Hey Wide-Format PSPs, Are We There Yet?

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By Debbie Nicholson, Think-to-INK! 

Yes, I am going there!   

Are we there yetWhen my family went on a road trip, I continually asked 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 in retaining and onboarding new customers if you offer a broader portfolio? 

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

Buyers 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 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 to 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) 

comfort zoneAddressing the Issue! 

Selling Wide-Format is intimidating because… 

  • I don’t understand W-F; it’s complicated and scary. 

  • Since I am mostly experienced in offset, my customers will lose confidence in me. 

  • I do not understand our equipment capabilities or the products we can produce. 

  • I ask too many questions, and production gets aggravated with me. 

  • My customers know more about Wide-Format than I do.  

  • No one has time to train me 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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