Are Your Samples Costing You Clients?

Many people reading Printing Impressions are probably aware of my Print Production Professionals group on LinkedIn. What isn’t widely known is that I also have a Buyers only subgroup with over 1,500 members from some of the biggest companies and brands in the world. Most of the time they are pretty quiet and busy doing 15 projects at once, but every now and again and they get pretty vocal when the topic hits home. The latest, samples they receive from printers.

Instead of just repeating what they had to say, in this blog I am going to offer printers some valuable navigation advice to avoid sample request land mines. Please note per my blog “Coffee Is For Closers” here on PI, in NO WAY am I offering or equipped to give sales advice. I am however more than qualified to offer relationship advice! Think of me as your Print Buying Dear Abbey…

Like anything else you do with a customer, sample requests should be collaborative. It’s unfair for buyers to make general sample requests when they have something specific in mind they want to see, and it’s a waste of your time and money to send a package that is irrelevant to their needs.

If you don’t already have a sample system in place, try to make sure all requests are addressed by a qualified human being who can have an intelligent discussion with the requestor about their business, and the type of work they are looking to see. This is a great way to open a dialogue that focuses solely on the needs of the requestor. Listening is a skill, and it’s appreciated.

Sending samples also becomes a great opportunity for you to value add without SELLING! For example, a hand-written note in the package—“Deborah, here are the direct mail pieces we discussed. I’ve included a few samples we didn’t that highlight additional personalization opportunities. Looking forward to hearing from you.” Leaving the ball in the buyers’ court, until a reasonable amount of time has passed before a follow up, helps buyers feel comfortable with you. Comfort goes a long way.

Deborah is the Principal and Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at PrintMediaCentr which provides topical information and resources to the Print & Integrated Marketing community, with some fun in the mix! She also is the founder of the Print Production Professionals Group on LinkedIN and works behind the scenes with several print organizations and companies helping with their marketing and social media efforts. With more than 24 years of experience in print production, print buying and project management, Corn has worked for some of the largest and most influential ad agencies and has played an integral role in projects that have won ADDY, CA and other advertising award honors.
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