The life of a sales rep is a precarious one and success can be elusive, particularly for beginners. No wonder the production print profession has such high turnover. However, as those who have made it a long-term career have discovered, it can also be rewarding. Getting to that point requires self-awareness and the ability to learn from one’s mistakes. Whether you are selling production print hardware or software, there are some mistakes that you should avoid when approaching new prospects—or even current customers—if you want to close the deal.
Mistake #1 – Failure to do your research. This failure is not an option even on a cold call. Information about the prospect is only a Google search or a click or two away. We’re not saying that you need to discover all the inner workings of the client’s organization. But what you should be armed with is general knowledge of the prospect’s print operation, its product offerings, and its history. And the best place to find that information is the prospect’s website.
Mistake #2 – Too much talk and not enough listening. You may have a great track record selling to existing customers and sharing stories about their operations and how your solutions have met their needs. But pick your moment to share this information, and that moment should not come until after you’ve spent time listening to the prospect share their business challenges and the problems that they are looking to address. An article in the Harvard Business Review recommends that your listening-talking ratio should be 60/40, which is supported by a study that found that top sales professionals in B2B sales speak on average only 43% of the time. This will also help you identify a solution to enhance the prospect’s existing processes.
Mistake #3 – Not asking targeted questions. This is especially critical when meeting with a new prospect. This can help you drill down deeper into their business and pinpoint the issues they face daily. Because you have intimate knowledge of the solutions that you sell, such as the software from RSA, the prospect’s responses to your targeted questions will make it easier for you to recommend the perfect solution. RSA offers our targeted questions to you in one convenient document- ask us for our territory map sell sheet or download it from your online RSA partner portal.
Mistake #4 – Not customizing your presentation to the prospect. Make the customer feel special by customizing the presentation for them. This could include addressing their specific challenges, identifying the products that are best suited to overcome those challenges, as well as inserting their organization’s name on the header page or the appropriate PowerPoint slides.
Mistake #5 – Not meeting with the decision-maker. It’s helpful to speak with the prospect’s employees on the print shop floor, but if you’ve done your homework, somewhere in the sales process you must get in front of the decision-maker who signs off on the purchase. Those involved in the day-to-day operations understand the issues and challenges they face daily and can provide you with information that can help influence the final decision-maker if he or she is not involved in the initial sales call. But ultimately, all roads lead to the person who signs the check.
Mistake #6 – Confusing the customer by talking too much about features. Yes, you’re trying to sell a solution—a solution that has a wealth of useful features, such as many of the existing and new capabilities found in the latest versions of RSA’s WebCRD, QDirect, and ReadyPrint. Instead, focus on the benefits your software provides and leave a detailed discussion of the various features for after the sale or for the prospect to review on their own time. Remember, at this point of the sales process, the prospect doesn’t care how your product solves their problem, only that it does.
Mistake #7 – Not emphasizing value over price. Yes, customers will frequently make their final purchase decision based on price, but if you try and close the sales on price alone, you may not end up with a long-term customer. Instead, you may lose them when someone else comes along and offers them a better price. Highlight the value that your solution, your organization, and the vendor behind your solution will bring to them. For example, RSA offers free ongoing training and education to ensure customers get the most value out of their RSA products.
Mistake #8 – Overpromising and underdelivering. Be honest about the solutions you sell, the support you provide, and what customers can expect if there is an issue. Don’t overhype your solution. Instead, under-promise and over-deliver, which can turn a prospect into a satisfied and long-term customer.
Mistake #9 – Not proofreading the correspondence you send to the prospect. Whether it’s an email, a written proposal, a PowerPoint presentation, or a thank-you note, proofread it before you hit “send,” seal the envelope, or present. A typo, misused word, or a missing word can negatively impact the prospect’s view of you and your organization and perhaps tip the sale scale in favor of a competitor. It doesn’t take long to proofread and this attention to detail could pay dividends.
Mistake #10 – Not following up promptly. Within 24 hours is a good rule of thumb for sending an email recapping your initial conversation, outlining your recommendations, and underscoring your commitments.
If you avoid these 10 mistakes when selling production print and workflow software to new prospects you should be well on your way to success.
What Not to Do When Selling to New Prospects
Your local RSA BDM can provide you with expertise and resources to help with your print shop customers' digital transformation, starting with in-plant Web to Print solutions that allow them do away with email for job orders or universal prepress software that works with the major OEM's production print devices for any type of print center.