Everybody’s an Expert
As I promised, I am going to spend the next few weeks ruminating on parallels between parenting and sales.
Today, it’s all about advice and opinions.
When you’re a new mom, (and, as it turns out, even when it’s not your first rodeo) everyone wants to give you their two cents (and that’s about what it all amounts to in worth) about sleep, feeding, health, siblings, and every other child rearing phenomenon under the sun. And you try to be gracious, smile, thank them, and then ignore just about all of them and just try to get through the day.
In our graphic arts industry, there are tons of “experts” with valued “opinions.” And yes, I am including myself and all the other bloggers out there in this catch-all. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you listen to someone else’s advice.
- Consider the source. Who is giving the advice? What are his/her credentials? What concrete evidence is being offered? It is important to remember that ANYONE can write a blog and make it look like a legitimate “news” or trusted source. So make sure you vet anyone that you are going to give credence to. For example, Bill Farquharson, who also blogs here at PI and is my partner in crime, has over 30 years of print industry experience, has delivered content to hundreds of thousands of audience members, and has been hired by the likes of HP, Xerox and other industry giants. For my money, his word is gold. It’s OK to disagree with him on any given point, but you can be sure that his ideas are time tested, proven, and work for many.
- Consider the magnitude and impact. Are you seeking advice from others in order to make a major equipment acquisition, or are you just out to get some advice on new selling paradigms? Both are important, but when you are thinking about writing a check with a whole lotta zeros on it, make sure you know who you are asking. You can even seek out references.
- Trust your gut. If you are hearing something that just does not sit well with you no matter WHO is saying it, it is often best to listen to yourself above all others. Unless you know yourself to be a particularly bad judge, YOU know best, especially when it comes to your business, your family and your own well-being. So, if every blogger out there is telling you to change your name and become a marketing services provider, but you know deep down that this will not serve your customers in any meaningful way, or that it will not increase your profits, then ignore it. Keep on doing what works for you. If however, you know a major change is needed, then see #s one and two.
Today more than ever, everyone is a critic and everyone has an opinion. And thanks to social media and the blogosphere, everyone can find an audience. Just make sure the opinions you seek are valid, well thought out, and relevant to you.
Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.