A Day At The Races

September 14th, 2017 - Posted by Ellen Hurwitch, Director of Operations - The Americas


As you may recall from my last blog, I got a new car. So now it was time for a road trip. What better than a weekend at the races in Saratoga Springs, NY, about a 4 to 5 hour ride from my home?
Saratoga races occur every year in August. I had not been in a very long time, so I grabbed my friend Jill and off we went.
On the ride north she said to me: “I have a strategy. I will only bet on the grey horses.” I thought that was rather odd, because you never know if there will be a grey horse running, and she was doing this without a racing form, so she was not going to know what the history of the horses were. I just said ok, and continued to drive while trying to figure out all of the fancy doodads that came with the car.
Once we arrived, Jill was out of the car like a bat out of hell and off to see the horses. As they paraded around she found a grey horse and off she went to bet. Me? I was trying to make sense of the racing form, scratching my head thinking there must be a simple way to figure this out. As well as a way to use some reasoning in picking a winner.
Well, we both came out losers that day. What she thought would be a winning strategy turned out to be a losing strategy in every race that there was a grey horse. Me, I found the form very complicated and although none of the horses I bet on were grey, they also turned out to be losers.
On the ride back to New York City, I started thinking about what the solution to this money losing pastime should be. And then, my mind wandered a bit, and I started thinking of the horses in a very different way. They reminded me of salespeople, running straight down the path, hoping to win the order, seeing it as the prize. And now I was thinking, maybe they shouldn’t be running towards the prize, competing with everyone else on price and convenience. What they should do is take a step back and find a solution that makes them outshine the pack.
A better way to sell print today is changing the mindset of the sales person to think of him or herself as a problem solver. This is what the new breed of customers and prospects are looking for. When we listen to our customers and prospects, we may hear something that we are not used to: the buyer’s preference: looking for ease of use. Both you and your customer may be looking for the same thing – less touch points, a reduction of time and costs. For you, an online presence for your customer enables you to create a barrier to exit and at the same time, a barrier for entrance to your competitor.
A Web to Print software product should just be one of many tools you can turn to when trying to make a sale. The weakest solutions to sell are price, quality and customer service. Probably 80% of the printers list this as the key selling points on their websites. Price is important, no one can deny that, but it is not a compelling reason for a long term relationship. Someone will always be willing to do it cheaper! The more problems you solve, the more valuable you are, and the stronger your relationship with your customer will be.
As I was daydreaming about all of this, I looked up and saw the flashing lights in my rearview mirror. Uh oh! As the cop walked over to my now stopped car, I rolled down the window. The first thing the officer said to me was “Ma’am, this is not a race to the finish, no need to speed!” And I said: “Officer, you’re right. I am sure we can find a solution to this.” And he said: “You’re right! Here’s your ticket! Have a nice day!”