Archive for the ‘Print Brokers’ Category

Out of the Frying Pan–Into the Frying Pan?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Entry #6, Bill Ruesch recession-recovery diary

Dear Reader,

In my last post I mentioned redirecting my efforts toward book printing. Some may think that is a fool-hardy strategy, after all, e-books are all the rage. Paper books are passe. E-book readers are being sold everywhere. Amazon has the Kindle. Barnes & Noble markets the Nook. Sony sells the Librie and there are at least 8 other brands available including the iPad and iPhone. In fact, the e-book reader competition is so hot that it makes the war between BetaMax and VHS seem tame. It’s anybody’s guess as to which reader will dominate. I’m sure they are taking odds in Vegas if you are a betting person and want to get in on the action.

One e-reader can hold hundreds of books

There is even speculation in the industry that the Kindle by Amazon may soon be offered free, so if you haven’t been able to afford one yet you may get it as a bonus for buying a certain quantity of e-books.

So why would I choose books for a focus when the world seems head over heels for e-books?

There are two reasons:

  1. Over 700 Thousand self-published books were printed last year.
  2. I feel that we aren’t done with books yet. A tangible book has an intangible value over an electronic book. It’s tactile. You can hold it in your hand and savor the feel of the binding, the smell of the paper and the beauty of the design. Try as you might, there just isn’t any way for you to lovingly rest a signed first edition of an e-book in your library.

From my observations, self-publishers as Rodney Dangerfield used to say “Get no respect.” Being brutally honest about it, they don’t get respect because they stop short of doing the job right. Publishing a worthy book requires massive amounts of effort. It’s an exercise in attempting perfection. Readers who report that a book is full of typo’s, grammar errors, and poor syntax will persuade other readers to give your book a pass. No wonder most self-published books only sell around 50-100 copies. It costs a little to hire proofreaders, editors, graphic designers, and layout artists, but if you go cheap on your product you will get what you paid for–a cheap product that doesn’t appeal to the masses.

My specialty is printing, which I assure you is much more complicated than sending your masterpiece to Kinkos, or most of the on-demand printers. Yes, you can get a decent book printed if you know what you are doing, but so few do. I also know artists, editors, and marketers that can help self-publishers win. So, if you are a budding self-publisher and want the help of proven professionals don’t be afraid to call. It doesn’t cost anything to talk. My number is (801) 474-1270 or you can email me at billprintbroker@comcast.net.


 

My Wife is Probably Right

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Day 3, Bill Ruesch recession recovery diary

Dear Reader,

In my headlong rush to create a diary of my experiences in recession recovery, my wife says that I’ve been revealing T.M.I. She says that it is no body’s business how much I used to earn in the pre-recession world. Maybe she’s right. Probably she is right. She usually is.

My only excuse is that I want my readers to know that I’m not a rank amateur who has garnered a little information and decides to pass himself off as an expert. I’m also not a flop at selling printing who is now trying to make money in some other way. It often amazes me to see “experts” who have never actually done the job making tons of money selling real sales people their secrets. This may sound bitter, but my impression is that their secrets are nothing more than keeping their buyers from knowing how little they actually know based on their experience.

If they looked like this no one would be duped.

It doesn’t matter if these brazen showmen are selling on the Internet, at conferences, or at seminars. The show is what matters and I’ve never been good at the show. I have always tried to provide valuable service at reasonable rates. How about you, dear reader?

I’ve been employed full-time in printing sales for 35 years. For twenty of those years I’ve been self-employed as a printing broker or as I’ve begun calling myself an Independent Printing and Mailing Manager. For some unknown reason that I have never been able to fully understand, customers always think that my services as a Print Broker are going to cost them more. That’s just not the case. I find better ways to do their jobs and that frequently results in lower costs. Plus I negotiate to get better bids so that I can create a margin that I can live on. Whether my customers went to the same sources for bids or use my service, they’ll pay roughly the same price.

Whether you are a broker or a captive sales rep, what are your thoughts? I’d like to know.


 

Does this Make me a Bum?

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Day 2, Bill Ruesch recession recovery diary

Dear Readers,

When I was a young salesman I was taught that “prospecting is like shaving–if you don’t do it everyday you’re a bum.” This quote is attributed to Jack Schwartz, the telephone sales guru.

In the pre-recession, business came to me through referrals. Sometimes I had to send customers elsewhere because I couldn’t handle them all. As a result, I haven’t made prospecting calls in twenty years! I think I’ve forgotten how to prospect, but it is obvious to me now that I’ve got to go out and beat the bushes for new customers. I was never very good at going door-to-door with business cards, calendars, and note pads. That seems to be a method best employed by quick print sales reps.

Asleep for 20 years?

You may have noticed that things have changed in the last twenty years. I feel a little like Rip Van Winkle. It wasn’t that I was asleep, I just didn’t have to deal with some of the harsher realities because my reputation carried me. With the onslaught of the recession everyone I know in the printing business has had a very difficult time.

Now the question is, how do I prospect in a way that boosts my reputation rather than damaging it? After all, I would like to come out of this stronger and not weaker than before. Would mixing it up in the fray of  hungry printing sales reps put me in the category of a me-too supplier? In other words, how do I re-establish myself as more of a consultant instead of just another commissioned salesperson? Not that I hold anything against sales reps per se it is just that consultants earn more money. I got used to a six figure income and would like to have it back again.


 

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© Bill Ruesch, Talking Through My Hat, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bill Ruesch, Talking Through My Hat with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.