Zagat’s Guide to Buying Print: Order Takers Versus Solution Presenters

There are some people who go into a restaurant and know exactly what they want. In some cases, they are very familiar with the menu, they’ve visited the restaurant (or one like it) before, they have a favorite dish and they know what’s good and good for them. In other cases, they just aren’t looking for suggestions.

Other people sit down at a restaurant and review what’s offered on the menu but still look for advice. These people want to tell the waiter or waitress the types of the things they like, what they may be craving and what things they’ve tried but didn’t like and hope the server can make some suggestions.

The print business is somewhat similar, because we meet both types of companies. Some have run direct mail campaigns before, know what’s worked and feel confident in choosing the right mix of print and digital to achieve the results they desire. Others know what they’d like to achieve, but they look to us to help them develop the solutions that will get them there.

There is no such thing as a bad client. (O.K. that’s not necessarily true, but in this case, we like both kinds.) It’s nice to meet companies who believe in the power of direct mail and know what they want. It’s also rewarding to meet customers who are eager to learn and want more from their printer than just someone who can take an order. With these clients, we have an opportunity to develop partnerships that go beyond the one-time print order, which allow us to help them achieve great things. At the end of the day, we learn from both these clients, which makes us better at what we do, too.

Unfortunately, many companies want solution presenters but instead settle with order takers. If you’ve ever asked a waiter, “What do you recommend?” and in return, received a blank stare, you can sympathize. Order takers are more common, but solution presenters do exist, so don’t settle for something that is less than what you deserve or I guarantee it will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

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