Sales Reps: Can’t Live With Them; Can’t Live Without ’em
Print buyers love to complain about printing sales reps that don’t make the grade—annoying guys (and gals) who are clueless, arrogant, slimy, or are just a pain in general. On the other hand, print buyers also are the biggest supporters of worthy sales reps.
In a PBO Quick Poll, Print Buyers Online.com asked 83 top print buyers: “How much of the decision to work with a print supplier is based on the sales rep that handles your account?” Interestingly, three out of four print buyers (76%) said that “whether the sales rep is the right fit and provides value is a huge part of the decision to work with a particular print supplier.” Only 24% said “It’s nice to have a good sales rep, but the sales rep isn’t a big part of the decision to work with a particular print supplier.”
One print buyer put it this way: “The print sales rep is the glue that connects the client, designer and the folks inside the printing plant. We select printers based on quality and price and ‘deselect’ them based on poor service—which almost always translates into print rep quality.”
Another print buyer offered this advice: “Sales reps must offer a compelling reason to use their services from the start. I place a high value on enthusiasm. There are many times when pricing is so close that it is my call which vendor to award the job to. If the rep has asked questions about the job and truly shown me that he/she is interested in producing the job, I will award it to the most engaged rep. It is usually these same reps that follow up with a phone call and ask ‘Is there anything else I can do to be awarded the job?’ I also value honesty. A seasoned buyer will always know when the printer is not telling the truth. Even when we need to hear bad news, we appreciate hearing it as soon as it happens so we’re able to align the expectations of our clients.”
In the eyes of the print buyer, the sales rep IS the printing company. What are your thoughts on this?