Selling Solutions Instead of Selling Print
Printing has become a commodity product in many ways. It’s easy to find a printer who will sell on price only, and online options mean that geography is no longer a restricting factor for purchasing just about anything. Someone looking for print can order at all hours from companies with which they have never interacted. In fact, they may not even know where the printer is located.
Some printers have found the success formula for selling commodity printing, but, for many, selling in this environment is a long and tortured slide to the bottom. A better way to sell is to shift focus from selling products to selling solutions that help clients solve their problems or realize new opportunities.
It starts with a mindset. Don’t focus on the speeds and feeds and other features of your awesome equipment but look at selling products and services from the clients’ point of view. Get to know clients and think critically about them. Research their businesses, the industries they serve, the competitive challenges they face, the pain points they deal with, their goals, and the opportunities they see. Are they having issues moving into a new segment of the market, for example?
Ask questions and truly listen to what a client has to say. Go in with a well-thought-out set of questions, but don’t let that limit you. Let the conversation flow, take the lead from what a client says, and probe thoughtfully for more information. Try to determine the root cause of a problem and listen for the client’s goals. Are they introducing a new service and are experiencing growing pains? You may be surprised by what people say when someone listens to them.
Then suggest strategic solutions that deliver value to solve problems or foster growth. Be prepared to show clients in quantifiable ways the ROI they can expect on their investment in terms of time savings, competitive differentiation, how long before they see results, and the operational impact on their business. What you recommend may be more print, but it may also be smarter print in shorter quantities, or other cross platform services your company offers.
Benefits of Solution Selling
Pivoting to a solution selling mindset takes time and you have to be in it for the long run, but the benefits can be impressive.
You’ll be able to move the conversation away from pure pricing to actually talking about how you create value for clients. Customers will no longer perceive your services as a commodity.
You’ll become a trusted advisor to your clients; someone they can turn to for support when issues come up and they need help, not a rep who disappears after the sale is completed.
With trust, you’ll also gain access to more decision makers in the client’s operation and be involved sooner in potential projects where you may be able to guide the decision making.
Being known as a company that consistently delivers strategic value is a huge differentiator that casts you in a positive light in a printing market that is often saturated and highly competitive.
All of these adjustments in sales methods offer an incredible opportunity to make more money by cross-selling or upselling clients and creating recurring revenue streams. You’ll also be able to more confidently future proof your business because you’ll secure customer loyalty. The elevated service you provide will make it more difficult for any client to be stolen away by the lure of lower pricing.
It’s an old maxim, but it’s true. When you create value for your clients, you create value for yourself.