January 10th, 2016
“A Different Kind of Conversation”: Shifting the Sales Dynamic
Grant Richey had seen all sides of the printing business. As an account rep with the Xerox Corporation, he sold commercial equipment to customers ranging from educational institutions to independent print shops, and had become an expert in the latest technology and capabilities. Prior to that, he had managed three AlphaGraphics Business Centers in Salt Lake City, where he gained experience on the consumer side, from design to fulfillment.
An entrepreneur at heart, he didn’t see a future in a career selling commoditized products for someone else. So when an opportunity came up to buy into a leading company in the rapidly growing large-format graphics space, he started making plans – until a conversation with a customer directed his path back to AlphaGraphics.
“I was ready to mortgage my house to purchase a minority stake and take on an executive role in this company, and over lunch one day I asked one of my customers what he thought of my decision,” Richey says. “He owned the AlphaGraphics in Bountiful, Utah, and we had developed a great relationship. We talked about how quickly the industry was evolving, and that there was an opportunity to build a different kind of business. He was ready to sell and it all fell into place. That was 12 years ago.”
Looking back, he remembers the moment when he recognized that print is simply one byproduct of an effective marketing plan. It’s not about printing per se, but about the content. It’s about communicating a message – which leads a client to a different kind of conversation.
“There’s a 6 to 1 multiple on marketing dollars over print as a component of the total spend, on average. When we started thinking about how we could help our clients differentiate themselves, it really changed our entire sales process,” he says. “Logos, websites, social media and video pieces done right can connect with people on an emotional level. When we were able to articulate that and our ability to drive those creative processes, we started really expanding our client relationships around message development and how best to engage their customers.”
Richey says the last 12 months have brought home the point. His AlphaGraphics team has landed several large new contracts and felt the change in the way they are perceived by their clients.
“I’ve heard several of our clients reference their experience with us as more like working with an agency. When you’re having a conversation on that level, you’ve shifted from a sales pitch to a discussion on how you can help lead the entire process.”
They’ve tapped into every media available – think short video highlights, Ecommerce focused landing pages and in-store dimensional LED displays that showcase a handful of featured products – and the AlphaGraphics Bountiful team is involved from concept, identity and message development all the way through the sale. They even handle the order fulfillment.
He’s mentored his staff on how to create that different kind of discussion, and as a result they’ve landed projects that build expertise and demonstrate capabilities.
“I talk to new Franchisees who are worried that they don’t have the background to execute on the kinds of things that we do, but the truth is there’s an entire network of support that’s here to help, and we’ve been the beneficiary of that from the beginning,” Richey says. “That’s what AlphaGraphics is all about. The people are the resource, and without that camaraderie and teamwork with the corporate staff and our network of Franchisees, we wouldn’t have the brand strength we do today.”
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