Of all the tools that might be in a salesperson’s tool chest, there is one that is often overlooked. Print samples, those venerable objects of interest for those creating print, buying print, and selling print. Even the makers of print hardware have their print sample libraries to show the technical capabilities of their machines at their best. But those technical print samples, as exciting as they might be, are not likely to help sell your capabilities. For that you need something else. You need print samples that tell show your capabilities, both printing and finishing. You need print samples that show the basics, but also samples that push your current and potential customers into high-value print solutions.

Like most parts of the printing business, enabling the sales team with the best print samples takes an assessment and evaluation. It starts with understanding what you want to be selling—and that may be different from what you are selling. Selling business card printing? Posters? Banners? Marketing collateral? Folders? Labels? Regulated communication? Start with what might seem like the obvious—make a list of every type of print you have sold in the last year. Take a close look at the estimate for each job, the actual cost to print the job, and your pricing, which may be contained in your business ERP or other business systems. It is essential to understand what products make money, and which are loss leaders.

From that list, you have some homework. Are you making money on the products that you want to be selling? Are you selling products that are losing you money? Are you missing opportunities to expand your share of your customer’s wallet because you aren’t offering products they want, or could want it you pitched them?

These are big questions, but you need to answer them before you take another step. Come back next time with your evaluation of what you have and what you want, and we’ll take the next step.

If you have sales stories, I would love to hear them. Send them to me at [email protected]