Selling Wide-Format, on Sale?

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By Debbie Nicholson, Think-to-INK!

NoWe must be the only industry that allows customers to tell us what we can charge.  We have done this to ourselves -- we are so hungry for work that we are willing to take a loss just to keep our equipment purring; however, these decisions can be a death grip.  Ultimately our company depends on profit to stay in business! 

When I hear a customer say, “It’s okay, Debbie – we broke even on this project.”  I bring them back to printer’s reality – you never break-even – there’s always a loss!  Sadly, we can always count on something that went awry during the production process that is unknown to us (i.e., reprints, additional labor, overtime, unprocessed Change Orders) -- you get the picture.

So how do we break that race to the bottom? 

  1. Find out what the customer’s budget is – don’t be afraid to ask
  2. Quickly determine what the customer wants and how you can give them what they need without sacrificing your bottom line.
  3. Continuously highlight the value you bring to the project
  4. Profit signLook for value-engineering solutions -- while retaining your quality and service
  5. Be transparent and honest about the rise in Cost of Goods (COGS) we have endured in the past few years
  6. Educate your customer on the end-to-end process – so it seems far from just simple
  7. Stop letting customers take advantage of you and your company
  8. Time to face the truth:  Not all customers are ideal for your business model
  9. One last comment – ensure sales are not bringing in non-profitable business

Don’t fall into the trap of “believing” you are securing a job because you match a competitor.  Buyers play us back and forth to get the lowest pricing.  Look, I’m not saying all buyers conduct business in that fashion.  Be aware and spend your time doing business with customers who appreciate your customer service, loyalty, honest business practice, on-time deliveries, and quality of work.  That is your proud moment.

In closing:

The demand for wide-format printing remains high!  That’s great news!

What products are you offering that you can improve upon and therefore expand?  Are you taking the time to research the true capabilities of your equipment?  Do you even know what that is?

Having inside Product Developers and Design Thinkers is key to expanding into other markets to broaden reach.  So, don’t be afraid to turn the page



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