Ways to Roar Like a Big Cat –Farquharson/Tedesco
The commercial printing industry is a treacherous jungle that consists of big cats and little cats. Life is good for the big cats. They're known and respected throughout the jungle, enjoy strong relationships with other animals and usually capture the biggest kills. The little cats live a tougher life. They're barely recognized, command little loyalty and often struggle to bring home food each night.
Ever notice that some printing companies seem better-known than others? Aren't you jealous of their new presses, new employees, fat contracts and sustainable growth? These firms aren't just lucky. At some point, each of these companies likely made an effort to strategically raise its industry profile. As a result, they vaulted to big cat status and now enjoy its attendant rewards: an improved industry reputation, stronger customer loyalty and better sales.
Becoming an industry big cat requires an intelligent plan, a consistent effort, and a keen awareness of what your customers and prospects value. An integrated informational marketing and public relations strategy can help you claw your way to the top of our industry. Read on to see what two well-known big cats can teach you about boosting your company's industry presence.
Be powerful like the lion. Author–ity is power. The lion is king and commands the best resting spot, the best drinking water and the best prey. Authority instills trust, and trust instills numerous benefits. Print salespeople can gain authority by becoming an "industry ambassador" or an "industry knowledge resource."
Industry ambassadors are high-profile individuals adept at spotting emerging trends, adjusting to changing markets and making strategic investments that benefit customers. One short path to ambassador status involves writing and publishing a book. Simply put, authoring a book places you on a different level than your competition. A book provides a time-tested platform from which to provide fresh perspectives and demonstrate your knowledge and abilities. There are few better lead generation and sales closing tools than a book with a compelling message.
To become an industry knowledge resource, establish your business as a provider of helpful information. Increased trust and top-of-mind positioning will follow. Useful information can take many forms. One proven strategy involves sending a "helpful tip" communication focused on helping your customers and prospects get their jobs done better, faster and with fewer issues.
If you provide customers and prospects with helpful information, they'll soon associate you with resourcefulness, problem-solving ability and other traits they value in their business partners. Like the lion amongst the animal kingdom, your worth in the eyes of these businesses will increase. As a result, buying objections will erode faster than ever.
Be known like the tiger. The tiger is a prominent, big cat for good reason: just look at those stripes! The tiger's stripes broadcast its power, speed and agility throughout the jungle. The tiger needn't search hard for prey, because prey is attracted to its impressive facade.
In other words, the tiger's stripes are the jungle's best PR campaign. So how are your industry stripes? Does your brand name create an instant, positive association in the minds of potential and current business partners? Or, does it inspire barely a second thought? To gain your business stripes, consider the following integrated public relations strategy.
Would the tiger let news of its latest kill escape the jungle's awareness? Similarly, your company should be in the press whenever it adds equipment or capabilities, makes a significant hire, wins an industry award or creates a new business unit.
Every time your company appears in the news, you send the message that you're on the move. With a disciplined press release program in place, the cumulative effect of having your company's name frequently in the news will make it easier for your sales reps to get appointments and win more business.
Like the lion, the tiger is respected for its knowledge of the jungle. Whether you live in the jungle or the world of print sales, information is everything. People want to do business with industry leaders and knowledge experts. What happens when your customers and key prospects see your articles and columns popping up in various trade publications? Their opinion of you will change and your company will improve. Your industry prominence will increase.
Expert articles or columns, published in a respected industry magazine (such as, ahem, Printing Impressions) will spawn an image of industry leadership that's hard to duplicate elsewhere. Consistently publishing original, thoughtful content can require a heck of a time commitment, but your company will be better known. An increased industry presence will make it easier for you to nail down appointments and win more sales.
The tiger prefers to let its stripes do the talking, but isn't afraid to roar when necessary. Public speaking appearances in front of potential print buyers can be a strategic way to introduce new solutions, educate listeners about your company or tout your technical expertise. Public speaking opportunities can include:
• Keynote speeches
• Association speeches
• After-dinner talks
• Seminar talks
• Roundtable discussion leadership
When prospects hear engaging, informative speeches by people associated with your brand, they will realize that your company is knowledgeable and capable. Giving speeches in front of customers and prospects can boost your industry image, provide you with new business contacts, and even open the door to new sales and business opportunities.
Speaking engagements aren't just for CEOs anymore. Encourage salespeople and other employees to get on the circuit, as well. Soon, customers will think of your business as staffed by charismatic, well-spoken, knowledgeable employees.
PR is like a positive vicious circle. When you have accomplishments, you're in the news. When you're in the news, you have more accomplishments. Strategically upping your industry profile will elevate your jungle cat cry from a feeble meow to a mighty roar. No claws necessary. PI
—Bill Farquharson, T.J. Tedesco
About the Authors
Bill Farquharson is the president of Aspire For (www.AspireFor.com). His Sales Challenge can help drive your sales momentum. Contact him at (781) 934-7036 or e-mail email@example.com. T.J. Tedesco is team leader of Grow Sales, a 15-year-old marketing and PR services company. He is author of "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry" and five other books. Contact Tedesco at (301) 294-9900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.