Things that Print Buyers Won’t Tolerate

Remember that old “$100,000 Pyramid”* game show? It was a contest between two teams, each comprised of a TV celebrity and an “average Joe,” who hoped to win the game and, therefore, a lot of money.

There was a big electronic board filled with a pyramid of different categories, which were hidden from the “average Joes.” Each contestant’s partner tried to get him/her to correctly guess the names of categories (worth a certain amount of money) by suggesting things that would be included in each category. Categories moving up the pyramid got increasingly more difficult to identify—and worth more money.

If I hosted such a game show, there’d be a category called: “Things that Print Buyers Won’t Tolerate – for Long.”

Here are some examples of clues a contestant’s partner might give to get him or her to guess the category correctly.

  • Dishonest printers and sales reps – God help you if they catch you in a lie.
  • Waiting too long for a price estimate.
  • Having the spec’d paper switched by a printer—without the buyer’s permission or even knowledge.
  • Invoices that don’t come anywhere near the estimate, even when specs didn’t change; or if they did change, without any discussion about the price by the sales rep.
  • Unresponsive sales or service reps.
  • Sales or service reps impossible to reach by phone in a timely fashion.
  • Misrepresentation (of what printers can and can’t do, equipment at the plant, etc.).
  • Unprofessional behavior.
  • A habit of missing delivery dates.

This is a short, but powerful, list. I can also share another category I’d like to use in this game: “Things that Endear Printers to Their Customers.” It would be much longer.

Another time, perhaps?

* According to Wikipedia, this show started in 1973 as the $10,000 Pyramid, with the late Dick Clark as the host.

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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  • Bacchus Bacchus P

    Here’s one to add to the list – not taking accountability for issues that arise.

  • Inquisitive Sales Rep


    What would you consider "timely fashion"? Also, do you think buyers care if its a CSR they work on production detail? Today’s sales world has changed greatly and a salesperson needs to be focused on developing business even more than before and being able to get away from their desk and email is what it takes. I think its the industry’s perception that it has to be the sale rep doing all the project managing, but I’m not so sure. What are your thoughts?

  • pb1

    I would add- Complaining when they don’t win the job.

    This is not to be confused with asking why they lost a job

  • dataguy

    An interesting list would be the top ten reasons printers quit selling to a client.

  • timb78

    Margie – did you ever create that other list – Things that Endear Printers to Their Customers?