I read a blog recently from Marcus Sheridan (The Sales Lion) that suggested one of the most powerful forms of marketing your business is to answer questions that interested prospects would typically ask about those in your market or industry. In fact, he would say that the more you share information about common problems that clients would find, or sharing who your potential competitors are along with information that establishes your knowledge of client issues and concerns, then the higher you will ultimately rank within the search engines. In other words, you are addressing what clients and prospects alike want to know when looking for a vendor they can trust.
So what are some of the issues that people might want to know about printers? What are the problems that clients typically find when working with printers? And what is it that we “don’t get” when it comes to forging a strong business relationship?
To begin with, some of what I will talk about here are not specific just to printers – rather they could be said about almost all businesses. In fact, the first thought that comes to mind is that often times we think in terms of what we need for a given job – the types of files, the production schedule, the final proof approvals. In other words, it is many times more about what we need, rather than what is important for the customer. Another common issue is that often times there is not someone available to talk through a question or concern – service is relegated to an e-mail response or a follow-up after the fact. Or, how about taking too long to respond to a quote request/inquiry – don’t you want my business? And not offering alternative solutions or ideas on how to save either money or time in the production of a job.
Perhaps one area that printers in general do not understand, is that there are in fact other options available now to market or promote your business. And in fact, many of these options are less expensive too – no longer is print the only game in town! Here is one that especially hits home to us at times – what systems are in place to ensure that the latest proof changes have been made prior to printing? And speaking of changes – why is it that making small changes can sometimes add up to large cost increases?
The answers to many of these questions are not always “black and white.” Printing businesses – as well as almost all businesses, have to be able to “look in the mirror” at times and really determine how well they are at addressing these issues. How can we be more responsive to the client – or at the least, be able to answer questions like this with honest and helpful solutions. I would suggest we also need to survey our clients to judge how well we are doing on a regular basis – after all, the client is who determines our overall success in business!