Friend or Foe – How Do You Treat Your Competition?
I get my inspiration from some pretty unusual places, and this week is no exception. I am reading a book about the Iowa Writers Workshop because some of my favorite authors went there, and so I thought it would be an interesting read. One of the first ideas that I gleaned from it is that of COMMUNITY.
At The University of Iowa there is an incredibly competitive program for writers, poets and playwrights. Nearly impossible to get into, that’s when the competition really heats up. Once in the program, the students compete to get published, to get their stuff reviewed by agents, and even to get invited to prestigious parties and gatherings.
What does this have to do with printing, you ask? Well, we printers are in a kind of community, too. And we can view each other as mortal enemies, or we can decide to “join forces” in a manner of speaking, and decide that when one of us thrives, the industry wins. Call it co-opition, or keeping your enemies close...or whatever else you want to call it.
Here’s my point. There is a good chance that we have a lot to learn from each other. This was made particularly clear to me last week at GRAPH EXPO 2011 when Bill and I talked to a group of owners, executives and salespeople about how to motivate salespeople to embrace selling digital. Some people in the room were very willing to share information—even some things that you might consider “secrets”. Others were open about their vulnerability and asked questions ranging from how many vertical markets to focus on, to the oh-so-poignant “Why is this so hard?”—which Bill writes about in his blog this week. [You should check it out.]
So how can we work together without taking money out of our own pockets? Here are some ideas.
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.