It never ceases to amaze me how some commercial printers seemingly just “don’t want the business.” And while I’m sure they would all argue that this is not the case, unfortunately actions speak louder than words. Not long ago, I issued a request for a quote for a significant amount of business. I gave detailed information, including when I expect to receive the quote. Not one vendor replied. Not one! Are you, as a commercial printer (digital or offset, large or small), print broker, quick printer, mailing and fulfillment house or finishing shop, shaking your head in disbelief too? Hey, we all know about low-hanging fruit. But what about the fruit that has already fallen from the tree and has been left to rot? This, my friends, is exactly what will happen when you do the following:
- Appear desperate for business. This makes people extremely uncomfortable and makes buyers want to avoid you like the plague.
- Don’t return phone calls promptly.
- Don’t respond promptly to valid customer/prospect emails – I mean within at least one business day.
- Make it difficult to find your contact information on your website. This includes phone number, email and address.
- Design a really “cool” business card that nobody can read or understand – either because of the creative, colour, contrast or small font size.
- Implement a voicemail system that’s so cumbersome, people resort to sending you e-mails. Oh wait, they can’t because your direct e-mail address is nowhere to be found on your website!
- Complain, or worse gossip, about one customer to another. It begs the question “what are you saying about me/us?”
- Show up late to meetings without bothering to notify your customer well in advance that you’ve been held up. Or even worse, consistently re-schedule meetings at the last minute.
- Make your clients chase you down, either for answers, quotes or job-status reports.
- And finally, tell clients that they’re wrong – even when they are!
Here’s the bottom line for any commercial printer that wants to remain profitable. We’re all busy. We’re all wearing many, many hats. We’re all expected to do more with less. But let’s not lose sight of the basic principles of selling. Let’s remember that, without customers, we simply wouldn’t have any business. However, if you can afford to run a business without any customers, then the number one, absolutely 100% surefire way to achieve this is…..don’t say “Thank You” for business, referrals, or simply for your customer’s or prospect’s valuable time.