Selling Digital Printing
I was talking with a label sales rep about digital printing. He told me about his equipment we talked about his transition from traditional legal production. When I asked him about profit margins, a slow and satisfying smile grew until I was looking at a 6’3″ Cheshire cat, one whose profits are 5x his estimate. That is, he takes the number he receives from Estimating and multiplies it by five.
What’s his secret? He doesn’t sell labels.
Wait, what? Didn’t you just say he was a label sales rep? Come on, Bill, which is it? Is he or isn’t he?
Okay, yes, technically, he sells labels. But it’s a more accurate statement to say that what he sells are ideas and solutions. The label is simply the end product.
When I first started selling digital printing (back when it was called, “On-demand”), it was like shooting ducks in a barrel. Selling it profitably was not difficult, to be honest. The hard part was convincing the client to let go of the safety of inventory and embrace the concept of just-in-time printing. In return, digital gave the client flexibility, the ability to make frequent changes or to test different messages. The per piece price went up but we either lowered the usage cost of the document by switching to digital print or week increased its value.
Wait, what? What did you do, Bill?
I said, we lowered the usage cost of the document or we increased its value. We did this by learning the story behind the printed piece and coming up with a better print solution using this new technology. We didn’t sell print, we sold ideas and solutions.
Would you like to sell at five times your cost? Solve the problem, earn the order.