Send Relevant Samples – Please!

During our recent 6th Annual Print & Media Conference, we held a couple of brainstorming sessions. In these forums, attendees are welcome to discuss their current challenges, ask for advice, and share resources.

At one point, we were talking about how printers can make an impression on prospective customers. It started with a question posed by one of our 16 sponsors, and it led to an animated discussion among the almost 100 people present. It’s one of those topics that always—always—comes up when I have a conversation with printers.

Yet, no matter how many years pass and how many articles or blog posts we read and digest about the right and wrong ways to approach a prospect, this point about sending appropriate samples doesn’t quite sink in. If you’re contacting a new prospect, find out as much about this person’s company as you can before sending samples of work you’ve done for other customers.

If nothing else, send relevant samples!

This requires a little bit of homework, but it can be done in a matter of minutes with a standard Web search. The subject came up over and over again at the conference last week and comes down to this:

Printers, do your homework before contacting new prospects.

Find out what business a prospect is in—what products and services does the company sell and how are they marketed? Tailor your samples, and your approach, to the prospect.

On the second day of this session, I asked all audience members to finish this thought: “All things being equal, I prefer to work with a printer that…”

I can’t share all of the secrets that I learned that day (or I’d have to kill you), but I will say that a popular response to this question was, “Knowing about my business and my industry.” If you can’t figure out how to do that effectively, I don’t quite know what to say. Isn’t it “Print Sales 101?”

Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched her new business in 2013 as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. Now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content.

You may know Margie as the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event production business, she’s still publishing her Print Tips newsletter. She looks forward to helping companies create and style all of their content so their potential customers sit up and take notice. For details and to sign up for her Print Tips and new marketing blog, visit or e-mail Margie at
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