Sales Relationships : Don’t Cut Out Print Buyers
evok actually hosts a “brown bag lunch” twice a month, where vendors (many of which are printers) can come in and speak to relevant agency types in regards to their products and services. It’s a 90-minute opportunity for suppliers to showcase how they can make life easier for evok and its clients.
There are other ways to wow Meador without stepping on his toes. He suggests printers send monthly e-newsletters to their clients and prospects, including agencies, highlighting a recent job or discussing how a certain technology could augment a marketing initiative, for example. White papers are another way to an ad agency’s heart, according to Meador. These case studies can bring to light the hows and whys behind a recent project, and give the reader food for thought.
The relationship dynamic between printer and print buyer can be a contentious one when the former attempts to bypass the latter. Bill Farquharson, president of print sales training firm Aspire For, points out the double-edged sword involved in balancing print buyer diplomacy with the needs of the printer.
“You want to find the person who is filling out the requisition form,” notes Farquharson, who underscores the importance of salespeople researching client requisitioners via the Web. “Number one, you can better identify the needs of the customer. The buyer just has a bunch of specs. But the requisitioner is the one who is saying, ‘This is how the document is used.’ The key to selling profitably is to come up with the best print solution, and the print buyer is not necessarily going to have that information.”
Farquharson has enjoyed past success with courting requisitioners, who soon began to design job specs to better match his equipment. However, he does not recommend bypassing the print buyer in a stealth manner. “I’m not saying go behind (the buyer’s) back, because you’re going to need the buyer at some point,” he cautions.