When I listen to print buyers* talk about printers, it’s hard for me not to jump out of my chair, screaming, “My God, why isn’t every printer listening to you?”
From time to time I’m involved in buyer events. Most recently, these events have been offered by Printing Impressions and sponsored by Canon U.S.A. So far, they’ve all involved highly experienced businesspeople who are responsible for sourcing print – no novices, no millennials, no recent college grads.
While three buyers may not agree with one another on every question, there are definite trends that you can identify if you’re paying attention.
The buyer intelligence I pick up from these conversations is important to the print industry. Here are a few insights from just one webinar:
- Highly experienced print buyers view their printers as partners. They don’t want to switch, or find new suppliers, unless they have to.
- Sometimes printers are judged more by the way they recover when they fall – how quickly, and how well.
- The biggest mistake a print rep can make when calling on a new prospect is not doing any research. The reps whose MO is talking all (and only) about their company won’t get anywhere. Ask, “What do you need?” Listen.
- Print customers want their print partners to suggest new ideas. Many depend on this. You have to want to help your print customers succeed.
- Many print customers, in companies large and small, prefer to work with local or regional printers. This is particularly true when press OKs are an issue. The highly experienced print customer enjoys going to the printer.
- More and more printers are responsible for data security. Think about insurance companies, health care, and financial services. This will involve having a signed agreement and large liability clause with a printer. And printers can expect a thorough due diligence process.
- Many experienced print customers don’t care what output device a printer uses, but many do. They like to know how a job will run.
- Color matching is an issue with print customers. Anyone surprised?
- Print customers are curious about AR technology but really interested in getting into NFC.
Interesting, right? The buyers all spoke the truth that day. And believe you me, it all rings true.
How can you use this information to improve your business development?
*Any business professional in charge of working with commercial printers, including the sourcing of print. This is typically a print buyer, a designer, a marketer, or a procurement executive.