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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.


Icy Cold Calls - the Print Sales Faux Pas

The number one mistake every print rep makes when prospecting is…? Drum roll, please!

Yup, it’s not knowing your prospective customer. So go ahead, pick up that phone without doing a hint of homework, and dial the number of someone on your list who’s supposedly the print buyer/originator. As a seasoned print buying pro commented to me at the PBI Print & Media last month, “Cold calls get cold responses.”

If I were a sales manager for a printing company, I’d focus on effective prospecting techniques before I moved on to treating customers well. There’s absolutely no excuse for making a cold call without having done your homework on the Internet—Google, LinkedIn, the company’s website – pick one or review all three. Add to that whatever knowledge or news you can glean about a prospect’s company and industry. That’s all it takes; a few minutes of research.

The next time I get one of these calls from a print rep, instead of hustling him off the phone quickly, I’m going to ask how long he’s been in the business and whether or not he’s the owner. I’ll do it for every cold call from now on for six months and report back. I hope the results show that it’s brand new reps who fail to do their homework, but I’m not at all convinced.

You want to avoid the cold brush off? Avoid making icy cold calls.

And BTW, just so you don’t think I give bad emails a pass, I’ll share with you the latest opening line of an email I got today from an industry publisher:

Dear  ,

We are writing to you as a ____________ publication subscriber.

This is just as big a faux pas. Send an email that drops a customer’s name—or, even worse, inserts the wrong name entirely—and, like Michael Corleone said to his brother Fredo, “You’re dead to me.” Seriously, it’s a really stupid mistake to make in a mass email, especially since you have the names of your subscribers.

Lack of due diligence and using the wrong name (or no name!) of your customer in a mailing? Both are real turn offs.

Industry Centers:



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