Tips from Rocky Proffit
Founder and CEO of NAPCO, Inc.
Since 1977, Rocky Proffit has been involved in manufacturing and selling custom packaging and boxes. During this time, he has learned a few things he wants to share to help you become more successful in the industry.
For starters, successful sales people ask a lot of questions but more importantly, they know how to listen and absorb information about their customers’ needs and requirements.
Simply put, the goal is to deliver the perfect product match to your customer’s requirements, at the correct price point, and then delivered at the required time frame. That’s it!
To achieve this, Rocky has compiled a list of 17 important questions that must be brought up and discussed with your customer. Every question is important (you can add/modify to suit the situation). These will help you through the process and build trust that will give your customer the confidence to award you the order and come back for future projects.
1. Is this a new product or has it been produced before?
Knowing this will immediately get you on the right track by knowing if you are to match an existing product or creating something entirely new.
2. Is it a test run, repeat program or one-time order? What is the annual usage or projected quantity range?
This information will help guide you in the manufacturing approach needed.
3. Are you open to construction and material options to save money?
Find out if customer is open to new material options, construction and design ideas that may be a better fit for the product and also help to save them money.
4. Does this project require recycled content or FSC certification? Industrial/post-consumer waste?
Very important in selecting and presenting the appropriate material options in meeting their sustainability goals.
5. What are the quantities? How many versions of print or decoration.
This information helps you determine the best method of printing and decorating. Digital, offset, flexo, or screen print. Foil stamp, emboss, blind emboss, etc.
6. If produced before were you satisfied with the price, quality and delivery? If not; what specifically were the problems?
Save you and your customer a lot of wasted time and avoid making the same mistakes your competitor may have made.
7. What is the current budget for this project?
Get down to the nitty gritty and avoid multiple price quotes that were never a proper fit to begin with.
8. If it is a retail project what is the retail price for it in the market?
Become a partner with you client instead of a supplier. This information can help you get an idea of the type packaging they can afford i. e. folding, flexible, litho mounted E–Flute, rigid .
9. When do you need pricing and/or samples?
Avoid confusion and misunderstandings, there may be long lead time materials that need to be addressed. With this information, you can confidently promise and deliver.
10. Time frame: When would the project need to be produced/delivered?
Perhaps, one of the most critical question of all. On time or early delivery builds confidence and repeat business. Late delivery almost never brings repeat customers.
11. What cover material and decoration will your project require?
Make sure material choices are compatible with the construction and decorative options client wants.
12. Are there any concerns that you need for us to know about?
Why run the risk of repeating your competitor’s mistakes? Find out any potential issues so you can put systems in place to avoid them.
13. What contents will this construction hold and approximate weight?
Very important in determining the strength, construction design and material required. And always ask for an actual sample of the product to help create the perfect fit and functionality.
14. Discuss tolerances for each operation your project requires.
Avoid disappointments or expectations that exceed your production capabilities. Inform your customer up front, of any registration issues, and possible imperfections that may occur in production. Let them know what to expect so they are not surprised.
15. Does your project require individual poly bagging? Printed or non-printed?
Some materials and decorative options may require poly bagging to prevent scuffing during shipment.
16. What are the pack out and shipping requirements?
What are your number per carton and/or cartons per pallet restrictions if any?
17. Are there any other special packing instructions that you think we should know?
You’ve gone through the process of producing a great product. Now finish up and deliver it perfectly.