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Perception IS Reality

By Ryan Sauers

About Ryan

Ryan T. Sauers is president of Sauers Consulting Strategies and spent nearly 20 years leading printing and promotional product companies prior to founding the firm. The organization consults with printing and promotional product related companies across the country, helping them grow the front end of their organization. Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and is the author of the top-selling book “Everyone Is in Sales”, with another book in the works.  He is a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator and DiSC Practitioner and Certified Marketing Executive. Ryan writes national feature articles and speaks at national conferences on such topics as sales, marketing, communications, leadership, organizational strategy and social media. He is also an adjunct university professor. More info at

Buyers Do Not Care!

One thing has become clear to me, after having time with print buyers across the country. They do not care! So, you are thinking, “Ryan, what don’t they care about?” Good question.

Well, first there is no (for the most part) full-time print buyer in today’s world. There are people, such as a communications manager or a marketing director, who oversee this responsibility among many other duties. And, they see printing as a necessary evil. This means one more thing they have to handle and get done. 

Second, many have come to view print as a commodity and that low price is what matters. Third, they do not care about your equipment, FSC certifications, high-quality work, automated proofing or color control systems. Sorry—to them this sounds like you are Charlie Brown. You know...WHAH-WA—WHAH-WA—WHAH-WA.

Have you ever heard of the acronym WIFM? You know the one that means “what’s in it for me?” I challenge you to tune in to a new station in your sales efforts. The call number is WIFT. What’s in it for them? What are you bringing to the table that really wows a buyer? Anything? I cannot tell you the number of times in my career—in either running a printing company or consulting in the field—that I have watched a salesperson bore a buyer and me to death.

You see, if you want them to care, you need them to understand your “why,” not your whats and hows. If you sell at the “why” level, you communicate how you can provide them headache relief and powerful solutions. In contrast, when you share at the “how and what” level, you talk about basic and boring things.

For example, work and turn versus sheet wise OR the weight of the paper, OR the type of ink, OR inline of offline processes OR line screen. This is ALL BORING. They do not care. For that matter, I do not care...and quite frankly, anyone who is going to remain relevant in sales in 2013 and beyond in this industry, needs to embrace this as soon as possible.

So, what do you do to make a buyer care? What do you do so they want to tune in to the WIFT station? Do you show what is in it for them? Do you explain how it will help them? Do you spend time listening? Do you ask deep open-ended questions that focus on what is best for them? Do you try to be more creative in your approach than anyone else? Do you show ways to make their life easier? Do you care more about the long term partnership and guiding a prospect the right way than “winning” one job? 

If you do these things a “buyer” does care because they begin to trust you and know that you have their best interests at heart. Please take this post into account and trust me when I say buyers will care if you give them a reason to. I challenge you to do this. Good luck!

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