Most likely, your latest offset press or digital device required special tools for maintenance or repair. As a result, you would make sure that operators had everything they needed. Having the right tools to do the job can make the work look effortless. Watch a good carpenter build or fix something and you’ll see that they have all the skills and tools to do the job right. Take this concept a step further. Make sure that your sales team has the skills and tools that they need to be successful in today’s unprecedented selling environment.
Outdated Tools Equals Poor Results
What got us to where we are today may not necessarily get us to where we need to be tomorrow. We all know that the game has changed — the way that clients buy print continues to morph. The headwinds we face will continue to make it difficult to differentiate our services and build loyal relationships. Selling strictly on price is a race to the bottom for most print providers. Your company and your customers deserve better than that.
Learn From Yesterday’s Triumphs
All is not lost. Take an inventory of the tools and strategies that you’ve used to build the business that you currently have. An objective and sober review will help identify which are still relevant and which need to be sharpened. Break it down by your process steps—research, lead generation and your approach to engaging your prospects. Don’t overlook discovery and earning that coveted second meeting. What approach was effective for you in building a case that customers said yes to? Maybe ask your last five new customers why they picked you — what might you learn? Face it, it’s important to know why people made decisions to select your company. The more you know, the more you’re apt to repeat and improve on the process.
Restock The Toolkit
There are many resources out there for those who are trying to improve at being a professional sales person. And guess what, much of it is available for free. Just like all things that really matter, improvement first begins with them making a decision to change their trajectory. Take stock of what your team has available. What tools do they have for generating leads, making relevant presentations (in person or video conference), engaging prospects, and customers in meaningful conversations. Identify the gaps and begin restocking the tool kit. Include the right tools for today’s selling environment in your marketplace.
For many it could include improving their written communication skills. This helps in using social media applications such as LinkedIn and others to build awareness and engage with prospective customers. If it’s difficult to earn direct face-to-face time with prospects, they may need to use other presentation tools that can be shared on a video call. Don’t assume everyone on your team knows how to do these things. Make sure they have access to a video conference account and a computer with a camera and microphone (I’m not kidding). Have an internal session on walking through the talking points on a brief slide deck. Create the tools that help to differentiate your business. Help them and make sure your team is equipped to succeed.
Convert Ideas To Action
Building your to-do list is the easy part. Taking your ideas and putting them into action is the first step toward your successful transition. Have a plan and a timeline with assignments and an accountability mechanism. Create 30-60-90 day milestones for converting your ideas into action and then into results. Share the plan and report your progress to your team.
I welcome any thoughts or questions, please add them below or reach out to me directly.
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic counsel, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.