Buyers Do Not Care!

One thing has become clear to me, after having time with print buyers across the country. They do not care! So, you are thinking, “Ryan, what don’t they care about?” Good question.

Well, first there is no (for the most part) full-time print buyer in today’s world. There are people, such as a communications manager or a marketing director, who oversee this responsibility among many other duties. And, they see printing as a necessary evil. This means one more thing they have to handle and get done.

Second, many have come to view print as a commodity and that low price is what matters. Third, they do not care about your equipment, FSC certifications, high-quality work, automated proofing or color control systems. Sorry—to them this sounds like you are Charlie Brown. You know…WHAH-WA—WHAH-WA—WHAH-WA.

Have you ever heard of the acronym WIFM? You know the one that means “what’s in it for me?” I challenge you to tune in to a new station in your sales efforts. The call number is WIFT. What’s in it for them? What are you bringing to the table that really wows a buyer? Anything? I cannot tell you the number of times in my career—in either running a printing company or consulting in the field—that I have watched a salesperson bore a buyer and me to death.

You see, if you want them to care, you need them to understand your “why,” not your whats and hows. If you sell at the “why” level, you communicate how you can provide them headache relief and powerful solutions. In contrast, when you share at the “how and what” level, you talk about basic and boring things.

For example, work and turn versus sheet wise OR the weight of the paper, OR the type of ink, OR inline of offline processes OR line screen. This is ALL BORING. They do not care. For that matter, I do not care…and quite frankly, anyone who is going to remain relevant in sales in 2013 and beyond in this industry, needs to embrace this as soon as possible.

Ryan T. Sauers is the president of Sauers Consulting Strategies. The firm consults with the front end of printing and related organizations across the U.S. Key focus areas include: sales growth, brand positioning, organizational communications, organizational strategy, and integrated marketing. Sauers is a national speaker and writes feature articles in global publications. He is also an adjunct university professor teaching leadership, communication, and entrepreneurship to business leaders. Sauers has been recognized as a thought leader in human behavior. He is a Certified Myers Briggs and DiSC Practitioner, as well as a Certified Marketing Executive. He is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and will achieve certification in Emotional Intelligence later this year. Sauers is author of the best-selling books: "Everyone is in Sales" and "Would You Buy from You?" Visit:

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  • Jim Intihar


    I don’t always agree with what you say but on this topic I’m in full agreement. It reinforces my personal believe and what Bill Farquharson has been saying for years. People don’t care about equipments lists and capabilities. Our sales and customer service folks must engage in "WIFT" thinking. The days of order taking are over. Everyone in our industry must strive to be more solutions oriented to not just survive but thrive.

    Jim Intihar