DeWese--Print Buyers Speak Their Minds
One by one, around the table, the participants thoughtfully articulated the characteristics they seek and the criteria they apply to the printing companies they use. They didn't fumble for answers. They gave no incomplete answers. They gave in-depth answers and gave examples. They seemed to feed on one another.
This group of nine women and six men were obviously seasoned, veteran, print buyers who knew what they were doing. I would have to be at my best. They were smart. They had personalities. They took pride in their work. Several of the participants had worked for printing companies before becoming print buyers. Some had run presses. Others had worked in customer service, estimating and production.
None of them was holding back, so I asked them, "What things would disqualify a printer?"
Now the group was relaxed and into the process, and they began to respond spontaneously by raising their hands.
One by one, they opened up about their dislikes and the deadly mistakes a printer can make to lose their favor. They also talked about the sales behavior of sales reps during the prospecting process. These comments ranged from a salesperson's behavior on a first call to the voicemail sales pitches left by prospecting salespeople.
Notice that I'm not giving you any of the actual responses. I had to promise Nick Wagner, the president of the Printing Industries of Michigan, that I wouldn't divulge any of the content of the report (see box, page 75) that PIM will be selling to printers across the United States.
I will leak this. One of the print buyers, a woman who supervises 20 people in the print production department, said, "I'll tell you one thing that turns us off: It's a prospecting salesperson who has done no research on us. Salespeople who know nothing about us have not paid their dues. It's insulting when they call, because they know nothing about our company or what we print."