaningfully when you’re prospecting. A personal connection and a very real sense that you care about those who come to you with their business needs may be the only major differentiator you have, and it’s an impactful one.

Ultimately, you need to get your print shop sales and marketing teams on board not just with technology, but with a new way of doing business. Your customers will thank you with their loyalty and their dollars.

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