Print Buyers Should Screen Calls
I have to laugh at the notion that professional print buyers owe it to printers to pick up the phone when you call them. Why do they owe it to you—or any salesperson?
I screen calls, don’t you? I’m busy, often in the middle of a project, and if I see an 800 number or an “Unknown caller,” I always let it go to voice mail. Every message gets listened to. Then I decide which calls to return. I’d say I return 9 out of 10 calls. That’s the beauty of caller ID. It helps me manage my time.
The idea that print buyers should answer every time the phone rings is ludicrous. If you have something they might need, make that clear in your message, and they’ll call you back.
A printer’s challenge is like every other salesperson’s: making an impression that is so convincing that a prospect gets in touch with you. If you’ve done your homework and have good information about what a prospect needs, regarding print-related products and services, then your message will get returned if you’ve left the right one.
What messages won’t get returned? Here are a few:
“We’re a sheetfed printer and I’d like to tell you more about our capabilities.”
“I’m trying to reach the person who buys printing for your company.”
“…we can save you 30 percent on your commercial printing. Call me back and I’ll tell you how!”
These are the kind of canned and common sales pitches some printers leave, even in 2011. I know because I get them. This is not exclusive to printing, of course. I get similar messages about different products, including telephone and Internet service. I don’t return those either.
Your phone message has to be memorable and professional, as do all of your sales tactics. A phone call shouldn’t be the only way you prospect for business.