By John Giles
Margie Gallo Dana's recent Ondemandjournal.com article "Professor Printer" posed the question: "Where does a print buyer learn about printing?" Founder of Print Buyers International, Dana points to the printing sales person as the primary source of information for a print buyer and that the information they provide can give a printer a competitive advantage.
The problem is, too many print sales people are tongue-tied when it comes to explaining all their company has to offer.
To the print buyer, most printers look the same. They have the same basic equipment and services that put ink or toner on paper. Most use the same technology. Too many printers assume that customers (including print buyers) understand printing and the technology. It is up to the print sales person to show the customer the benefits of technology and how to use them.
It is up to the print sales person to show the customer the benefits of technology and how to use them.
One example is a web site. Many printers have a web site, yet customers don't take advantage of the features and benefits of the site because they don't know how. Most printers can create special places on the web site where customers can easily reorder work. Customers don't use the service because the printer hasn't told the customer about the service or showed him how to use it.
The same goes for automatic PDF creation programs and submitting digital files correctly. Printers have tools and procedures that will make order entry easier, but they fail to tell the customer how to use them. Printers invest money in solutions, but then fail to discuss the solutions with the customers. Then they wonder why customers don't use the tools and why sales aren't growing.
Customer training has to be part of a print sales person's everyday task. They just can't talk about the benefits; they have to be able to demonstrate them. Once they show a customer how to do something, they should have the customer demonstrate to them that they understand. Don't just show the customer how to use the automatic PDF creation program. Have the customer actually use the special driver and send a file. Don't view a customer portal on the web site. Have the customer place an order to show how easy it is and how the process works.
Customer training has to be part of a print sales person's everyday task.
Printers have to stop assuming that customers understand and know how the new technology works. The industry has learned that just because a customer can create a document on a computer it doesn't mean the file will print properly. The customer has to be given directions on how to construct the file correctly.
Customers want the print buying experience to be easy. They want information. They want to learn the best ways to order printing that will get them their job on time and within their budget. The only way they can get that information is from a printing sales person. Lets just hope they get it from one of your sales people and not the competition. A little customer knowledge can be dangerous. A lot of customer knowledge can mean more sales and bigger profits.