That could include talking with your customer about something other than what he/she has been buying from you. It could also mean talking with your customer about the possibility of a referral, either internal or external. (An internal referral would be another potential customer within the same company or organization; in other words, someone else within that company or organization who might buy what you sell. An external referral would take you into the realm of friends, family, and business contacts in other organizations.)
Please look back at the words “another potential customer within the same company or organization.” I think it’s important to understand that your customers are not companies or organizations; they are the individuals within those companies or organizations who trust you to handle some of their printing/business needs. If that company or organization has more than one person buying what you sell, you want all of them as customers, and referrals—leading to introductions—are the most effective way to accomplish that.
You also want all of them to buy as much of your product line as possible, which means talking to all of them about things other than what they have been buying from you. Those conversations generally end in one of three ways: 1) I didn’t know that I could buy that from you. That’s great! I buy a lot of it! 2) I don’t buy any of that, but I can tell you who does, or 3) No, neither I nor anyone else here buys anything like that and we probably never will. Response #3 would probably represent a dead end, but I hope you’ll agree that the other two responses would be pretty positive. Sometimes selling is no more difficult than that!
I want to end this month’s column with some remarks about owners and salespeople making deliveries, and doing $8-10 per hour work when they should be spending their time on activities with much greater value to the business. If you’re one of those business people whose business just happens to be printing, I think you already know the value of your time. If you’re not, well, at least I can give you an example of how to “double up” and do some good for your business while you’re making those deliveries.
Having said that, there are times when an owner or salesperson should make deliveries, starting with the first order after an order that didn’t go well. When you let a customer down, it’s important to let them know that you regret what happened—and that you appreciate the second chance!
Dave Fellman is the president of David Fellman & Associates, Cary, NC; a sales and marketing consulting firm serving numerous segments of the graphic arts industry. Contact Dave by phone at 800-325-9634; by fax at 919-363-4069; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.davefellman.com. See the ad for Dave’s products and services in this issue.