Increase Color Growth Opportunities with Consultative Sales Approach22 Oct, 2007 By: Alicia Ellis imageSource
Increase Color Growth Opportunities with Consultative Sales Approach
You’ve heard it over and over again – selling more color will bring in more
“green” for your business. While this is true, selling your customers on adding
color to their operations is not always a slam dunk. It requires you to not only
build a case that color does have a place in their business in the first place,
but also justify the extra costs associated with color devices.
When the traditional arguments do not work, a change in sales approach may be
necessary. Instead of selling products solely on speeds and feeds, dealers
should take a more consultative approach and get imaginative to create
opportunities for color in their customer’s workplace. Those dealers that are
able to create personalized opportunities for customers to experience color
firsthand, will reap the rewards with greater profits over the long term.
The growth of on-demand color printing, in particular, presents an enormous
opportunity for dealers to expand their relationships with customers and become
more of a partner in improving their business. Expertise in several vertical
markets where there is a constant need for customized color materials is helpful
in identifying unique on-demand color applications that can save businesses
money and time. This kind of consultative approach can be extended to document
workflow and device consolidation to help businesses choose the multifunction
device and workflow strategy that best fits their needs. Color MFPs have taken
on a higher profile in the office as the first step in the document workflow
process and are evolving to embrace a more sophisticated level of needs with
color-centric, printer-based devices. Whatever the approach, partnering with
printing/imaging vendors that have proven consultative track records, will be
important in supplementing dealers’ capabilities to take advantage of the color
growth opportunities anticipated for the next several years.
COLOR ON THE RISE
Dealers are embracing color more everyday, and with good reason. According
to IDC, the U.S. color laser MFP market is the fastest-growing segment, with a
2005–2010 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24 percent. The U.S. color laser
printer market is also increasing rapidly, with a 2005–2010 CAGR of 15 percent.
Research shows that color on-demand printing is taking a large share of
offset print volume as color products improve in output quality, media
flexibility, and speed, while becoming more affordable. Impressive growth is
expected in a number of segments including human resources, marketing,
accounting/finance, graphic arts and corporate communications departments; also
retailers, schools, and ad agencies, as businesses use workgroup digital color
printers for jobs they used to send to offset printers.
Dealers that focus on new applications to add color in these segments will
have a leg-up on their competition in their ability to demonstrate the value of
color in terms that their customers can appreciate. In the meantime, they will
solidify their position with their customer as an expert resource that
understands their business.
Time to Get Creative
For some customers, color sells itself as businesses wise-up to the stats
that show how color will improve their business. For others, there is still a
moderate level of resistance to color, mostly due to the perception that it is
too expensive and with limited application for their type business. It is also
due to the fact that the benefits of color are often not realized until
customers see the effects of it firsthand.
History shows that the majority of businesses that try color do like it, and
expand their color operations to incorporate more devices. So the goal is to
identify applications for in-house color that get your customers agreeing to try
it as an alternative to outsourced printing. This is easier said than done, but
can be accomplished on a vertical market basis.
In retail, for instance, many stores currently rely on external print houses
or their corporate headquarters to produce in-store merchandising signage. This
results in high shipping costs and delays, preventing the retailer from
responding quickly to local competition. Retailers that outsource signage
printing can not change the prices on the fly, and many signs are wasted due to
overproduction or outdated information. Research shows that in-store
merchandising using color is 55 percent more likely to be read before black and
white materials, with the likelihood of purchase due to color merchandising
materials being lifted by as much as 80 percent.
This situation creates a unique opportunity for dealers and vendors to build
color solutions that enable retailers to produce color signage in-store and
on-demand. After working with many retailers over the years, OKI Printing
Solutions developed a good solution, the C9600 Color Signage Solution, that
bundles custom signage printing software with a versatile wide-format (up
to12x18) color printer to produce a variety of color signage on-demand and for
media such as shelf talkers, banners, and cling film for promotional stickers.
In education, as another example, color is proven to stimulate brain activity
and increase information retention. Dealers can work with vendors to create
educational charts, diagrams and banners in brilliant color to help demonstrate
the possibilities that an in-school color device could offer them in improving
the classroom and learning experience. For finance and accounting, a customized
application for printing color forms and invoices (as invoices printed in color
are proven to be read faster and responded to more rapidly) could help to
solidify the sale.
IDC Top 5 Business Benefits Experienced
The argument for color, at least according to the experts, is clear. IDC
lists the top five business benefits experienced from color use as:
1 Improved communication with customers or partners/suppliers
2 Cost savings from bringing color in-house
3 Time savings from bringing color in-house
4 Improved internal communication
5 Increased rate of customer retention