Why you should you NEVER mail a sample

By Bill Farquharson
In May 13, 2014

Here’s the scenario: You are calling on a prospect and the call seems to be going fairly well. At the end of the conversation, the prospect says, “Sounds great. I’d like to see a sample of your work. Could you put something in the mail to me?”

DANGER! WANGER! WILL ROBINSON!

Let’s say you put a beautiful print sample in an envelope and entrust the US Post Office with the task of delivering it to your potential client. He opens it and looks it over. This sample represents, naturally, the best work you are capable of producing. After all, you are looking to impress, right?

The problem comes in the potential reaction of said prospect: “Hmmmmm. This looks expensive. I guess they’re one of those pricey high quality printers.”

Okay, so if there is a risk of that kind of reaction, you’d be better off sending run-of-the-mill print samples, right? Uhhhhh, no. Here’s why: Sending ordinary samples might yield the response, “These are plain-looking samples. I guess they are an average, every day kind of printer.”

Is THAT what you want? I didn’t think so.

The desired response would be to give the prospect the impression that you are a problem-solver. Unless you send print samples that contain the before and after story, you run the risk of sending the wrong message. So, don’t send a sample. Send a story. That will improve your chances of getting the response, “Well, this printing company looks different than the others that I’ve seen. In fact, we have a similar problem and this solution might work for us.”

Sending a sample is risky business. Don’t leave your fate in the eyes of the beholder.

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Bill Farquharson

Epicomm Vice President Bill Farquharson previously served as President of Aspire For, a sales training and consulting firm in Duxbury, MA, and is a 30+ year sales veteran in the print and form industries. He has trained thousands of print sales representative, sales managers, and “selling owners” with a highly successful, no-nonsense “old school” approach. His unique training programs—The Sales Challenge, The Mobile Sales Club, and Tuesday eWorkshops—have become an industry standard for driving new business. Bill has trained and coached sales people from Xerox, Fuji Xerox, HP Indigo, Heidelberg, EFI, Konica-Minolta, and others. An active columnist and blogger for Printing Impressions magazine, PIWorld.com, he also shares two weekly electronic eblasts each week with thousands worldwide: Monday Video Sales Tip and Friday Short Attention Span Webinars. Bill received a B.A. degree in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and worked in sales at UARCO Business Forms, Advanced Form Systems, and Print Tec Network, prior to founding his own firm.

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