Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

For years, I received periodic sales letters from one particular print rep. He tracked me down wherever I worked, probably via LinkedIn. If you buy printing, I’m sure you know a sales rep like him.

His pitch letter began, “I can’t remember whether we met when I worked at Printer A, Printer B, or Printer C, but…” That’s such a great opener, isn’t it?

The letter went on to say, more or less, “More about me, still more about me, blah, blah blah, and yes, we can do it all for you.” Yep, the same tired, old-boy print salesman routine this guy has used for decades. (See The Four Ps of Printer Selection for my Disaster Avoidance Tip on “We can do it all.”)

Whenever I got his letters, I would wonder, “So does this kind of thing ever work for him?” I had never worked with this man and I hardly knew him. Here is the problem: He was employing relationship marketing when we didn’t have a relationship! 

Disaster Avoidance Tip

If you do not have any real prior relationship with a prospective customer, please do not use this sales approach. It can come across as stalking, and it’s creepy!

So you may be asking, “What does work if this approach does not?” I will never forget my first meeting with one printing sales rep. She briefly introduced herself and said she wanted to focus her presentation only on the services that would be relevant to us. Then she asked at length about the kinds of print projects we did and what our challenges were. She asked many questions before saying a thing about what her printing company had to offer. Taking the time to get to know us made all the difference. I was so impressed by her approach and offerings that I began a business relationship with her that lasted for years.

Check out Seth Godin’s writing on permission marketing. As he says, “Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.”

That’s pretty great advice.

© 2013 Nani Paape

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