Herron Printing & Graphics Builds Customer Base with Loyal Customers

Hi, Randy Herron from Herron Printing and Graphics.  I just want to little bit talk about the economy the last couple years.  It’s sort of been a little up and down for us.  Sales were down.  In 2011, our sales actually went up, not very much but about 3 percent.  At the beginning of the year, we started kind of getting back to basic marketing 101 and sales 101 and go out and make some calls.  We’ve been doing postcard mailings again, some e-mail blasts and just asking for referrals.  I mean, we talk to our customers all the time and say is there somebody that you know that might benefit from what we do.  And it started to pay off.  I would say in July we picked up two really good accounts and those accounts, I think, is what sort of helped push us over the top and actually go profitable this year.  We’re looking forward to a good year this year. 

When we ask for a referral, we sort of try to go customers that we deal with a lot.  I mean, I firmly believe I try to treat other people the way that I want to be treated when I go somewhere, and we do that with our clients.  I mean, we hold their hands if they need to be handheld.  We make sure the job is right and delivered on time.  And I know a lot of people do that, but we try to become friends with them.  I mean, just there’s that human element in there.  I think it’s harder to just leave and go somewhere else.  You know, we do have Web-to-print services and thing, but we still, we go see the clients.  We talk to them. 

Every Wednesday, I actually go out and see our top ten accounts.  I just get in the car and I drive to them.  I mean, I have two that are out of the area.  They’re in New York, but I can pick up the phone and call those two.  The rest of them that are in the D.C. market I just drive to and see.  And sometimes they’re busy and they can’t see me.  Other times, I just pop in real quick and say hello, see if there’s anything going on I can help them with.  But I just want them to know that I’m there for them no matter what goes on. 

And I ask for referrals.  I mean, I say, look, we’re trying to grow right now.  The economy’s been a little slower than it was and I want somebody else like you, somebody who’s a good account who wants somebody to be a partner with them and do their printing and stuff.  So we ask for the referral and we get them and it makes it a lot easier to get in to see somebody new if somebody’s said, look, I got this printer and we want you to meet them and all. 

One of the reasons why I like to ask for referrals, they tend to be better clients.  What I mean by that is once somebody has already told them that, “Look, I’ve been using these printers, this guy, for a while, they do a good job,” they’re sort of more open and receptive.  I mean, although they don’t know you, it’s almost like they know you in a way.  Because, when you give a referral to somebody, you’re sort of giving a piece of yourself saying that I trust these guys.  So they trust you right away and that really helps.  So a referral account is usually good because it’s not such a hard sale to get in.  

Another that we’ve done in the last, I’d say, about three years we’ve really started being active on our SEO and our pay-per-click.  We don’t broad pay-per-click like most people that I’ve talked to do.  We pick one or two products at a time and that’s all we go for.  Direct mail is one, because we do a lot of direct mail.  It’s a profitable business.  We enjoy it.  It’s easy to do.  So we go after it that way. 

One of our biggest accounts that we have now I picked up in July of last year and it was a result of them hitting our Web site.  They did $161,000 last year and it should be double it this year.  So that’s really helped going forward, but it’s an important part of our marketing.  I mean, to me, we have the sales end of it, we have our direct mail and we have our pay-per-click, our Google SEO, that’s all sort of as one.  So we have three channels and the referrals, four channels that we really go after trying to get new accounts.

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