Greeting Citizens of The Printerverse and welcome to a New Year!
My role as your Intergalactic Ambassador gives me a pretty unique vantage point since it allows me to be able to meet with, speak to and learn from so many of you out there each year. This annual post is my contribution to the bigger picture, and will hopefully give you some things to think about as 2020 kicks off.
THE MISSION FOR 2020: RESEARCH, REGROUP, RELAX, REINVENT
- Create your lane.
- Create your conversation.
- Create your cadence.
- Create your opportunity.
From the manufacturers to the mom-and-pops, sales strategy will take center stage this year. New equipment out in the market has to churn for ROI, and the OEM’s have to move their installation needles. Throw in drupa, and 2020 is going to be a pivotal year for many; survival of the fittest is in full effect. Before you launch into a thousand useless cold-calls and emails and, here is a little strategic advice to consider:
Create Your Lane
Do your prospects actually need what you are selling? What is no one in your area (or customer territory) selling? If you don’t know those two things before speaking with a potential buyer, do not pick up a phone, do not hit send. Do not waste your time on anyone or anything that doesn’t measure at least an 8 of 10 on the possibility list. Customers of all kinds are going to be propositioned by every sales zombie in the land in 2020. Be prepared to talk about only ONE thing you know that prospect isn’t doing, or doesn’t have access to, and create a lane to deliver it.
Listen to this new podcast series with me and Matthew Parker
Create Your Conversation
If your proposition has anything to do with quality, price, and service, you have already lost. Customers want to hear what they don’t know, how you can help them achieve their BUSINESS – not printing – goals, and how you are different than the rest in a relevant, meaningful way. It takes time to learn about your customers and prospects, but you can actively listen by following everyone you are interested in speaking with on social media, and learn what they care about by seeing what they share, and what they comment on. Develop unique conversations – words they aren’t hearing from everyone else… and leave the quality/price/service triangle in 1996 where it belongs.
Create Your Cadence
One of the biggest takeaways from all five Project Peacock Print Fairs in 2019 is that agency and brand print customers need time to digest information. They need time to circulate new print opportunities across departments, float new ideas to clients, and figure out if they can execute before they will commit to jumping into something new. The best way to support this process is to support it, not push it. For example… If you showed them new finishing opportunities, keep sending them samples filed under “more cool stuff” to share with your team. Send them links to videos like Fold of The Week, send them to sites like Eat, Print, Love. Stay in their focus, but not in their face. Patience is a virtue for a reason, trust they will reach out if they need you, when they need you.
Create Your Opportunity
2020 is all about competitive research, national and local market research, customer research, customers of your customer’s research, and research into current and future consumer behavior. In all of that is where you can find what is missing, and be the person/company to deliver something only you can. That may require getting rid of three pieces of equipment to buy something unique, it may require partnering with many outside vendors to create multi-faceted print packages no one else can offer, it may require looking at your current business model and disrupting it to meet the demands of customers you need to attract three years from now. The short-game is short-sighted and has no long-term viability. Imagine your business as if it were a start-up, and ditch the antiquated presses, processes, and people.
RESEARCH, REGROUP, RELAX, REINVENT… REPEAT!
Print Long and Prosper!
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse™ at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist™, industry speaker and blogger, host of Podcasts from The Printerverse, cultivator of Print Production Professionals the #1 print group on LinkedIn, Head Girl in Charge (H.G.I.C.) at GirlsWhoPrint, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4PM ET on Twitter, the founder of International Print Day and the founder of #ProjectPeacock. She is the recipient of several industry honors including the 2016 Girls Who Print Girlie Award and sits on the boards of the Advertising Production Club of NYC and The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi.
Deborah has 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer. She currently provides printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through PMC, and works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers, and achieve success with their social media and content marketing endeavors.
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