The Buyer Will See You Now. Or Not.
Don't take it personally if a print buying prospect declines to meet with you. She (or he, but typically a "she") is constantly working on multiple projects. They're not all print-related, either. She might be doing project management, budget development and mailing and fulfillment. It's possible she's in charge of procuring other products and services as well. And I have a hunch that many buyers are getting more involved in other media for their employers' marketing communications needs.
Print buyers' roles are changing drastically, because print is no longer the primary medium of choice. (If this is news to you, either you're a brand, spankin' new sales rep with no history in the field or your ears are blocked from having your head planted in the sand for the past 12 months.)
Keep in mind that print buyers today work with a small number of print providers. In fact, 65% of the buyers who registered for our recent print buyers conference in Westford, MA, work with between 6 and 10 printers. This is typical of most corporate print buyers.
Buyers are already getting what they need (or at least they believe they are) from their preferred printers, and most of them they have neither the time nor the interest in interviewing other printers who offer the same services.
What's that? You offer something totally different? Prove it. You'd better be able to convince a prospect that your products and services are demonstrably different — measurably better — than her current printers.
Most print buyers enjoy the status quo when it comes to print providers. Think "If it's not broke, why fix it."
But there's a particular type of print buying pro who stands apart. She wants to know who else is out there and what they're offering. This tends to be the buyer with years and years of experience—the one who loves print for print's sake. It's much easier getting appointments with her...as long as you can (still) convince her that you're different and that you have some exciting new capability that would benefit her firm.
I suppose you want me to tell you how to know who'll see you and who won't. If only it were that simple. It's just one more reason why printers need to "call prepared" if you cold call prospects. Think like the prospect. Imagine she's been working with a core group of printers for several years.
What could you say to her that would convince her to let you rock the boat?
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