Consultative vs. transactional sales—and why you should know the difference

At the PODi AppForum in January, I attended a great talk by Frank Belzer of Kurlan and Associates. Frank discussed the difference between consultative and transactional sales—two complementary, but totally different approaches to giving customers what they want.

Now, for old sales pros, this isn’t big news. But understanding this model is becoming crucial in the printing world. Here’s what it’s all about.

In transactional sales, customers already know what they want. The primary factors influencing a purchase decision are straightforward: price, availability, and speed. Most retail purchases are like this. These customers don’t want to be educated; they want service, period. (From printers, they want simple things, like reprints, address changes, or basic business cards.)

But there’s another type of customer looking for print. Customers that need help understanding data, formulating ideas, or launching mailing campaigns require a consultative selling approach. For these jobs, we’ll offer all of the time, expertise, and manpower we’ve got. Our planning and guidance is how we add value.

As printers, we’re in the middle of a shift. Once, most of our sales were the transactional sort—customers didn’t necessarily want feedback on their work. But as demand grows for great content marketing and flawless execution, times have changed. Customers are asking for more, and we’re delivering.

We’re not turning our backs on transactional selling, of course. The model still has an important place in the printing world. If you need prints ASAP, we won’t waste your time with a strategy meeting. We’ll automate the process—so that you save money and have prints in hand sooner.

Both selling approaches are valuable, just at different times. The key is knowing which tactic—or combination of tactics—to use when. The best print providers deliver a mix of automation and human insight tailored to each client’s needs.

At Oregon, if you want to sit down and talk with someone, we’re here to listen. But if you need prints yesterday, we’ll just ask “how many?”

No matter your print needs, Oregon can help. Get in touch, and we’ll find a solution that works for you. 

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