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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.

 

The Buyer Will See You Now. Or Not.

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Don't take it personally if a print buying prospect declines to meet with you. She (or he, but typically a "she") is constantly working on multiple projects. They're not all print-related, either. She might be doing project management, budget development and mailing and fulfillment. It's possible she's in charge of procuring other products and services as well. And I have a hunch that many buyers are getting more involved in other media for their employers' marketing communications needs.

Print buyers' roles are changing drastically, because print is no longer the primary medium of choice.  (If this is news to you, either you're a brand, spankin' new sales rep with no history in the field or your ears are blocked from having your head planted in the sand for the past 12 months.)

Keep in mind that print buyers today work with a small number of print providers. In fact, 65% of the buyers who registered for our recent print buyers conference in Westford, MA, work with between 6 and 10 printers. This is typical of most corporate print buyers.

Buyers are already getting what they need (or at least they believe they are) from their preferred printers, and most of them they have neither the time nor the interest in interviewing other printers who offer the same services.

What's that? You offer something totally different? Prove it. You'd better be able to convince a prospect that your products and services are demonstrably different — measurably better — than her current printers.

Most print buyers enjoy the status quo when it comes to print providers. Think "If it's not broke, why fix it."

But there's a particular type of print buying pro who stands apart. She wants to know who else is out there and what they're offering. This tends to be the buyer with years and years of experience—the one who loves print for print's sake. It's much easier getting appointments with her...as long as you can (still) convince her that you're different and that you have some exciting new capability that would benefit her firm.

I suppose you want me to tell you how to know who'll see you and who won't. If only it were that simple. It's just one more reason why printers need to "call prepared" if you cold call prospects. Think like the prospect. Imagine she's been working with a core group of printers for several years.

What could you say to her that would convince her to let you rock the boat?

Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Lee Sambol - Posted on December 04, 2009
Margie,
You say "You'd better be able to convince a prospect that your products and services are demonstrably different — measurably better — than her current printers." The problem is 90% of the printers in the U.S. with over 50 employees are all offering the same basic set of services and capabilities. The truth of the matter is the only thing that makes us different is the individual salesperson or employee at the printing company. This is impossible to demonstrate over the phone quickly enough to get an appointment. I am sure many buyers are dealing with poor salespeople because they are to apathetic or scared to try somebody new from time to time. How do you suggest we get around this?

Thanks,
Lee
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Lee Sambol - Posted on December 04, 2009
Margie,
You say "You'd better be able to convince a prospect that your products and services are demonstrably different — measurably better — than her current printers." The problem is 90% of the printers in the U.S. with over 50 employees are all offering the same basic set of services and capabilities. The truth of the matter is the only thing that makes us different is the individual salesperson or employee at the printing company. This is impossible to demonstrate over the phone quickly enough to get an appointment. I am sure many buyers are dealing with poor salespeople because they are to apathetic or scared to try somebody new from time to time. How do you suggest we get around this?

Thanks,
Lee