Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Don't Sell Service. Sell Stuff Part 1

People don't buy service, except of course for the "oldest profession." Would you pay for more for a good salesperson in a store? Or an upcharge for the help desk to do their jobs? Sometimes yes. But mostly no. A nice "thank-you" and coming back for more are the more appropriate responses.

But, people will willingly exchange money for stuff. Print objects are great stuff. A friend forwarded some spam he got yesterday,
As a Wired reader, you are eligible for this exclusive offer from GQ.
Subscribe now and get GQ for only $12! That's over 74% off the newsstand price.
Plus, you'll receive a FREE special edition Barack Obama Man of the Year Cover Print ready for framing.
Somebody thinks a Print "ready for framing" is valuable stuff.

To our designer viewers:
Every great designer I know wants to get into the selling stuff business. It's that alluring long tail. They all have at least 50 ideas of stuff that people will buy. Probably one or two of them might actually work.

So, consider becoming your printers partner, instead of their customer.

Printers have the machinery to make stuff. Right now they are searching for new sources of revenue. Many have lots of unused capacity. If they have digital machinery, the cost of prototypes is trivial.

Of course finding a printer who gets it is hard. But there are some of them out there. Next time your sales rep comes buy to "just touch base", pitch her on your latest greatest idea that will change the world.

Hint: Talk to them as a co developer. Let them share in the upside, and they might be willing to take some of the risk of the downside. At worst, you'll both get great portfolios pieces that you can use to sell your service, while you continue to hunt for the right stuff to sell.

I picked this up a a couple of days ago.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune profiles Mark Jessen of Jessen Press on his journey to save his printing business from declining profit margins.

Jessen turned to a partnership with a marketing savvy neighbor to develop a new business and a line of novelty printed map products. The map business generated 10 percent of Jessen Press 2008 sales of $4.5 million.

Read the the StarTrib article for all the details.

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