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Successfully Selling Wide-Format

(July 2008) posted on Tue Jul 01, 2008

How products, customers, competitors, and technologies play into successful sales.


By Tim Greene

Today, 95 percent of the company’s business is wide format. "We use all EFI Vutek printers and one HP," says Lotia. The company has a Vutek 5330, two Vutek 3360s, a 10-foot Vutek FabriVu, a Vutek flatbed 200/600, and an HP Designjet 5000. According to Lotia and Beard, XL Prints customers are people who want tradeshow and promotional materials. "Also, we wholesale to other sign companies. And we sell to a lot of high-tech companies, such as Intel."

Successfully marketing XL Prints' wide-format services, they say, was fairly easy: "We had the first superwide printer in Northern California, so people know us for that. In addition, we do direct mail, cold calls, referrals, etc. But most is based on word of mouth. We recently targeted 200 major prospects, most of whom are in our direct target market-within California," they explain. "And, as mentioned before, we are a wholesale provider for other shops, particularly large franchises. Unfortunately for us though, many of these shops are starting to bring superwide in-house.'

XL Prints has three people dedicated to sales and marketing. "We also deal with a lot of print brokers. The brokers usually find us through the Printing Industries of Northern California (PINC) organization," Lotia explains.

"And, in order to increase business, we’ve had to adopt green, which is huge here in California. By offering green services, we are differentiating ourselves from our competition. We market our green services by including information on sales materials and our website," Beard says.

Sales force and marketing expenditures
Whether your wide-format print business has three employees or 50, it's very important to have a strong sales force. Nearly 69 percent of wide-format printing organizations have dedicated sales and marketing personnel, according to a recent InfoTrends study. However, the employment of sales personnel was strongly tied to company size. Although less than half of the businesses with fewer than 10 employees had specific sales/marketing personnel, nearly all of the largest companies did. As you might guess, smaller companies have fewer "dedicated" sales or marketing employees because, often, the owner is the production manager, equipment operator, graphic designer, and bookkeeper all rolled into one.


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