Farquharson/Tedesco on Business Development: 2013 Deathbed Regrets, Oath
Two more words: Sales and Marketing. You shoulda talked to your clients right about this time last year and asked where they were headed in the New Year. You shoulda spoken to your equipment vendors to see what they suggest (costs nothing to ask!). You shoulda gone to a few more industry events, trade shows, and association meetings to learn and listen. You shoulda spent an hour a week on researching new ways to market yourself (sales reps) and/or your company (owners, presidents).
You shoulda visited helpful Websites, read books and articles, and seen every TED video on the subject as possible. You shoulda looked into social media options. You shoulda put some money into sales training.
Face it: You shoulda done a lot of things and you didn't. And now 2013 is almost gone and you'll never have the chance to do the things you shoulda done, or to say the things you shoulda said. Instead, it was a year of unfulfilled expectations and best intentions. That's some headstone.
2. Woulda—What those "shoulda's" woulda done is to move you and your company ahead of the customer and certainly the competition, instead of constantly chasing both from behind. Clients...and even the competition...woulda seen you as inspirational leaders. You woulda been, as Wayne Gretzky once said, "Where the puck was going and not where it is." You woulda come back from those industry events, trade shows and association meetings and you woulda had some great ideas to discuss with clients.
The time and effort you put into marketing woulda put you in a whole new light, not separating your company from the word "Print," but rather separating your company from the prospect of being "Just Another Printer." The clients woulda brought you in at the design stage of the job rather than at the quote stage. Instead, 2013 was another year of racing to the bottom of the profitability pool.
Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault are available at BillFarquharson.com.