Oh, the Humanity! Of Personal Biases and Printing
We wear ourselves down into puddles of exhaustion dissecting the specific qualities that print customers demand of their print providers—when, in the end, it all comes down to personal biases. Doesn’t it??
Yes, I’m exaggerating to make a point, but no one wants to talk about/blog about/speak about the personal biases that may help you in business, no matter what you’re selling.
You know what I’m talking about: those very personal things about an individual that make them who they are—their history and culture, their pastimes and passions.
In the spirit of transparency, here are some of my own biases:
People from New Jersey
People from Madison, NJ (or at least Morris County)
People who’ve summered at the Jersey Shore
People who’ve summered at Manasquan, specifically Italian Americans
People who went to parochial schools (and lived to tell)
People who love to bake
People who love to bake pies
People who exercise daily
People who love Zumba
People who have dogs
People who have mini poodles
People who have teenage sons
People who are in the printing industry
People who were in the printing industry
People who love movies
People who love the Godfather movies – and Tom Hanks movies
People who love to dance
People who are great at word games
People who have a terrific sense of humor
You’d get to know some of these biases if you were a family member or a good friend. Over time, they’d come out one by one, like stars in a dark summer sky. When I meet someone who shares one of these biases—or a bias “surfaces” by chance in a conversation—I am absolutely delighted! Then I sink my teeth into it like a dog with a bone. Our conversation takes an immediate detour. A bond has been made.
I know...in a business relationship, where print reps are trying to get a prospect’s attention, personal biases don’t typically reveal themselves for a long time, over numerous conversations or email exchanges.
They really have no place in first meetings. “Hi, I’m Peter with Acme Printing and my wife and I enter salsa dance competitions all summer long. Need any printing today?”
Guess where “getting personal” IS appropriate? Social media, that’s where. It’s the perfect place! I am learning much more interesting stuff about industry colleagues than I ever knew, or ever would know, if left to emails, phone calls or occasionally bumping into them at trade events.
• Peter Muir is a risk taker who’s into triathlons, skydiving and something weird called mudder runs.
• Bill Farquharson is far more than a very tall drink of water who’s a sales coach. He’s got a wicked funny sense of humor.
• John Foley Jr. is a devoted son of John Foley Sr. and not afraid to show it.
• Scott Dubois is a fan of "Mad Men."
Everything I read about my connections on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook adds dimension to what I know about them. Personalities are taking shape every day, giving me insights into the people behind the titles. They’re getting more real to me with every joke they make and every reference to a recent trip with their families.
Whether or not I share their personal preferences isn’t the point—although when it’s clear that there is a match, that someone else loves "Glee" or "The Sopranos," or reading books by the South African writer J. M. Coetzee, I make a mental note. Suddenly that person is more and more like me. And if ever an opportunity arises for doing business together, I’m more open to the possibility.
I’m only human. A door’s been open already. And I’m waiting on the other side to greet someone I think I’m already—or could be—friends with.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com