How to Make a Sale: A Print Buyer Weighs In
Other Random Tips and Pointers:
- At any and every stage of this, be prepared for the possibility that you're just not a fit for me or my company. When that happens, just accept it and move on, but try again in 12-18 months. Maybe things have changed and I need a new printer, or you have a new service to offer.
- My company and products are unique, just like those of every other customer. That's why you need to customize your pitch for me and them.
- Don't use buzzwords like "one-stop shop," "lowest prices," "state of the art," etc. from the get-go. They are meaningless. We've heard them dozens of times.
- You are, to me, the face of your company. This means you're the one I'm going to think of and go to when I have a compliment, problem or suggestion, regardless (or because) of my experience with anyone else in the company.
- Some of my sales reps like to be looped in on all my communications with CSRs and other plant employees. Others don't want to hear from me again once a job is submitted. Guess which of the two I prefer, and why?
- No gifts unless the relationship is long-term and established, and then only for the holidays. Keep them modest and reasonably priced. Under no conditions should you ever give a gift for something personal, such as a wedding or child birth.
- Print buying is one of my many responsibilities. My time—and attention—are limited. Make the most of it.
- You really should have an e-mail address with your company URL. Also, in every e-mail, always include your complete contact information.
- Even if we've known each other for a long time and have done many jobs together, don't swear. Enough people are upset by foul language, so you should be careful.
- Don't follow or send me a friend request on my personal social media. I have coworkers on there, and having a vendor on there could be construed as favoritism. Plus, if I did, every other printer would know who I'm doing business with. Sorry, but even if we have a great and long-term working relationship, it's not appropriate.
- It's possible I may be very happy with my current printers, and have been with them for years. Establishing a relationship with a new one will take time, effort and paperwork, and we may not be able to devote to that at the moment.
- We can tell when a salesperson truly cares about and knows print, and when they're just collecting a paycheck.
- This is another one that far too few printers do—have some really nice business cards. You're a printer. Show it off! Get some nice stock, like Neenah, Strathmore, or a C2S. Make it heavier than 80-lb., but not some awkward size. Better still, make it 4/1 and screen your logo or knock your URL, motto or some company info. out on the back. Print sells, so if I get a card from another employee, the colors, layout, size and fonts match. And print it with ink; toner isn't there quite yet. Show off something your company does well and specializes in. Be creative, but not ostentatious. Make something your customers are going to want to hold onto and not toss.
- One printer I used to work with would give out a sheet with pictures, names and short bios of everyone on their customer service team with whom we worked. This was an excellent idea because we were able to attach faces to names and it made the relationship much more personal. PI