Thursday, August 09, 2007

Do Print Buyers Lie?

Do Print Buyers Lie?
BY Suzanne Morgan

For years, the number one complaint that I heard from printers about print buyers is "all they care about is price." The pervasiveness of that comment surprised me because in the extensive work that I've done with major print buyers over the years, a printer having the lowest price is rarely the biggest factor in supplier selection. This made me suspect that perhaps print buyers aren't always honest with their printers about why they weren't awarded a project. That prompted the following survey:

In a Print Buyers Quick Poll of 82 top print buyers, buyers were asked "How often, if ever, do you tell a printer that they lost the job due to price as an easy answer, as opposed to the real reason why they weren't awarded the job?" Respondents stated the following:

· 2% of print buyers said: "often"
· 57% of print buyers said: "sometimes"
· 41% of print buyers said: "never"

Almost 6 out of 10 buyers sometimes use the reason "your price is too high" as an easy answer instead of the real reason why the printer wasn't awarded the job. There are myriad reasons why a buyer might tell this untruth - they don't like the sales rep, they don't trust the printer can do what they say they can do, company politics are forcing the buyer to give the job to someone else, etc.

One print buyer said he used this tactic "darn infrequently, but sometimes it's just plain easier than going into the detailed reasons of why I chose one printer over another. I know it's a 'cop out', but if the printer in question is one that I don't necessarily feel comfortable with, I use this excuse as wiggle room."

Another print buyer concurs: "We judge our printers on pricing, capabilities, knowledge/experience and gut instinct. I have a hard time telling a salesman, 'your pitch is slimy.' I'd rather tell him his pricing is off."

Still many print buyers would agree that honestly is the best policy. One buyer says "If the job is not awarded due to price than normally it is a service issue. . .and I try to tactfully communicate these types of issues to give the vendor an opportunity to address them in the future."

In any case, one of the problems with this untruth is that printers often have the impression that print media buyers are just looking for the cheapest price. Given the results of this poll, this may not be the case.

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