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5 Tips for Successful Sales –DeWese

September 2011

This is Printing Impressions' GRAPH EXPO 2011 edition. Thousands of owners and miscellaneous employees, and perhaps a few unemployed, will be wandering around the 2.6 million square feet of McCormick Place in Chicago.

Most of those McCormick Place wanderers are looking for something. Many are actually looking at the equipment on display. Others are studying the digital solutions that are being demonstrated.

There are many consultants and associations that are looking for troubled owners. These are owners who seek answers to competitive, operational, financial and environmental problems that are so pervasive and that plague their businesses.

Some owners are looking for another company as a merger partner. It's almost like a mating ritual to tuck in or be tucked in. Some employees, at printing companies and at industry suppliers alike, are looking for a better job. Others are just looking for a job—any job. It's tough because there are fewer jobs available in a shrinking industry. If you are looking for a merger partner or just a job, you have to be covert. Overt is no good. Your targets will think that you are desperate.

Confined to the South Hall, GRAPH EXPO isn't consuming all 2.6 million square feet, so make sure you stay within our boundaries. If you find yourself looking at embalming equipment, you are in the wrong place.

Our industry is changing so much that I don't know what to call it anymore. I don't even know what to call the "miscellaneous employees." Owners nowadays are embarrassed to be called "printers." Now, it's fashionable to call yourselves solutions providers or marketing services companies.

Nobody wants to just be called "printer." And yet, when I'm engaged to sell a company and given the financial statements, 95 percent of the revenue is derived from output from printing presses. I don't see any revenue in a column headed "marketing services." Solutions and marketing services just aren't happening. Owners may want it to happen, but it's just not happening to any significant extent.

It's not happening because this industry has never learned how to first find, and then how to treat, a customer.

It's easy to buy equipment. It's easy to purchase the newest software solution. But it's hard to find a client. It's easy to identify potential customers, but hard to obtain one. Customers are your friends.

 

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