Printers: the three questions that will raise your quote conversion rates by over 10%

London OlympicsThe Olympics came to the UK in 2012!

Winning a gold medal is the sports person’s dream.  So there was a lot of training going on back then.  After all, the more training they did the more likely the sports person is to win that gold medal.  It makes sense:  the more effort you put in the better results you will get.

And it’s the same for print buyers

Print buyers may use your quotes to hammer down other printers. Find out how to avoid this.

The more effort print buyers put in, the better results they will get as well.  Unfortunately, these days many buyers believe that effort is measured by the number of print quotes they request.

Some print buyers like to get as many print quotes as possible.  After all, the more quotes a print buyer receives, the lower prices they get.  But often they don’t choose the printer with lowest price.

Print buyers use low prices to beat down their preferred supplier

Using pricing like this is called getting quote fodder.  Printers who provide quote fodder fail to create meaningful relationships with their clients.  Instead they just become price providers.  They have no control over how the client acts with the data.  Instead they remain powerless as the prospect uses the pricing as they wish.  These printers really struggle to achieve their sales targets.

Printers who avoid becoming quote fodder are able to create good relationships with their clients.  They are in control of their sales pipeline.  And they achieve both their sales and their profit targets.

How do you become a printer like this?  The simple answer is to engage with the client.  Here are three questions you should ask print buyers if you want to avoid being used as quote fodder:

1)     Ask the print buyer why they have approached you

A print buyer that is serious will have a reason for approaching you.  They won’t be doing this simply to make up their quote numbers.  But if a print buyer can’t answer this question with some great reasons the warning bells should be ringing.

And if the print buyer does give you a good reason, you’ll also know which bits of your marketing are working best.  But this isn’t about marketing.  It’s about making sure you have a serious quote request.  So there’s another question you need to follow this up with:

2)     Ask the print buyer how they will select their supplier

You need to understand the print buyer’s purchasing process.  Are they just choosing on price?  Or are there other factors that will affect their decision?

You need to understand these factors.  And the print buyer needs to understand why you are well placed to deal with these factors.  So this question gives you a great sales opportunity.

And you can improve this opportunity with the next question:

3)    Ask the print buyer if you can meet with them

If the buyer declines to do this, it does not mean that they won’t take your quote seriously.  But it does mean that you are more likely to be judged on price.

A print buyer who is really serious about engaging with you should be prepared to meet.  However, sometimes geography or timescales mean that this is not realistic.  But even then, it should be possible to schedule a conference call.

Of course some print companies will not be convinced about all these questions, meetings and conference calls.

Isn’t this process just too time consuming?

Spending time like this may not immediately seem efficient.  Many printing companies believe in being as efficient as possible.  And they measure this in the speed at which they turn round client quote requests.  And the number of quote requests that is managed by each person.

But often printers don’t measure quote conversion rates

This is vital.  What is the point of carrying out lots of quoting activity if it doesn’t result in business?

If you ask these questions you will improve your quote conversion rates by over 10%.  And you will prevent a lot of wasted activity by your estimating teams.  You will recognise time wasting quote requests before you have to spend a lot of effort on them.

And there is more that you can use this questioning for.  You can use this as an opportunity to show the buyer that you are serious about working with them.  I have written more about this from the print buyer’s perspective.

And there’s something else you should do when you’re having this dialogue.

Don’t forget to listen to print buyer’s pain

As you talk with the print buyer you will get to know them better.  And you will understand the problems that they face.  And you have an opportunity to show he print buyer that you can solve these problems.  This puts you in an excellent position to win more work.

But winning work requires action!

Make sure you carry out these three action steps

Next time you receive a quote request you weren’t expecting, make sure you ring the customer up.
Ask the three questions:  why have they approached you, how will they make their decision and can you meet with them about the project.
Don’t forget to listen for the print buyer’s pain.

Remember the power of continual effort

The more effort you put in, the better chance you have of converting print quotes into

Just as the more effort a sports person puts in, the better chance they have of winning that Olympic gold.

P.S.  If you’d like to learn more about moving away from selling on price you should sign up right now for the Profitable Print Relationships “Buyer’s Insights”.  You’ll receive regular tips about improving print sales from the buyer’s point of view and get your free copy of “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them” (worth $29).

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2017-05-08T15:00:22+00:00

About the Author:

Matthew Parker
My name is Matthew Parker and I am the founding Director of Profitable Print Relationships. I have had over twenty years’ experience in the print sector. I have worked as a print specialist at many different companies of all sizes and from many market sectors. So I have experience in a variety of company cultures. I founded Profitable Print Relationships because I’ve seen so many printers struggling. Selling print becomes harder and harder every year. But it is much easier if you understand what goes on in the buyer’s mind. And I can give you that understanding. I also passionately believe that the print industry is a great industry

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