Who's the Boss?
If you promise not to tell anyone else, I'll let you in on a little secret: an easy way to impress your print customers is to show them who's boss.
I'm not kidding. Customers feel more appreciated, more valued if the company brass makes itself known to them.
You may be the most experienced, most successful print sales rep on the face of the earth, but unless you are also the company president, your star doesn't shine as brightly as that of the Big Cheese.
Back when I was a corporate print buyer for a mutual fund company here in Boston, I worked with several financial printers. Two of them stand out in my mind (and were favorites back then), partly because the presidents of each firm knew me and treated me with professional respect and appreciation.
George H. Dean of Braintree, MA, was a major print partner of ours for decades. I worked directly with the owner and president, the late Earle Michaud. Did I feel special? You betcha.
We also did a lot of work with the now-defunct Daniels Printing of Everett, MA. Although I was fortunate to work with one of the best salesman anywhere, I also knew one of the owners, Mr. Lee Daniels. His taking the time to chat with me whenever I was on press translated into "your business means a lot to me."
Since commercial print quality is more or less the same anywhere you go today, I suggest that printing firms find ways to add value to their client experiences, in ways large (ancillary services) and small (be personable).
How much does it cost a company to have the president call top customers once or twice a year, just to say hello — and thanks? A handwritten note (emphasis on handwritten) from the president would also go a long way in client relations.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com