Attn: Wide-Format PSPs Are We There Yet?

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By Debbie Nicholson, Think-to-INK!

Sign are we there yetSales reps are intimidated by Wide-Format Printing? Yes, I am going there! 

When my family would go on a road trip, I would continually ask my Dad, “are we there yet?”  His answer was always the same “you’ll know when we get there!”  But, how will I know when we get there, Dad?  He would say, “because we went far enough!”

So, my question for Wide-Format Printers -- have you gone far enough?

Consider this…the entrance ramp to Wide-Format Printing has enabled companies to offer a more profound and broader portfolio with four walls of capabilities.  Customers want and need us to lighten their load by combining all marketing and branding products; offset, small format inkjet, packaging, wide-format, grand format, and recently digital media.  I didn’t even mention fulfillment and storage…oops!

Did you know you have a much higher success rate with retaining customers and obtaining new customers if you offer a broader portfolio?

Proven fact -- customers expect a one-stop-shop, okay, I said it!

Buyers today could care less about your equipment…all they care about is that you can handle any project that comes across their desk.  They want it done right, on time, at a competitive price!

I need to address an unacceptable pattern I observe in many printing companies.  Sales reps are only selling one-way -- meaning, if they sell offset, they don’t want to sell wide-format, nor do they want any part of it.

Is the solution to assign two sales reps on the same account?  I don’t think so!

Could it be that sales reps are intimidated by Wide-Format Printing?  The answer is Yes!  I surveyed several sales reps, and they freely shared their honest feelings with me.  (a few bullet points)

Addressing the Issue!

Selling Wide-Format is intimidating because…

  • I don’t understand it, and it seems complicated and scary
  • I am afraid of looking like a fool in front of the customer if I don’t know the answers
  • Customers will lose confidence in me because I am mostly experienced in offset
  • I have no understanding of our equipment capabilities or the products we can produce
  • I need to ask too many questions, and production gets aggravated with me
  • My customers know more about Wide-Format than I do, which is not very pleasant
  • No one has time to train or help me learn how to sell Wide-Format Printing

Fixing the Issue!

Selling Wide-Format demands…

  • An understanding of the “value” we provide our customers – re: capabilities
  • A deep dive into proper applications (what works, what doesn’t)
  • Education and training regarding substrate options (flexible, rigid, textiles)
  • Listening to customer(s) needs; ability to “understand” and communicate effectively
  • Defined and calendared Continual Learning classes (demonstrations and hands-on learning)
  • Learning Discovery Questions for customer projects


In closing!

Have we gone far enough, or are we still asking, “are we there yet?”

Note to Sales Reps:  Be an Order Maker, not an Order Taker!



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