Open Enrollment | Subscribe to Printing Impressions HERE
Connect
Follow us on
Advertisement
 
Founder, Print Buyers International (PBI)

Margie's Buyer Insights

By Margie Dana

About Margie

Margie Dana, a former print buyer, is the founder of Print Buyers International (PBI) and its member-based organization, Boston Print Buyers. These professional organizations cater to print customers worldwide through education, an annual buyers conference, Print Buyer Boot Camps, and networking opportunities.

Margie's perhaps best known for her weekly enewsletter, Margie's Print Tips, which she's published weekly since 1999 in an effort to build bridges in the industry. For years, Margie has been a popular speaker at industry events here and abroad. Her clients include print company executives who rely on her to help steer their marketing campaigns and make their online efforts more customer friendly.

 

How NOT to Impress a Prospect

9
 
The phone message I received today blew me away. Not in the good sense, unfortunately, but along the lines of “is this how a printer in 2009 thinks he can impress a prospect?”

Not only did he mumble, making me strain to understand the company name as well as his own, but then he did something so lame that I almost felt sorry for the guy.

He rattled off his shop's equipment — by size and by manufacturer.

In the words of my friend Barbara, "Are ya kiddin me???"

Imagine getting a voice mail message from a local deli trying to sell you catering services. 

“…And, uh, we got your Genoa salami and domestic as well as imported provolone. We make two kinds of cole slaw — three if you count our organic. This week we’re featuring Country Club hot dogs and smoked turkey (shaved or sliced). You can get roast beef plain or our special Italian style, as well as pastrami roast beef. We carry tuna salad every day and sometimes seafood salad. I hope to hear from you soon.”

On what planet is a print buyer blown away by a voice mail from an unknown printer, in which he rattles off the name, rank and serial number of his equipment?

I don’t know if he’d been to my Website or not to check me out (rule #1), or Googled me (if rule #1 fails), but let’s say he hadn’t. How would a laundry list of presses motivate me to call him back?

What his message should have said is:

“Hi, Margie, I'm (your name) with (your company). We’re a full-service printing firm in (your location). I don’t know if you're familiar with our company or not. What you might not know is that we specialize in (fill in your niche here and it better be fact not hype). I know you probably get a lot of calls from printers, so I will send you (relevant samples, etc.) in the mail. Our Website is (yourname.com). I’ll call you in a few weeks, after you've received my packet. Again, this is (your name) with (your firm). Thanks a lot."

Short and sweet, with a hint of why your company’s different. Speak clearly. Keep it short. For Pete’s sake, nix the equipment list. It has no place - NO place - on a voice mail message when you cold call.

Industry Centers:

9

COMMENTS

Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments:
Margie Dana - Posted on November 25, 2009
Thanks, Jim.

I am not a fan of cold calling print prospects, period. But there are better ways to do so if that's what one has to do.

Some samples may just end up in the wastebasket, you're right, but some special ones that spark interest/admiration in a prospect will be tagged and saved. I've had many buyers tell me this. I guess you just have to choose whether or not your particular samples are noteworthy enough to send out.

Have a wonderful Thanksiving! Off to bake pies. And please, call me Margie.

MD
Jim Pattison - Posted on November 24, 2009
Dear Margie (or Should I say Ms. Dana),

I just recently found this site.

Thanks for the tip for the phone message. I, like Mr. Ferguson, will tweak it to fit my services.

I have been selling since 1985 and have found that prospects do not pay attention to samples when you are not face to face with them. The Samples just clutter up their offices or wind up in the circular file. As a Print Solutions provider, I've found that the unique solutions/samples you provide are not associated to you or your company, thus providing your ideas to your competition. Face to Face is still the best way to begin a new relationship. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Jim
John Ferguson - Posted on November 05, 2009
Margie,

I often feel when leaving phone messages that they are falling on deaf ears. I have tried to develop a phone script that is concise, to the point and has a reasonable chance of getting a response. I have found this to be somewhat of a monumental task. Thank you so much for your example, and although I still believe it needs tweaking, at least it has put me in a positive direction. Isn't it amazing that one can be in print sales for 20+ years and still not know how to leave a simple introductory message. I guess it's because I feel so much rides on how the prospect first perceives you. Thanks again.

John
David Popple - Posted on October 28, 2009
Hi Margie
The phrase time and place springs to mind with this individual. I believe that there a place for equipment lists but obviously not on a cold call. The mumbling is a different issue and one he needs to address personally.
This guy sounds to me as if he is someone who is new to the job and has been promoted into sales from production. There's a lot of it going on in these cold times.
As such he would perhaps benefit more from your guidance than your criticism. (Do you run seminars for print salesmen as well as print buyers)
It would also explain his enthusiasm for his kit list..... These guys can be hardware junkies.
On the other hand Perhaps you ought to get to know him better. If he is, as I suspect, ex production then these people really know some great wheezes to optimise a job on press and at the same time can save you $ thousands. They will also ensure that your job is 100% technically right. Perhaps he needs a little time.... then perhaps I am being a little charitable.
Margie Dana - Posted on October 05, 2009
Gordon,

I like your style - and your suggestion makes a lot of sense.

I know better than to disagree with a printer who was also a deli owner :)

Hopefully, my primary point was made..even though I should've 'dropped the salami' to make my case more accurately.

Thanks for checking in and keeping tabs on me!

Until next time,
MD
Gordon Woolf - Posted on October 03, 2009
I've actually run both a deli and a print shop (at different times!) as well as newspapers and magazines. And I'm sorry to suggest your example is wrong, Margie.

The equivalent would be the deli which rang you to say they "have the latest electronic scales which can weigh in hundredths of an ounce, and the latest wide-beam auto-cleaning slicer, the fridges are by Westinghouse and maintain temperatures within a degree even if you keep opening the door...

If they told me they had Genoa Salami, that might actually be useful information.

You are of course right to say it doesn't matter to the customer what equipment a print shop has, no more than the brand of fridge in the deli (in fact we kept going with some pretty ancient fridges with new seals and a coolroom which brought drinks down from room temp so the fridges could keep coping during summer, just as we did some pretty remarkable things in cutting and creasing with an old British Vertical thanks to a skilled pressman, though I'd never have admitted then to what we were using.
Margie Dana - Posted on October 03, 2009
Ilene,

I hear you! It's one thing to make an assumption, as he initially did with you, but when you specifically asked him/them to correct it and your request was ignored, well, they should have known better.

And I really dislike those cold callers who start making small talk with me right off the bat - like we're old friends! Who is teaching these folks to sell like this?

Margie
Rich Sohanchyk - Posted on October 02, 2009
I'm a print broker and I get tons of letters from potential vendors with the name and size of presses but NO SAMPLES. All I want to know is if your work is drop dead gorgeous and priced within my budget. The only equipment I might want to know about is bindery. If you sub out bindery, I could do that myself and save the markup. However, I use printers all over the US so that's often a moot point. Would only apply locally.
Ilene Klinghoffer - Posted on October 02, 2009
A relatively well known printer started sending sales material that began "Dear Ilene, " and, when the sales rep called, he asked for me by my first name. We never had spoken previously, nor had we been introduced. If we had, I would have invited him to use my first name -- I'm fairly casual, and actually prefer it.

However, I was taken aback by the assumed familiarity. I remarked this, and was told it wouldn't happen again.

You know where this is going. The very next letter that arrived began "Dear Ilene," so I tossed it. I don't even open their mail any more.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Margie Dana - Posted on November 25, 2009
Thanks, Jim.

I am not a fan of cold calling print prospects, period. But there are better ways to do so if that's what one has to do.

Some samples may just end up in the wastebasket, you're right, but some special ones that spark interest/admiration in a prospect will be tagged and saved. I've had many buyers tell me this. I guess you just have to choose whether or not your particular samples are noteworthy enough to send out.

Have a wonderful Thanksiving! Off to bake pies. And please, call me Margie.

MD
Jim Pattison - Posted on November 24, 2009
Dear Margie (or Should I say Ms. Dana),

I just recently found this site.

Thanks for the tip for the phone message. I, like Mr. Ferguson, will tweak it to fit my services.

I have been selling since 1985 and have found that prospects do not pay attention to samples when you are not face to face with them. The Samples just clutter up their offices or wind up in the circular file. As a Print Solutions provider, I've found that the unique solutions/samples you provide are not associated to you or your company, thus providing your ideas to your competition. Face to Face is still the best way to begin a new relationship. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Jim
John Ferguson - Posted on November 05, 2009
Margie,

I often feel when leaving phone messages that they are falling on deaf ears. I have tried to develop a phone script that is concise, to the point and has a reasonable chance of getting a response. I have found this to be somewhat of a monumental task. Thank you so much for your example, and although I still believe it needs tweaking, at least it has put me in a positive direction. Isn't it amazing that one can be in print sales for 20+ years and still not know how to leave a simple introductory message. I guess it's because I feel so much rides on how the prospect first perceives you. Thanks again.

John
David Popple - Posted on October 28, 2009
Hi Margie
The phrase time and place springs to mind with this individual. I believe that there a place for equipment lists but obviously not on a cold call. The mumbling is a different issue and one he needs to address personally.
This guy sounds to me as if he is someone who is new to the job and has been promoted into sales from production. There's a lot of it going on in these cold times.
As such he would perhaps benefit more from your guidance than your criticism. (Do you run seminars for print salesmen as well as print buyers)
It would also explain his enthusiasm for his kit list..... These guys can be hardware junkies.
On the other hand Perhaps you ought to get to know him better. If he is, as I suspect, ex production then these people really know some great wheezes to optimise a job on press and at the same time can save you $ thousands. They will also ensure that your job is 100% technically right. Perhaps he needs a little time.... then perhaps I am being a little charitable.
Margie Dana - Posted on October 05, 2009
Gordon,

I like your style - and your suggestion makes a lot of sense.

I know better than to disagree with a printer who was also a deli owner :)

Hopefully, my primary point was made..even though I should've 'dropped the salami' to make my case more accurately.

Thanks for checking in and keeping tabs on me!

Until next time,
MD
Gordon Woolf - Posted on October 03, 2009
I've actually run both a deli and a print shop (at different times!) as well as newspapers and magazines. And I'm sorry to suggest your example is wrong, Margie.

The equivalent would be the deli which rang you to say they "have the latest electronic scales which can weigh in hundredths of an ounce, and the latest wide-beam auto-cleaning slicer, the fridges are by Westinghouse and maintain temperatures within a degree even if you keep opening the door...

If they told me they had Genoa Salami, that might actually be useful information.

You are of course right to say it doesn't matter to the customer what equipment a print shop has, no more than the brand of fridge in the deli (in fact we kept going with some pretty ancient fridges with new seals and a coolroom which brought drinks down from room temp so the fridges could keep coping during summer, just as we did some pretty remarkable things in cutting and creasing with an old British Vertical thanks to a skilled pressman, though I'd never have admitted then to what we were using.
Margie Dana - Posted on October 03, 2009
Ilene,

I hear you! It's one thing to make an assumption, as he initially did with you, but when you specifically asked him/them to correct it and your request was ignored, well, they should have known better.

And I really dislike those cold callers who start making small talk with me right off the bat - like we're old friends! Who is teaching these folks to sell like this?

Margie
Rich Sohanchyk - Posted on October 02, 2009
I'm a print broker and I get tons of letters from potential vendors with the name and size of presses but NO SAMPLES. All I want to know is if your work is drop dead gorgeous and priced within my budget. The only equipment I might want to know about is bindery. If you sub out bindery, I could do that myself and save the markup. However, I use printers all over the US so that's often a moot point. Would only apply locally.
Ilene Klinghoffer - Posted on October 02, 2009
A relatively well known printer started sending sales material that began "Dear Ilene, " and, when the sales rep called, he asked for me by my first name. We never had spoken previously, nor had we been introduced. If we had, I would have invited him to use my first name -- I'm fairly casual, and actually prefer it.

However, I was taken aback by the assumed familiarity. I remarked this, and was told it wouldn't happen again.

You know where this is going. The very next letter that arrived began "Dear Ilene," so I tossed it. I don't even open their mail any more.