The print buying climate is changing…. 

Evidence shows us that the print buying process is going through a new evolution. 

The good old days of having dedicated print buyers are long gone and we have to face facts that we won’t see their likes again.  We all hark back to those days with fond memories of strong loyalty and solid working relationships.  This was often without the painful process of even quoting, let alone having to cut cost to win work.  Well that was then, this is now. Printers must evolve and become sustainable businesses and survive the meteor strike that is the internet. We can no longer bury our heads in the proverbial sand. Printers have to look to adapt and evolve their business strategy to go alongside this inevitable change.   

The printing industry was having a tough time going through this natural change anyway. The last thing it needed was something like a global pandemic to erupt across the globe. Imagine that?  This has accelerated the buying habits to move more online within so many sectors, with the work forces working more remotely, and all with positive results, at least for the foreseeable future. 

So, what do we need to do???  

In basic terms they need to grab a piece of pie but use very different tools that most have not used in the past.  In our experience most print companies see the change happening and have a desire to move with it but don’t quite know how to go about starting the process.  We believe this is often down to some common factors. The main one is of course time.  We are all so busy trying to pay the bills and focus all resources on getting work through and don’t have the time to sit back, put our head up and look ahead. The old fighting with swords when someone has invented a machine gun analogy has always stuck with me. 

Looking at all the evidence printers need to have more of an effective online presence with a great user experience and a simple and easy route to buy their products and services. Do people want to wait 24-48 hours for an estimate?  Printers need to look at their markets in more detail, understand how and why their customers use them.  In my experience there is so much knowledge and talent in the industry, it always seems such a shame to give that away for low margins.   Having a better web interface will drive more profitability, help with automation and improve your overall offering.  There is a need to align the selling process with the buying habits of today.   

By no means are we predicting the death of the print sales people here. The modern print sales person needs to be free from handling small orders and concentrate on the more complex campaigns and products, where they can add more value.  They need to take on a more consultative approach, upselling the companies products and services. It’s still very much a people business, let’s not forget that. Our suggestion is that this approach must be complimented by a service the client gets benefit from. 

Another analogy that always resonates with me is  ‘Stop selling the drill and start selling the solution the drill provides.’

 

Richard Downham Consultant
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