“Sample Libraries” Can Be Treasures For New Business Development

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By Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc.

We too often… can’t seem to see beyond what we’ve always done…”…….Debbie Nicholson, President, Think-to-Ink


Some of us are old enough… to recognize how “dumbed-down” our great industry has become.

Blame it on software…… Blame it on a younger generation that expects to be “spoon-fed”….or…have someone else on the Team….. pay the early-on price for success… from Innovation…..

Last week, Jess MacCallum, President of Professional Printers in Columbia, SC, .....accepted my Invitation to review --- with our Plant Managers Peer Group --- the effectiveness of their Sample Library --- which we had introduced to Jess about 5 years earlier.

Well….just to awaken your curiosity…..:

  • Professional Printers (a.k.a. “PPI”) has 18 Outside Sales Reps…. (while  recruiting several more…. at this time)….and…has….
  • Several….. Inside Sales Reps….plus
  • Is the largest privately-owned commercial printer… in South Carolina….
  • Has two sizable Plants….in Columbia, SC……
  • Has no Long-term debt….
  • Added Die-Cutting, Packaging, Storage & Fulfillment…. and Creative…over the last few years….

And….has a powerful….Sample Library…with approximately 90 different Sample Categories…organized by: (a) Vertical Customer Market, and cross-referenced by (b) Product Description.

Note: For use by PPI’s Sales Reps, each Sample is required to have a description card that contains: (1) Customer’s Name (and written permission to share the sample with PPI’s customers and prospects), (2) Project Specs, (3) Project objectives, and (4) What surprises occurred in producing the Sample…!

trainingSatellite Sales Reps in particular may request a specific Sample be sent to a target Prospect, who then receives a personalized “Sample Package” of the Sample, description of the Sample, PPI’s company history and description, a Graphic Communications-related book, and personal introduction letter --- signed by their Sales Rep.

Their Sales Team has Two - Sales Education & Training Sessions --- each month --- and that’s where new Samples are reviewed in-depth (along with other Sales Training Skits…. and SOP’s)….!

When Buyers --- and especially Buyers of major prospects – know that their visiting prospective supplier Rep --- has something worth their time (i.e., “Useful Information”) --- that Buyer makes time to see that prospective supplier Rep…..from PPI….!


In October, I was honored to engage a 13-Day Inside Sales Rep -Sales Team Education & Training Program --- with a West Coast client. Two – to three hours on Zoom --- each day. A homework assignment each night.

At the end of the Program, one of their newly hired Trainees asked - if he could become the Sales Training Administrator (first to the Team – where he got a big “YES”) --- and then to the President --- where he also got a big “”YES”. (Note: he still has Business Development responsibilities --- he was hired, with a background in finance -- coming out of investment banking --- with big ambitions --- and those ambitions have not abated….!) 

At that company, in the San Francisco area, they seem to only know --- “We’re either better or worse --- from the changes we just made --- and if not better --- we can change it --- immediately….!”)

As our great industry slowly has fewer organizations… that are Customer-and Performance driven…… we’re getting better at Education and Training Customer contact personnel --- who want to learn --- what’s important….We’re also less tolerant………….. of those who don’t follow instructions…and give us their ‘A’ effort!”…………………….Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc.



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