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Understanding Print Buyers

(April 2017) posted on Fri Apr 28, 2017

How and why to categorize print buyers into three categories.

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By Martine Padilla

As our print industry has transitioned from craftsmen analyzing tight, rosette dot patterns on paper to machines executing pixels across omnichannels, we’ve all needed to change in order to stay relevant. Throughout the years, printers have often vented to me: “Print buyers just don’t know what they’re doing today,” or “They aren’t like they used to be.” In my defense of the print buyer community, print salespersons aren’t like they used to be either.

Chameleons shift colors to fit their surroundings: Sometimes their colors are bold, other times they’re subdued. Sales success is all about the salesperson’s ability to recognize and embrace the difference in each and every buyer, and then change up their selling approach to align with their distinct traits.

You’ll be most successful when you intentionally choose clients whose vision, personality, and character align with your own. You’ll enjoy the account more, and the buyer will appreciate your personal insights about their business.

When you take time to learn about your print buyer, their job responsibilities, and their company, you’ll be rewarded with new business. Sales 101 courses continue to preach that listening is the most important skill you can bring to the table. But today, the assumption is that you’ve already done your homework. It’s so easy to research your client’s business through Google, LinkedIn, and their website. Know the end use of their print products. If their product goes into a retail store, you should spend time in multiple shops. Good print buyers will likely lose patience with your lack of preparation when you ask generic questions or simply listen. So, during your first call, be ready to facilitate a rich conversation about how you can help with their business challenges, share observations, and start adding value.