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Commentary & Analysis

From the Old School to the New School Part 1: Characteristics of the New Style Print Buyer

By Terry Nagi Oh,

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: July 13, 2005

By Terry Nagi Oh, for the days when a print buyer had time to listen to all the print sales representative had to say. July 13, 2005 -- The professional, crusty but efficient print buyer of yesteryear is going by the wayside. More and more, print buying is being assigned to an individual with a wide variety of jobs, plus print buying. They lack experience, knowledge, desire, motivation, and long-term commitment to professional print buying. They are an extreme challenge, even to the most professional sales person. And to the new sales representative, they are often an enigma. Characteristics of the new style of print buyer include: The buyer who has too much to do tends to rely more and more upon a professional, knowledgeable print sales representative. No time available. They simply have too many tasks and not enough time. Oh, for the good old days when sales people and buyers had time to have a cup of coffee, a lunch or dinner to get to know one another. Oh, for the days when a print buyer had time to listen to all the print sales representative had to say. No available time is a severe challenge to the new print sales representative. Most print buyers only want to see the experienced. They have no time to train an inexperienced print sales representative. No time for lunch. Not only do they not have time, but they also prefer their own social activities. Before 8 AM and after 5PM--and even at lunchtime--they often pursue their own interests. Lunch or dinner with a sales representative is not normally part of these activities. Too much to do. In many ways, this is a positive benefit for any print sales representative. The buyer who has too much to do tends to rely more and more upon a professional, knowledgeable print sales representative. The busier they are, the better for the sales representative. Even though a new print sales representative may not be totally knowledgeable on the company's attributes, primary products, niche services, etc., enthusiasm to handle whatever the buyer requests can go a long way to establishing a strong relationship. More demanding. No time means greater demands. "I need it now, no matter what the circumstances are." The new print sales representative who is ready to accept the strong demands of any print buyer, realizing it is not necessarily the buyer's personality, but the operating circumstances will reap major rewards. More cautious. Prospecting is difficult for new print sales representatives. Buyers not only do not have the time, but they are extremely concerned with staking their reputation with a new supplier. The new print sales representative who makes him or herself as non-threatening as possible will have a better chance versus the slick sales type. Most buyers will consider paying more if there is a justifiable reason. More price conscious. There is no doubt that in every buying situation, people are more price conscious. This is especially true when the product is a commodity. Be it refrigerators or stoves, nuts and bolts, or even commercial printing, commoditization has definitely occurred. This forces print buyers to seek lowest cost as they cannot differentiate one printer from another. The main responsibility of a new print sales representative is to find any and all unique characteristics of the printer--those attributes, features and benefits that can help differentiate the printer from competitors. Most buyers will consider paying more if there is a justifiable reason. New sales representatives who rely upon the lowest bid will soon find themselves in trouble. Lack of loyalty. Although this may appear to be a continuing problem, lack of loyalty is more often related to lack of time, lack of knowledge, and pressures from bosses above to make the best deal. The new print sales representative who justifies their differences from other competitors, will see client loyalty increase. The most successful print sales representatives make print simple, not complex. Lack of knowledge. One of the real detriments to successfully selling a new prospect is their lack of knowledge of printing. Many buyers simply don't know the difference between one printer and another, and what they produce to differentiate them from competition. The new sales representative (and the experienced sales representative) who builds the knowledge base of the buyer, will more often reap the rewards than be heard. As a second effort, the new print sales representative should become the knowledge base of the buyer, making sure the printer and the sales representative's knowledge substitutes for any knowledge gap on the part of the buyer. Print too complex. This relates directly to lack of knowledge. The most successful print sales representatives make print simple, not complex. They take the mystery out of it by making it easy for buyers to buy. Only a stop. This is one of the most significant situations facing a new print sales representative. Most buyers are buying print only as part of their activities, and are at their current position only because they want to increase their responsibilities in the organization. Those that are successful will normally leave print behind. Those that are not, may be waylaid by print jobs for which they are criticized. An ever-increasing number of print buyers are seeking only one thing from a printer: lack of problems. Make it easy and don't embarrass the buyer, take care of it all, make the buyer look good, etc. The new print sales representative who concentrates on making buyers look good versus just the printing beautiful, will reap major rewards. An ever-increasing number of print buyers are seeking only one thing from a printer: lack of problems. Young. All of the above attributes are based upon the fact that youngsters want to do what they want to do, move up the ladder in the organization, want to deal with more exotic issues than print, don't want to be embarrassed, want to do what they want after 5 PM, etc. The new print sales representative who learns to deal with youth and adjust to their characteristics, will be more successful. Tomorrow we'll look at ways to turn these characteristics around and how to make them work for you. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Selling the Print SOLUTION Overcoming Intense Price Competition and Buyer Resistance byTerry A. Nagi Author of 12 books Serving the Printing Industries Print sales representatives are quickly discovering that traditional sales techniques, effectively utilized in the past, are becoming ever less effective. Print client loyalty on the wane. But there are always ways to successfully sell the new breed of print buyer who is price conscious, not seeking a long term relationship, buys on price, sees print as a commodity, etc. To sell to these buyers requires a brand new set of sales strategies and techniques. The old style of selling just won't make it anymore. Selling the Print Solution concentrates on key techniques used by successful, professional print sales representatives to maintain client loyalty, grow their sales, and sell profitable business. Step-by-step strategies concentrate on bringing value and increased productivity to a client's print versus simply bidding on specs This one workbook will change the way you sell print and your long term success! E-mail me at tanagi@aol.com if your would like to order an inventory or want additional promotional materials. Please offer your feedback to Terry. He can be reached at: tanagi@aol.com See More Exclusive Articles

 

 

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