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Print Confessions

By Graphic Arts Professionals

About Print

Print Confessions is brought to you by Bill Farquharson and Kelly Mallozzi. Each week, read the thoughts of a different graphic arts professional who will share a point of view that can only be written anonymously, and then join in the conversation by posting a comment.

Hey Chicken Little…the Sky Is NOT Falling

“I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for.”—Thornton Wilder

Recently, a seasoned veteran print sales person left our company claiming, “Print is dead.” He had horrible sales volumes over the last three years. The reps complaint—or, more precisely, his excuse—was that no one is buying print. That’s funny, my presses are running.

But, I see his point; it’s different out there. It’s not that people aren’t buying print, it’s that people are buying print and using it differently. And, professional print buyers are not the only people buying print; administrative assistants and CEOs need to buy print, too.

Businesses operate differently today and they communicate differently today. As a result, the smart print communication partner ask, “How can I help you communicate with your customers?”

So, is print different? Yes, but the better question to ask might be, “Are people different?” Does anyone want a subject matter expert anymore? Does this new buyer really know as much about print as I do? I doubt it, but that does not matter.

Buyers don’t need a print sales person. They are looking for someone to help them communicate with their customers in a relevant, timely manner. They need a partner who will roll up their sleeves and work hard to understand their businesses and be active in them. This is not the role of order taker; this is the model of how a relationship works.

Here’s the deal...I’m the one in charge. Do I blame the sales person for not being able to make his sales numbers? Or, do I blame the economy? Do I change my sales management style? Do I put more goals and incentives in place? What made this person—this print veteran—decide “print is dead?”

The reality is, some people are able to change, morph and grow. Some are not. I believe the traits for success include intelligence, nimbleness, creativity and the ability to be authentic. He just did not understand the benefit of a true vendor/customer partnership in which trust, teamwork and results really matter.

So, Chicken Little, the sky is not falling. Print is not dead. It’s just with it!

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