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President, Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference

Connecting with Print Buyers

By Suzanne Morgan

About Suzanne

Suzanne Morgan is president of the annual Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference (www.printoasis.com) and Print Buyers Online.com, a free educational e-community for print buyers and their print suppliers (www.printbuyersonline.com). PBO has more than 11,000 members who buy $13 billion a year in printing. PBO conducts weekly research on buying trends and teaches organizations how to work more effectively with their print suppliers.

 

It’s Not Cool to “Drop By” Without an Appointment

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If there’s one topic that riles print buyers, it’s asking them if it’s okay for printing sales reps to “drop by” to see them without an appointment. We asked that question in last week’s Print Buyers Online.com’s Print Buyer Quick Poll. Out of the 133 print buyer respondents, 71% said “No, it’s almost never okay – even with print suppliers that I often use. This really irritates me.”

Check out the full results of the survey, plus buyer commentary here: http://www.printbuyersonline.com/content.asp?id=3533 . Also, check out what printers said about this same topic in our Print Supplier Quick Poll: http://www.printbuyersonline.com/content.asp?id=3534

While most sales reps respectfully refrain from dropping by, there are still a few that will argue until they are blue in the face that even though print buyers say they don’t like it, the rep ends up getting business this way. As a former print buyer this frustrates me and reminds me of Peggy (real name!), a former print sales rep that used to call on me.

I liked Peggy and found her very attentive and knowledgeable. I gave her company a fair amount of work. However, I hated that Peggy would stop by the office at least once a week singing “Hi, I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by to see you!” I told Peggy three times that I’d be happy to see her, but that she needed to call first to make an appointment – that I couldn’t accommodate her if she just dropped by. Peggy didn’t honor that request and while I didn’t cut out her company altogether, I slowly moved work away from her company and gave it to sales reps from other companies who listened to me.

What has been your experience with this? If you’ve been in the industry for a while, have you noticed a change in the acceptance of drop bys from print buyers?

Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
tjw - Posted on June 27, 2007
If your dropping by you become a professional visitor not a professional salesperson. Be prepared and expect the unexpected oppurtunities.
David Fox - Posted on June 20, 2007
It may be ignorance... Since it seems like most reps aren't as well-versed in print as they are in being a salesperson. Perhaps they are under the impression that all a "print buyer" does everyday is buy print. Ergo, they think dropping by makes the buyer's jobs easier - almost like 'anticipating' their needs for print.
Bruce McCurley - Posted on June 18, 2007
Blame it on the printing company owners. Almost without exception, they require their sales reps to make a minimum of 7 in-person sales calls per day, and if the rep cannot get that many appointments during some days due to scheduling conflicts or otherwise, he or she will have to include some drop-by's to keep the boss happy whether they produce sales or not.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
tjw - Posted on June 27, 2007
If your dropping by you become a professional visitor not a professional salesperson. Be prepared and expect the unexpected oppurtunities.
David Fox - Posted on June 20, 2007
It may be ignorance... Since it seems like most reps aren't as well-versed in print as they are in being a salesperson. Perhaps they are under the impression that all a "print buyer" does everyday is buy print. Ergo, they think dropping by makes the buyer's jobs easier - almost like 'anticipating' their needs for print.
Bruce McCurley - Posted on June 18, 2007
Blame it on the printing company owners. Almost without exception, they require their sales reps to make a minimum of 7 in-person sales calls per day, and if the rep cannot get that many appointments during some days due to scheduling conflicts or otherwise, he or she will have to include some drop-by's to keep the boss happy whether they produce sales or not.