Friday, August 26, 2005

Print sales superstar - con'td

Applying the wisdom shared with me by a trucker I worked with back in the day,
Do One Thing First.

The one thing to do first is number 6 - listen. The philosopher
Wittgenstein is quoted as having said "Don't Think. Look." In the case of sales, it could be usefully modified to read "Don't talk. Listen."

A potential prospect, customer or client can usually describe what they want. If they can, job one is to respond to that, first. But the real opportunities come from understanding what they need, not just what they want. To get a fix on what that might be, and how what you can do can help them there is no better approach than to look and listen - very carefully and actively.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Designers and Digital Print contd.

The brief, as explained by Goggin:

My plan for the workshop is to investigate the visible and tangible parameters of graphic design — type specimens, halftone screens and, in particular, colour tests and calibration charts — and make a book of our own self-produced tests which we will send to print on Friday afternoon using the online print-on-demand system Lulu.

The book project will therefore act as a colour/type/pattern test of the very system with which it is produced.

"Print-on-demand" is an increasingly important production system which can serve to make us designers rethink the impact our profession has on the environment and to question the often wasteful print volumes and production methods requested of us by our clients.

Graphic designers, and especially students, have a chance to use and subvert these relatively new (and fairly cheap) technological systems to our advantage.

What are you paid to do - cont'd.

Found this today at The Business of Print It's managed by Mike Philie, a vice president and consultant in the Print Consulting Services Group of NAPL,
We spoke about expectations; as the new sales managers, what does your boss, owner, management team expect from you? Only two of them felt somewhat comfortable about knowing the expectations that lie ahead. Not a good thing.

Alignment in all that we do is a critical component of successful companies. How can we work together as a team if we don't fully understand our goals and objectives?
The problem is that sometimes no one in the company has a goal more than "Get more.. work or customers or money" or "We've got to improve our customer service or marketing or production efficiency or most often "People have got to work harder!"

That's fair enough. But without knowing who has to do what, when to achieve those goals, it's just time wasting bs.

The job of a sales manager is to oversee the sales process and make sure the team has what they need to succeed. But it takes time to do and time to think and time to listen. And time is the thing we don't have plenty of.

Here's what to do to create a revenue stream -cont'd

I found this at Total Sales Success. It's a blog managed by Tom Hackelman, a Graphic Communications Growth Consultant for Xerox in the Triad area of North Carolina. There is a detailed power point at his site that gives much more detail. It's definitely worth the click. In the meantime, here's what Tom says you have to do. It sounds about right to me.

1. Identify and communicate a consistent and specific value
that your business brings to your customers.
2. Based on the characteristics of your top twenty percent
of accounts, create your ideal customer and focus your
efforts on securing more of those accounts.
3. Create and implement a sales process that is
measurable, has expectations and is consistently
4. Stop recruiting subpar talent. Only hire superstars. Hire
the best, hardest working talent. And let go of the
5. Create a goal-oriented sales organization that is
committed to growing, changing and reaching new levels
of performance."
My only quibble might be to move number 2 to the number 1 position. If a suboptimal sales process exists, number 1 is actually the hardest thing to do. If sales could really "identify and communicate a consistent and specific value that your business brings to your customers," they probably are already in pretty good shape.

The easier thing is to identify their 20% top customers. It means making a list from accessible information. If it were me, I would measure activity/revenue/and culture (are they good people to work with?) Then figuring out the threads that unite them is pretty straight forward. Then focusing on getting more like them is not that hard.

If you are a hunter, you have to know whether you are hunting for geese, whales or mice. If you are a farmer, it's good to know how to fertilize your crops.