Like the rest of us, print buyers have come through a challenging time. COVID has surely affected their jobs, and the profession itself has changed as print’s place in the marketing spectrum has evolved.
Today’s buyers include highly experienced professionals who understand the technicalities of print and are fascinated by equipment, and newly minted entrants who are likely to be digital natives or marketers without a great deal of printing experience. For them, buying print is not a primary function, but only one task in a broader portfolio. And let’s not forget that a lot of print buying has moved online.
So, what do these professionals expect from the print-buying experience? Great service, wow-level quality, and great prices are still important, so be prepared to present those details during meetings. But tailor your presentation to the expectations of each individual buyer. Like everything else, customization matters.
Here are some other points to keep in mind.
Be COVID Sensitive
You’re likely stressed from the last three years. Your business may have been whiplashed and you’ve had to reset. So have print buyers. Be sensitive to their challenges, be empathetic, listen, and don’t push. This could be a time for you to truly shine and prove your worth.
Print buyers are stretched. When they agree to a meeting, they won’t want to waste time telling you basic facts about their company. Dig into LinkedIn, other social platforms, Google, and their website. Try to understand the company and the industry it which it operates. If you can, look at and try out their products or services, or check out their physical locations. Examine how they use print and digital channels.
Talk About You a Little
If the print buyer doesn’t know you, take a few minutes to introduce your company. They will be interested in how you present yourself. Be prepared with your list of equipment, speak knowledgeably about your technical capabilities, your prices, your expertise, and your certifications. Focus on their needs. For example, if you know the buyer purchases color-critical jobs, point out your G7 color certification. If it’s not relevant, keep it to yourself.
Talk About Them a Lot
Actually, listen to them intently. Print buyers are people and people like to be heard. Home in on key issues that matter to their success. Discuss challenges and goals and present solutions. Discover what exemplary service means to them and prove you can meet their requirements. Show them you can be an asset and lead value-added discussions about client retention, conversion rates, regulatory compliance, or any other priority they mention. If you’re discussing equipment, explain what it can do for them. Today’s buyers are juggling a lot and they value a supplier who can make their jobs easier.
Talk About More than Print
Many of today’s print buyers don’t have the luxury of focusing only on print. They may juggle all kinds of marketing platforms. By all means, show them how to best use print, but also assure them you understand communications and integrated marketing. Print buyers are looking for suppliers that keep up with trends and can help with managing multiple requirements.
Walk the Talk
As we said up top, many print buyers today are digital natives. They do just about everything online and will probably expect to deal that way with you, too. Make sure they can build orders, submit them, monitor jobs, get a quote, proof work, and ask questions online. This is how modern lives are made easier.
Say Thank You
Regardless of whether they’re newbies or seasoned professionals, buyers will appreciate a follow up. Send a thank you, furnish information that you researched, or send samples. It shows you value them enough to take time out of your crazy day to express appreciation.
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