Maybe Common Sense Is Not so Common

So after my last rant about living in Crazytown, it hit me. Late one night (or early one morning depending on your perspective) I shivered. Maybe telling all my readers, some of whom might one day actually consider hiring me to help them with sales or marketing for their graphic arts companies, that I am barely holding on by a thread was perhaps not the best course of action. Wow. That was a long way to say that that might have been really dumb of me. While brutally honest, it might not have been the kind of admission that would inspire confidence, or compel someone to reach out and say, “Hey Kelly, can you help my company drive more sales with your awesomeness?”

Which, of course, I can. BUT the bigger picture is this. Sometimes, we just don’t use the brains that God gave us. Or as I like to put it, I didn’t THINK IT THROUGH. I am guilty of this a lot. So here are some other ways that your lack of common sense; your inability to think it through could hurt you.

  1. Over sharing personal information with clients or prospects—The rule of thumb should be, “would this EVER be considered inappropriate? Would I feel comfortable if my boss, spouse or Mom was hearing this conversation?” And if the answer is anything but “Of COURSE” skip it. You might think you have a really close relationship with this person, but trust me, just don’t go there.
  2. Airing your company’s dirty laundry—This should go without saying, but you should NEVER share that there are internal issues with your own company. Nothing will shake someone’s confidence in your ability to get it done for them like knowing that the head CSR and production manager are not speaking. Come on people—loose lips sink ships, and printing companies.
  3. Bad mouthing your competition—My policy was never ever, EVER, even say their names out loud, much less say anything bad about anyone I was in competition with. Take and stay on the high road. Even if your client or prospect tries to bait you in to it, just don’t. Because the most important thing to remember is you don’t often know the WHOLE story. You could end up stepping in some huge mess by saying something that will come back to haunt you. You could inadvertently insult someone without even knowing it. So just STOP.
  4. Getting political—There is nothing that riles people up more than politics, especially today. We live in a polarized world that keeps just getting more so. So it’s fine to rant on your Facebook page and get yourself disowned by your family (like I have) but for the sake of your wallet, don’t get into it with your clients. Even if you think that this person feels exactly the same as you do, just keep away or to an absolute minimum. A smile and a subject change will do you much better than a frothy debate over debt ceilings and health care. SHH!

So that’s about all I have to say about that—before I offend anyone or scare away any more of you than I already have. I am open for business and resolved to think things through more and more each day. One day I’ll get there.

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.

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  • Sally Kirby

    Kelly~they recently did a little research to discover that women still do more of the work @ home (as though that required a survey–duh!). Women multi-task- you’ve probably dressed, fed & got 2-4 people off to their daily destination; unloaded the dishwasher & put a load of laundry in the washer; got yourself ready for your day–all of this before you actually went to work. That kind of organization & production should be admired by those still trying to get their "to-do list" done.

    Peace & Print,

    Sally @ s3g

  • Michael Naselli

    Hello Kelly,

    Very excellent advice and I have practiced all of it every since I "matured"
    in my business dealings, which was a long time ago:(
    I will add one additional piece of advice to your list:
    5) Always be positive. No matter what personal, employee, business or other problems you are dealing with, be positive. No one wants to hear you complain about your troubles; they have enough of their own. However, people are drawn to those that have a positive and upbeat personality and demeanor and appear to be successful. So when you customer says "how’s it going?" Don’t say awful and explain why. Tell them you are doing well or great and then give them 1 or 2 examples why.

    And Kelly don’t worry about your confession. The reality is that we are all barely holding on by a thread…

    Take good care!

  • Melissa Sienicki

    Well put, Kelly. It’s best to exude positivity and to never burn bridges, to maintain a cheerful, professional relationship with everyone.

    And for the record, if your post about Crazytown did anything, it showed your strength. So don’t worry!

  • John Prothero

    Fantastic comments, Kelly. Being in a prairie dog cubicle environment I – unfortunately – hear many of these kind of comments being made. I think the key is tying the common sense in with professionalism.