Lessons from a Fat Hypnotist –Farquharson/Tedesco
Cynthia was trying to lose weight. Not enough time to eat right and too much Chipotle was putting the stress test on her clothing. Having tried most of every option, she decided to jump in on a Groupon deal that offered two sessions with a hypnotist for $99.
On the day of her first appointment, Cynthia arrived on time, walked in, sat down and waited. Before long, the hypnotist came out to meet her. But, any chance he had of helping her disappeared when she got a good look at him. It seems that the hypnotist was no stranger to the buffet.
Would you go and listen to a motivational speech given by Eeyore? How about hearing a sermon on Sunday morning delivered by Charlie Sheen? Would you let Bernard Madoff handle your money? The decision to make an investment, be it time or money, in any business or activity requires a certain level of faith in the product.
In the print world, the "product" consists of everything, from the quality of the mail piece to the condition of the shop itself. Like it or not, you are being judged on your ability to do for your company precisely what it is you are promising to do for a customer's. Even showing up late for an appointment sends a "fat hypnotist" message to a potential customer.
The way to make money in print these days has less to do with your ability to magically make ink or toner stick to paper and more to do with your ability to help customers grow their businesses. Prove to them that print is helping you to grow your business and you just might be given the chance to show them how print can help grow theirs. In other words, walk the walk.
Create a 'Harry Met Sally' Moment
Have you ever been to a restaurant and seen a meal being delivered that looks absolutely scrumptious? You immediately want to know what it is so that you can order it, too. How great would it be if your customers and prospects had this kind of "I'll have what she's having" moment, similar to that famous scene in the movie, "When Harry Met Sally" (did you know the woman in that scene was Rob Reiner's mother?). It's possible, but you need to bring your A game to your own marketing efforts. You need to be so good that your customers will slam their hands on the counter and scream, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" Moving on...
Let's talk about revenue growth for a moment. With the economy the way it is, is there a more important subject on the minds of our customers than growing their businesses? Solve that problem and you will earn the business, and do so at extremely favorable profit margins.
There are four ways to grow a business. The first is by acquisition. Let's skip that one. The second is by finding new customers. Then, there's selling more to existing clients. Finally, a business can go into new markets that serve a different customer base. Print has a role in three of these business strategies. Create and demonstrate your mastery of such solutions.
One thought is to create a campaign for yourself that includes Social Media. After all, one often-heard objection is that "We don't print much anymore. Everything has gone to the Web." Market your printing services using Social Media options, as well as print. Use QR codes to drive business to your Website. Alert existing customers to your full product capabilities using a postcard campaign that features one new idea a month. Educate your clients using YouTube videos and then, again, use print to make people aware of its existence. Of utmost importance will be that you track everything along the way, so that you have a story to tell. Nothing sells better than a success story.
How do you know when you are doing it right? Simple. When a customer calls you and says something like, "I've been receiving your mailings and I'd like to do something similar. Would you please have someone come see me?" Schwing!
Reading these last few paragraphs, you very well might be thinking to yourself, "Bill and TJ are right, but I'm a printer, not a marketing expert, dammit Jim!" Unless you've had your head buried in the sand you know that that needs to change. It is time for you to stop bringing your Batman lunch pail to work, upgrade your Ford Falcon to a Prius and join your contemporaries in the 21st century. Stop selling printing. Start solving problems. Starting with your own.
Your journey to the Here and Now begins by asking the question, "Who are we?" Or, perhaps more accurately, "Who our customers think we are?" If you are typically the last stop that a client makes when they need something printed, you have a serious problem. In other words, you need to move up the food chain and be brought in at the design stage, and not the quote stage, of the job. That's your goal.
But it all starts at home. Most likely, you've thought about the role of marketing in your company, but have done little to nothing about it. That's typical for a printer these days. But, then, so is going bankrupt. There is no shortage of reference material on how to market your printing services. There are books, seminars and, of course, your friendly trade associations and their local affiliates. You could join an owners group (such as Mitch Evans' The Next Level peer groups) and hear what others have done in this regard.
Then, when you are ready to begin, use yourself and your company as a guinea pig. Use print to demonstrate how you are different so that you can do the same for someone else. Grow your business using print so that you can grow others' as well. Keep track of everything along the way and use your statistics to tell the story.
Print is not dead. We are print. Print lives through us. We need to prove that we are fit and trim. We must show that print is a verb and not a noun. The fat hypnotist will never convince anyone to buy from him until he puts a treadmill between himself and his next bag of pork rinds.
Our job becomes exponentially easier when we have a story to tell, especially the story of how print helped grow our own print business. Get to work on putting together a strong campaign for the man in the mirror. Do a good sales job on him, and maybe he'll give you the work without going out to bid. Maybe. PI
—T.J. Tedesco, Bill Farquharson
About the Columnists
T.J. Tedesco is team leader of Grow Sales, a marketing and PR services company that has served graphic arts companies since 1996. He wrote "Direct Mail Pal 2012" and seven other books. Contact Tedesco at (301) 294-9900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill Farquharson is the president of Aspire For. Through his Sales Challenge and Tuesday eWorkshop training programs, Farquharson can help drive your sales. Visit his Website at www.aspirefor.com or call him at (781) 934-7036.
For further information, please visit BillFarquharson.com