The Right Way to Call Print Buyers
My last PI blog post dealt with print buyers screening sales calls. This practice is efficient, no matter how frustrating it may be to salespeople. It also doesn’t mean your calls won’t be returned—just that you’d better leave something memorable in that voice mail.
The last thing I want to do is put words in your mouth when you call a prospect. There’s no specific script that works every time; buyers are different. I’d guess most get an average of 5 to 10 calls a week from printers, so they’ve heard it all. You need to plan.
Here are nine tips to help you prepare for sales calls to prospects. For more details, please read my April column in the Printing Impressions printed edition.
1. Do your research first. Find out what you can about the prospect’s company and industry before calling. I’m still surprised how many salespeople fail at this.
2. Check out your prospect on LinkedIn. Chances are, he or she is there. LinkedIn profiles have tons of good information.
3. Know why your best customers stick with you. Is it really because you have two 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmasters? I doubt it. Don’t define yourself by your presses.
4. Know their names. Please try and get the prospect’s name correct. I have nothing against the first name “Dana,” but it’s my last name. When I hear it in an informal greeting, it means someone didn’t take enough care.
5. Assume someone is very busy. When you get someone on the phone, always ask if it’s a good time to chat for a few minutes or ask when you might call back.
6. Remember that it’s not about you; it’s about them. Refrain from the “We do this and this and that.” spiel. Find out more about what they do and what they might need from you.
7. Don’t sound “canned.” Some salespeople sound like they’ve given the same pitch over and over again without a change in the script. That’s just lame.
8. What’s the ace up your sleeve? If you have a referral from a friend or colleague, you’re golden—at least for the initial call. What else would impress a print buyer? Lots of things come to mind. You were a buyer once. You worked in the same industry—or company. You share a hometown or home state (that’s where social media research comes in handy).
9. Offer to follow up with an e-mail. When I reach someone who’s too busy to chat, I offer to send an e-mail with lots more detail about why I’m calling. They always say yes.
I hope these tips help. Try and take the “sales” out of your sales calls. Doing research first is the most important tip I can give you. In my upcoming PI column, I’ll go into more detail about all of these suggestions.
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