How to Make a Sale: A Print Buyer Weighs In
(Editor's Note: At the request of the experienced print buyer who authored this piece, Printing Impressions agreed to keep the identity of the writer anonymous.)
So, you're a print salesperson trying to get a new account. Maybe you're changing careers or are young, so you don't have much experience. Maybe it's a third-generation family business, or you got the job when "Where's the beef?" was airing on TV. Heck, maybe you're the company owner. Regardless, it can't hurt to get the perspective of a print buyer.
To be honest, I have a great deal of respect for printing industry salespeople. I've never sold print, and I don't think I could. It seems like an incredibly tough job, full of uncertainty and instability in an industry that's changing so fast it's almost impossible to keep on top of it. I'm not unsympathetic, but sympathy alone does not a new customer make.
I have been involved in print one way or another since 1998, and I have heard many sales pitches. Sad to say, in all that time, I'm still seeing the same mistakes repeated by reps trying to get that new account—and just blowing it. I have put together some pointers, based on my own experiences and those of others, which I've both witnessed and heard about. It's not my intention to tell you how to do your job, and I don't claim to speak for everyone in a position like mine.
The minute that one party thinks the attempt to reach out is a waste of their time, they're right. That's why I'm really doing this: to help both parties. Every print buyer wants a pool of good printers, shops that know the industry is much more than putting ink on paper. You want a repeat customer whose jobs are a good fit for your equipment, bottom line and business philosophy.