Good print brokers are more important than ever in the printing industry. Although it may seem as if companies have focused entirely on their web presence, e-mail, and online marketing, printed materials are still critical to the success of any business. Whether they are ordering business cards, fliers, brochures, or pamphlets, successful marketers know that professional print material can add a unique touch to your information and branding. That’s where a knowledgeable, reliable print broker comes into the picture.
An organization may choose to deal directly with a printer for these jobs; however, a printing broker effectively uses their knowledge base, sales and marketing skills in order to produce the printed material in a cost effective way. The broker makes a profit by marking up the printers costs. Many brokers open their own companies after years in the printing business, as industry knowledge is crucial to the individual’s expertise. If you have decided to work in the wholesale printing field, there are several steps you must take.
Find Your Niche
The wholesale printing industry is huge, so you may want to find an area of specialization for your brokerage. You may decide to print business cards, labels, envelopes, letterhead, and other office supplies that are used by almost any company. You may even want to expand into brokering printed packaging for company’s products in order to round out your business offerings.
Build Your Printer List
A broker soon learns that depending on a single company for printing may be a bad business choice. Find companies in your area with good reputations for service, quality, and price. Ask to see work samples of the products you will need, in addition to paper and print samples. Ask for lists of their equipment and find out how their services are different from their competitors. Lead times are also important for any job. Once you have contacted several printers, compare their prices and estimated lead times to find several printers with which you will work. Working with the best, more reliable companies will help your customer list continue to grow, and that’s something no broker can do without.
Find Your Clients
Do you have some potential clients in mind? It’s always a good idea to start a brokerage if you have a few people you can rely upon to help you get started. Even if they’re a family member, their work can be added to your portfolio. There are several steps you should take for any client. When visiting a potential customer, you must learn about their business needs and what they will expect of your company. Find out the pros and cons of their current print suppliers. The best way to find a new client is to find a company that is unhappy with their current printing suppliers. Let’s say that Perky Printers, Inc. is charging too much for a company’s corporate brochures, but you know that your source can provide an equal or better product for a lower price. This gives you the information and ability to solve the customer’s problem, and that’s what a printing broker’s job is all about. People who work in this profession aren’t just looking to make money; they really want to help people get the best products their money can buy!
Keep Track of Your Production
Another important trait to a print broker is the willingness to track your product. If you want to just drop off an order and forget about it until the day it’s due, this may not be the field for you. Once you receive a company’s order, choose your wholesale printing company to fulfill the order. Be sure to monitor the job’s progress using the printer’s projected deadline. If you check periodically on your job, you can alert the customer if any issues or delays occur. Attention to detail is the hallmark of a great broker.
Deliver Quality, Timely Products
Print brokers go into every job with the knowledge that they were probably given the contract because the company was unhappy with their former printing company. You don’t want to be thought of as “That Company,” so make sure your products is up to their expectations and delivered on time. To be successful in the printing broker business, you must be reliable, above all else.
Scout New Suppliers
You must be willing to go out and find new suppliers on a regular basis. Printing technologies, capabilities, and requirements are constantly changing, which means you should constantly explore new printing suppliers. Keep up with a few industry trade journals and take the time to visit some trade shows. If you are looking for new suppliers or specialty producers, conduct some online research to find the companies that fit all your printing needs. New businesses are always popping up, and a printing broker needs to take advantage of the best of the best.
Scout New Business
A broker in the printing industry must excel at recruiting new clients, so that means you must be ready for sales plans and cold calling. Practice your sales technique on friends and family members, and take their constructive criticism in order to perfect your spiel.
Once your sales have improved, you’ll be able to delegate some of the hard work. You will hopefully be able to hire an assistant who can answer phones, monitor your jobs, prepare quotes, and cover customer service. Your long-term success depends on continuously finding new clients and making contacts to help your company grow and thrive.
When you decide to start your own print a brokerage business, you are dedicating yourself to finding your customers great deals on quality products. If you are reliable, love sales, and have great communication skills, you can be a success story in the wholesale printing industry.