Why You Should Care About Consultative Selling
Over the last several years journalists and experts have advised printing companies they must change to be competitive in a multi-channel communications world. Many print providers have responded by updating hardware, software, and technology. We think the key to successfully generating revenue from those investments, and the way to expand your business, is by adopting a consultative approach to working with your customers. We’ve already helped many clients make that transition.
Consultative selling is different from the method used for decades in the print business, best described as “commodity” or “transactional” selling. In a typical print services sales presentation, the salesperson spends most of their time describing what their company has to offer. The conversation is dominated with details such as printing specifications, papers, finishing capabilities, mail preparation, and volume price breaks.
Today - “Here is what we have – want to buy it?”
In a print focused, commodity-type relationship, the print services discussed are generally available from many providers and the buyer has many vendors to choose from. The most important distinguishing factor is price. Customer loyalty is tenuous at best. If you are selling print in a price based relationship, the value of continuing to do business with your company can be easily diminished or eliminated by lower prices touted by the competition.
Transactional customer relationships are a bit stronger than commodity selling in that a print service provider may have developed a niche or specialization within a certain market or service. Their record of performance and limited competition allows them to charge more, but leaves little room for expanding customer relationships beyond that particular area of expertise. Customers may keep coming back because there are no viable options. Once they find an alternative though, accounts become vulnerable.