DeWese--Print Buyers Speak Their Minds
Of course, I'm never one to say, "I told you so." But, darn it, I have been telling readers of this column—for more than 15 years—to research prospects before you call on them. I guess I'm not credible. I guess you think I'm just old rhetoric breath trying to make work for you. Now you've heard it from a print buyer.
Furthermore, the other 14 print buyers echoed her sentiments about salespeople who haven't done their precall preparation, research and planning.
Soon, the group led me into a discussion of samples. They told some horror stories of salespeople who show problem samples with hickeys, ghosting and poor binding. Oops! I just leaked something else.
Now, I couldn't stop the group. Every round of responses led to another easy question for me.
They talked about technology; what they need and where they see it headed. They talked about the people in printing companies, including the president, pressmen, bindery workers, CSRs, the estimating department and the receptionist.
Many of the group's complaints seemed to be easy things to fix. It was clear to me that no one had ever asked these buyers how they felt about the level of service they receive and expect. I began to think, "These buyers are giving our industry dozens of ideas for improvement. I'll bet no one ever asked them these questions before."
At the beginning of the session, I asked them to introduce themselves, their companies and talk about the kinds of printing they buy. Most of them openly revealed their 1999 print budgets. Their printing needs ran the gamut from short-run DocuTech or digital printing, to short-to-medium-run sheetfed, to web run lengths in the millions. The quality ranged from one- to three-color work, to pleasing color, to high-end eight- and 10-color work with exotic finishing.