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«20 Insider Print Buying Tips Revealed How to get the best prices and service every time, automatically and without asking By Steve Robison Quick hit ...»

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20 Insider Print

Buying Tips Revealed

How to get the best prices and service every

time, automatically and without asking

By Steve Robison

Quick hit tips inside this report: Establish a trust relationship with a professional printer.

They can save you money. Find a printer that understands lifetime value, has a bold

guarantee and gives you “client” status. Discuss your print project with your professional

printer before you start it.. Ask for suggestions when you know of no other question to ask.

How to Get the Best Prices and Service Every Time Without Asking Forward If you are reading this, it means you have purchased printing for your business from various sources and never settled in with at least one professional. Many companies do business with more than one printing company. So, that is OK. Each printer has a niche and can do some things better than other printers do. Once you discover one or more printers who fit your business, you’ll find your print buying to be a profitable venture.

If you have limited capability to design your own forms, stationery or marketing collateral then you may find this report especially useful.

Hello, my name is Steve Robison. I am both an expert print buyer and a print professional. For many years, I had the sole responsibility for buying printing at various companies before I became a print professional. I have walked both sides of the street.

Now I am going to give you “20 Insider Tips” that are flat guaranteed to make your print buying task easier with a lot less stress.

Theses tips are not all inclusive. It is just the beginning. There is much, much more that can be written. This report will give you the best foundation to making the street-smart decisions you need to get the most value out of every dollar you spend on printing, and maybe even how to make more money doing it. More about that later. Let’s get started.

On the following page is a list of some of the topics. There are far more than 20 tips included within (sneaky bonus). If you know of something you think should be added to this report, please feel free to email me steve@toledoprinter.com or call the office (419) 246-0857. I appreciate all comments, compliments and gripes  Copyright West Printing Company. All rights reserved 2 How to Get the Best Prices and Service Every Time Without Asking 20 Insider Print Buying Tips Revealed How Print Professionals can save your business $, $$$

---by an expert print buyer


1. Looking for value? It takes one to know one.

2. How to find a professional printer you can work with

3. Delegating outside the Company does not develop value for you

4. Seek and nurture lifetime value arrangements with your customers and vendors

5. Work with a printer who gives you “client” status

6. Find a print professional that offers a bold guarantee?

7. How to ask for references

8. The story of just one way a company made money with their print professional

9. I don’t need all this. Can’t I buy printing online cheaper?

10. How to save money with mail services

11. Simple Design Features Flaws Can Cause Your Postage to Be 50% Greater.

12. Printing with ink versus digital press “copying”. What’s the difference?

13. What are the benefits of digital printing?

14. Why smart print buyers Use PDF’s

15. How to save your document as a PDF

16. Desktop publishing and designing on your own

17. What are color separatable files and why should you care?

18. How to transport your job files to your print professional

19. How to ask for a quote

20. How to ensure you pay the highest prices! Don’t pay the “pita” tax

21. How to get your job printed on time, every time Smiley graphic= Bonus “tip”

–  –  –

1. Looking for Value? It takes one to know one.

Don’t you just love it when you get a bonus you weren’t expecting? Maybe it is a baker’s dozen when buying doughnuts or your lawn service spends extra time manicuring the hedge row or the gas station attendant offers to check the air in your tires. (Fat Chance, eh) However, that is value-added, wouldn’t you agree? The price is the same even if they didn’t do that.

If value is really what you are looking for when you buy printing, and it should be, then you absolutely must look for something other than price. We print professionals love to compete for your business. However, bouncing around is not going to do you justice. You should find one or two print professionals and work with them. The right one can make money for you once you get to know and trust them.

At West Printing we earned the trust from some of our clients so much so that they just wouldn’t think of making changes in their marketing scenarios without consulting with us. If you haven’t considered this in working with your print provider, then you simply haven’t found a true print professional who is more than a commodity supplier. In which case, you are leaving money on the table.

Consider for a moment your business’s competitors. You know who is doing it right and who does quality work. Printers are the same. You job is to find one or two that will actually become an asset for your business.

Secondly, you have favorite vendors don’t you? Why, because it is always easier when you are on a trusted and first name basis with any of your vendors. It causes each to remember and act responsibly; always in the best interest of the other.

–  –  –

2. How to find a professional printer you can work with A great way to locate someone who can print for you is to ask your business colleagues. Get a referral. Every printer has a different capability and personality, just like your business does.

That’s important because a professional printer will bend over backwards to help you if they feel they are part of your team.

You can also find a printer by networking at Chamber events or sifting the yellow pages of your local telephone book, and you may get lucky. The best printer for you may not have an advertisement though. Many printers rely on referrals to do their marketing. And, those that do advertise may not be a printer best suited to your needs.

If you can’t get a referral from a colleague, and you don’t have time to network, the road will not be so smooth. Go to Google, Yahoo, MSN or whatever your favorite internet search engines. In the search box type “Printer+Toledo” or “brochures+Toledo”, or some other print product and observe the results.

In Google, if you want to shop locally, ignore the advertisements on the right side of the page.

Those ads aren’t usually local even if the word “Toledo” does appear in them. Naturally, you can put in any subject or location but this is just an example of how to find a printer in your locality via the internet. The plus (+) sign tells the search engine to show results with both words.

If you call or email a selection of printers gleaned from non referral sources and ask them “How much does it cost to print business cards”, that is just about the worst way in the world to establish a relationship. You are going about it all wrong. Listen up, there is a way to do it right.

The internet is a great time saver if you know what you are doing. Just as it will give you totally useless and misleading information leading to expensive results.

–  –  –

We get tire-kicker requests all the time. We know what they are; people looking for the lowest price or gauging their current print provider’s prices. Now, there is nothing at all wrong with seeking a very fair price. Who wants to pay more than fair market value? Nobody does.

However, understand this; telephone shoppers tend to assume all printing companies are alike.

Big mistake! The caller may get a price but they’ll never, ever get the best price. Why is that?

It is because that is not how professionals buy printing from professionals. So, don’t do it or you will stick out like a zit on your Grandpa.

Let me explain briefly. First, it is a rare occasion that prospective buyers will have all the information needed to justify a proper quote. (See the section later on how to ask for a quote.) Often, seekers do not know or respect all the variables of quantity, paper stocks, artwork preparation, production times and proofing. You wouldn’t call a tailor and ask how much a black suit costs would you?

Now, this is not to say we aren’t happy to talk with a prospect. In point of fact, we are happy to talk with prospects—but only those who respect our time and expertise. A prospective print buyer who will say up front they need “X” product and say “I don’t know how to proceed” will get a lot better service. And, most likely get the warm hand-holding they need.

Experienced print buyers will usually have at least minimal specifications or digital artwork ready, and maybe a hard copy we can review. Many times professional print buyers know what paper stocks and quantities they want quotes on. Not always though because smart buyers call their trusted printer early in the process. Sometimes they just ask for ranges and suggestions.

Never be afraid to ask for suggestions. If you know of no other question to ask, always ask for suggestions.

It is an unwritten rule among printers that the best prices and services are reserved for trusted clients. As a first time buyer, you might get a quote on a job that you feel is a fair price but it won’t be the best price. Best prices include many intangible values that have to be earned from your side of the equation. It is a two-way street. What you should seek is to become a trusted client. A whole new world will open for you.

–  –  –

3. Leaving it to Someone Else to Choose Does Not Develop value for You If you are responsible for print buying, do not rely solely on an outside third party to choose a print professional or parse a quote for you.

We see this happen mostly when companies, such as yours, hire advertising agencies or graphic designers (who are not also printing companies) to do the work. Sure, it seems like a one-stop shop but it is not uncommon for problems to arise.

Don’t get me wrong. We love the graphic arts folks and Ad agencies. They give us a lot of business, even if they do operate from the other side of the brain.

If you do choose to let someone else choose your printer, this is akin to having your attorney buy your insurance, do your banking, or hire accountants. You can do it that way but you’ll never get full value, being out of the loop. The third party will be developing the value with the print professional, not you. You might be paying more and waiting longer to get the job done.

If you hire a company who is not, also a print professional to design your marketing pieces it is just fine to ask the agency for suggestions of printers who could do the work. It is customary for them to shop quotes from printing companies for you.

However, as a newbie buyer, YOU should not make the final decision without speaking with the print professional. There is money to be saved here because dedicated designers often make eye candy designs that cost more to print. A Print pro can tell you if there is a way to print something at a lesser cost without changing the overall design and intent.

Know also that the agency locating the printer for you is likely to markup the printing fee to account for agent’s time involved, as they should. Knowing who to go to is a value added service your agent is performing. You need to know what this is in order to assess the overall cost.

–  –  –

Further, in order to get the best value from the print professional, you should interview them or at least talk with them on the telephone to establish some minimal working relationship. Once the design work is done, you will still need the print professional for reprints. Better to know now who is handling your stuff.

Let me give you an example of how it went badly for one person.

A couple of weeks ago a frantic lady from out of town called and wanted to know if we had printed a job for her. Our customer service rep had no record. It seems the lady was working with a designer and planned the launch of a new product next week. The designer told her marketing collateral was going to be printed locally. Recently however the designer was not answering emails or phone calls. Disappeared so-to-speak.

So, Ms. Frantic Googled up our website in hopes that it was us who did the work. No chance.

We did not know the designer so we could not help her. We made calls to other designers in the area that may know the absent one. We couldn’t help but feel badly for the lady.

Letting someone else choose for you is not the way to go if you are looking for value. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know anything about printing. If you are relying on an outside third party to make a print provider decision, they will be looking for what is best for them, not necessarily you.

You should make the decision with and eye toward having a long term relationship in mind.

That’s how you get value with a print professional or designer who also provides printing services within their facility. That is how you start down the road to getting more than you expect or pay for.

As a final comparison, think about your customers and why they buy from you. What is the value your company delivers and what are the odds they will buy from you if you fail to take care of them? You want a lifetime value relationship, not a quick-hit cheap one, don’t you?

–  –  –

Next, we will tell you exactly how to know when you have found the right printer. It will become clear why you need to get to know your print professional as a service partner. Lifetime value works both ways.

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