By Margie Gallo Dana

Every month at Boston Print I feature a different member of the Boston Print Buyers association in a 10-question profile for publication in the BPB Member News.

So far, we've profiled 13 print buyers (by the way, not one of them has that title). Most of these print buyers have around 20 years' experience in the industry. One buyer is new to the field (less than 2 years), and one owns her own graphic design firm.

Take a look at what these professional print buyers had to say when asked,
"What do you admire most in a print vendor?"

  1. The ability to partner with me to assist my nonprofit company and its affiliates in spreading our messages through print in the most cost-effective and productive ways.
  2. I admire integrity, honesty and sincerity.
  3. The skill to do great service recovery in the event of an error, and to learn from mistakes.
  4. Their knowledge of what they are selling and, above all, their honesty.
  5. Honesty --I've been doing this too long to be given the old excuses. Tell me the truth and we can work on a solution together. Tell me a story and I will be fuming until the job delivers.
  6. Honesty--don't lie to me about meeting a deadline. I'd rather know up-front that we’re behind schedule. My clients don't like surprises and neither do I.
  7. Their knowledge. Most of my print vendors are seasoned and have a great deal of education to share.
  8. (I'm assuming here you mean the rep and not the company at large.) Anybody can take an order and submit it to the people "back at the shop," but I want a partner who sees the project as their project and takes the initiative to make it a better product. One of my reps once went crawling through dusty, musty old storage shelves that lined the back room of a finisher's shop just to find the right size and finish grommet we wanted to use on a holiday card we were sending out. HE FOUND IT and was my hero for making me look like a hero at my shop!
  9. This may surprise some folks, but I what I admire most in a print vendor is a top notch, technically talented sales force. Anyone can hire a person to sell — you know, the suit, portfolio of samples, "wanna do lunch?" It's the vendor who recognizes that my success (and my relationship with the vendor) is often defined by the dedication, knowledge and talent of my sales/CSR team that will win my business. At the speeds we work, and given the investment my company trusts me to make in purchasing printing, means my ability to rely on them to work hard and watch out for my account is critical. I love my sales contacts and their teams, and, if I didn't, I wouldn’t be working with the vendor.
  10. The ability to admit a mistake AND the way they approach the resolution.
  11. Honesty. When a job goes bad, let's work together to fix the problem. Along with a print vendor not wanting all the work, just their fair share.
  12. Honesty and being realistic. I prefer to get information with the least amount of sugar coating - Tell it to me like it is. Don't yes me to death. Not being scared to say no. I respect that more.
  13. I admire honesty and collaborative, proactive customer service. Someone who not only calls me to tell me something is not going according to plan, but who also offers alternative solutions to help me meet my objectives.

Let's sum it up: Honesty. Plus knowledge and proactive service. This list should be mandatory reading for every print sales and service person.

Whether you are a print customer or print provider, does this list surprise you? I want to know what you think.