This week, I’m providing a three-part series called Nine surefire sales generators, with ideas that will help you go beyond marketing to create a great selling environment at your printing firm. Today, I will share part two of the series.
#4. An inspired owner with sales skills. Would you like to improve things quickly and breathe new life into your printing firm? Then, shake up your routine, and start making sales calls. I sincerely believe that calling five prospects a day on the telephone and making three daily cold calls will have a very positive effect on your printing firm’s bottom line. Try a simple approach like this: “Hi, my name is Mike. I’m the owner of Express Press. I’d like to be your printer. Could we visit for a few minutes, so I can tell you how I could help your company?” Yikes, that probably sounds terrifying! But try it; it’s not as hard as you think it is. A common denominator of many successful printing firms, especially those in the 5 to 20 employee category, is an owner who is actively involved in the selling process. I have owned my own business for 28 years. During that time, I doubt I’ve received more than five “sales calls” from the owners of another company. Yet, when it’s happened, I have always spoken with them just out of respect for the fact that they’re the owner. I know it is very easy to say “go make some sales calls,” but I know from my own first-hand experience that, although it is something that few of us enjoy, it does work… and it will create sales.
#5. A sophisticated e-commerce website that presents your printing firm in a contemporary manner in your marketplace. I’ve heard a lot of printers grumbling over the last year two about how companies like Vistaprint and PrintingForLess are taking away their customers. But have you looked at the websites of those companies and then compared them to your website? It is absolutely breathtaking how many printers still have old-fashioned, out-of-date websites that look like something from 1998. When you have a crappy website, it’s almost like you’re inviting your customers to use Vistaprint. You don’t need to spend a fortune to develop a great website. Here are two examples of small printers who have fabulous websites: www.SorrentoMesa.com and www.Printgra.com.
Today, printing is more competitive than it has ever been. You have to give yourself a chance to get in the game. You’re not even on the same playing field if you don’t have a great website.
#6. A good location. If Starbucks wouldn’t open a coffee shop within a block of you, you’re probably in the wrong spot. Many printers will say something like: “I can’t afford a better location.” Then they’ll spend tens of thousands of dollars annually to remind customers where they’re located. A good sales and marketing plan can overcome a location disadvantage, but why exert all the extra effort and expense? Isn’t it better to use your marketing budget to promote your products and services instead of describing how to find you? Granted, the digital age has made location less important than it used to be, but location is still very important for locally owned printing firms. In many parts of the country, prime locations and good real estate are readily available and can be purchased using some of the lowest interest rates in many decades. I am not a big advocate of going into debt, but in some cases, a well-thought-out location can be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. In the short-term, it can help you grow sales; and in the long-term, a good property is always a good investment.
That’s it for today. On Friday, we’ll talk about how monthly direct mail, a computer geek, and your company savings account can be good sales generators.