By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
One of my early lessons as a salesman was that I had two ears and one mouth. They should be used in that proportion – in other words you should be listening a lot more than you are speaking. You should also be aware that waiting to speak is not listening. Listening is about hearing what the other person is saying and understanding the content. You can never sell anything to a customer until you understand their needs and wants. You also need to understand the difference between a need and a want – a need is a must-have and a want is a like-to-have.
I mention this because I have spent a bit of time recently talking and listening to some big brand owners who are currently doing business with customers of mine – who in turn have placed letters of intent with Landa Digital Printing to purchase one of our presses. During these conversations I have learned quite a lot about their needs and wants, and I will share some of them in this blog.
Unlike back in 1993 when digital printing was launched by Benny Landa, brand owners today are very well informed about Nanography®. Back in 1993, they relied on their printers to keep them up to date with technology and developments and we did not see them at IPEX ‘93 for example. Run the clock forward to Drupa ‘12 and they were there in force, sitting in the Landa presentations and soaking up the information. Their enthusiasm for the technology is matched by our customers – but their needs and wants are very different.
One thing that is a common need of brand owners is to reduce working capital in their businesses. Although money is cheap at the moment, there is pressure from their Boards to make the balance sheet more acceptable to investors and the reduction in working capital is part of that. This translates to a reduction in stock levels and the cash invested in it. So their suppliers are being put under pressure to deliver “just in time” whether it is books or baked beans.
Another need that comes across loud and clear is to satisfy the demands of their marketing teams wanting to use packaging as part of the marketing mix. This means a need to use versioning for particular markets or even personalisation of the printed packaging.
The recent campaign by a large Cola manufacturer with people’s names on their bottles is just one example. A large food manufacturer wanted to include recipes on one of their cartons, but the minimum run length supplied by the converter was too large to accommodate the large number of recipes desired by marketing.
There are many more needs and wants expressed. There is no doubt the brand owners are aware of the benefits of technology. The job for converters and packaging manufacturers is to make sure their salesman are using their own ears and mouth in the same proportion that I learned all those years ago.