Are Your Samples Costing You Clients?
If the buyer is just trying to get a general sense of what your capabilities are, keep in mind they can’t really make informed decisions on the quality of producing a complicated piece from a tri-fold brochure. A few clicks on their company Website should give you a good idea of what they print—especially if they are an ad agency or marketing firm or designer with an online portfolio, and a good eye can deduce a ballpark cost per piece. Showing you understand their needs without a million questions also shows you “get” them, and will work well as a partner.
The opportunity for the value add here is to include—“I saw some of the amazing work on your site, and I’ve sent you some samples I believe are very comparable. I also tossed in a few that have additional finishing’s we do in house so you can see how a little pop can make a lot of difference.” Bringing ideas to the table in a helpful manner versus being seen as up-selling could be why you are chosen over another provider.
In some cases, buyers are directed to use specific printers by their clients. We don’t like that. We know you have a relationship with the client, and we don’t know if we can trust you not to throw us under the bus if something goes wrong, or if you will “complain” about the way we do things, or really anything that having a direct relationship with our clients can open up. It doesn’t matter that you were there first, if we can move you out of the picture without causing a client issue we will try, and sometimes this is done by calling in samples hoping that we can point out why “our” vendor(s) are better.
This one is a tough situation, but if you can communicate that you are aware of it, equally vested in having us as a long-term client, explain why the client trusts you with their work but you also understand there has to be trust between us, things will go a lot smoother. In this case, send all the samples of work you have printed for the client so the agency can “improve” upon it and solidify their worth. A valuable resource for inside information will be embraced rather than discarded.
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist, international speaker and blogger, host of Podcasts From The Printerverse, cultivator of Print Production Professionals the No. 1 print group on LinkedIn, Girl No. 1 at Girls Who Print, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4PM ET on Twitter, the founder of International Print Day and the founder of #ProjectPeacock. She is the recipient of several industry honors and sits on the board of the The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, and is an advisor for the Advertising Production Club of NYC.
Deborah has 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer and now works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers and members, and achieve success with their social media, content marketing, event marketing and sales endeavors.