Do prospective customers run the other way when your salespeople show up? Even when these companies need your top-notch professional printing capabilities to achieve their goals? Even when you could solve their biggest problem at a reasonable cost—yesterday?
The fastest way to put the brakes on runaway customers is not to ask for their business but instead ask this one key question:
How can I help?
Sure, you can help by selling your award-winning large-format print experience, or your lightning-fast turn-around times, or your vast array of FULLY STOCKED substrates to companies that would benefit. But you have to think outside the "We have what you need" box if you want loyal, long-term customers, a steady stream of referrals, and an unbeatable reputation that precedes you.
Intuitively, we want to fix other people's problems. Say your friend is burnt out driving three kids to different schools every morning. You might present a bus schedule as the most obvious and efficient solution. But if you asked your friend about their situation and listened carefully to their story, together you would find a much more nuanced solution tailored to their family.
Business owners and managers are no different. They are all facing unique problems and pain points that need solutions. The obvious and efficient approach might send them straight to another resource offering a more tailored and personalized solution. Here are four ways to help instead of sell (that will lead to sales!)
Be A resource, not THE resource.
After you have listened to your prospect's problems, point them to the best solution available. In many cases, that will be something you offer. But sometimes, it may be a specialty offered by one of your PIM colleagues.
Are you the best large format printer in your area, but this prospect needs ongoing print-and-mail projects? Do they need a project in 3 days, but your turn-around is one week? Refer them to a trusted colleague in the business. Your prospect now knows you'll provide the best solution available even if you can't offer it. They won't forget that. Stay in touch, and they will return when they have a problem you can solve. Bonus: Your colleagues will soon return the referral favor.
Become known for ONE thing.
The best commercial printers do it all—from signage to apparel to direct mail to packaging. But the best-known companies are famous for one thing. For example, Nike sells bags, socks, general apparel, sports balls, eyewear, timepieces, digital devices, bats, gloves, and protective equipment. But when you think of Nike, you think of shoes.
Consider developing and marketing your specialty. If you stand out for one thing, customers who want that will come to you. You can help them better and faster because they are already interested in what you do best. You earn their trust, build the relationship, and can grow to include other services.
Tell—don't sell—your story.
As marketers, we see a lot of companies that don't know how to leverage their unique and interesting stories. At most, you'll find the company's history or some bios on a website. But a dynamic and growing company in the 21st century has 1,000 stories to tell and 100 ways to tell them. Here are some stories you can tell:
● How you helped your last client (and the 30 before that).
● The cool things your latest technology can do.
● How an unusual piece is printed.
● How you helped develop a complex campaign.
● Where your work is displayed.
● How you give back to the community.
● How you live your values as a company.
● In what ways do you make the print process sustainable.
● Who is behind the presses, the desks, and the telephones.
Here are some ways to tell your stories:
● Short videos on your website and social media.
● A digital portfolio of pictures and examples of recent work.
● Brochures and printed pieces about your work that also serve as samples.
● A clean yet dynamic website that includes an updated blog.
● Offering your take on issues of the day at conferences.
● Posting your solutions to typical customer problems on LinkedIn.
● Posting on visual social media like Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok.
● Outstanding trade show materials.
● Speaking engagements.
● Community outreach.
When you tell your stories consistently and in exciting ways, you'll receive unexpected attention from customers you didn't know existed. And they'll already know you can help them successfully tell their stories because your stories drew them to you.
Bubble & Hatch helps commercial printers and print media companies tell stories that result in sales success. Give us a shout today to get started.