listening
Over the past few months I have been in full-blown prep mode for The Printerverse at GRAPH EXPO 2015. Part of that preparation entailed formulating panel topics, and now that they are announced, I want to take a moment and share some things I’ve learned.

First and foremost, just because you think something is a good idea, doesn’t mean everyone will agree. However, I learned that taking a little extra time to talk through questions, concerns and address issues makes the negotiation for getting what you want much smoother. The lesson: Sending an email, without following up, even if you think what you have said, described, explained is crystal clear, leaves people behind. A call to action only works when people understand what that action will result in. Not getting a response from a customer doesn’t mean your idea/offer was bad, and taking the opportunity to check in and give the customer reasons why they should consider it for their business specifically could just turn things around.

If you are having a phone or conference call, set an agenda, and a time limit – even if just for yourself. The lesson: Four or five thirty-minute phones calls a day starts to add up and take a real toll on your week. Longer hours to get things done is a band-aid, stop the time bleeding at the source – YOU! The minutes saved here and there can be stockpiled to use for that to-do list that never ends, checking in with customers, or even reading a book!

How do you know what people want/need to know? I thought I had a pretty good idea, but after I crowd sourced some amazing panel questions during two recent “Panelverse” #PrintChat’s I realized my perspective was mine, and there were more perspectives to share with our panelists. The lesson: Use your best resources for intel – your customers! Ask them how you are doing, what you could do better, what print and finishing they aren’t doing they wish they could. You will end up with stronger relationships and may even discover a new in-house capability or outside partnership is needed.

I ride a fine-line of sanity sometimes debating this question in my head… What is thought leadership?

If we look at Apple, thought leadership is telling people what they need and providing it, essentially creating the market for their own products and services. Some people out there utilizing and incorporating new printing and marketing technologies are successfully doing just that, but most of us aren’t.

I believe most of us are trying to find our thought leadership footing between what we want to share, and what we think our customers want to know. The latter is the dangerous part.

After the last two #PrintChats my view is now this… Thought leadership is a partnership. The “idea” doesn’t have to come from you to count. Taking time to ask people what they want to know is an enlightening process, and you add thought leadership value by being a resource for those answers, even if they come from a panelist in the Printerverse! With the time you save keeping your calls under control, spend a little more listening and reaching out for some content and FAQ topics directly from the people who will benefit from that info – and GIVE THEM a shout-out if they agree. Everyone likes to see their name in lights, even the glow of a device!

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If you are going to Graph Expo please consider joining us for our free panels and special events in The Printerverse booth 3867 from September 13-16, 2015. If you can’t make it to the show, we’ll bring it to you LIVE via Livestream! All the info you need is here, and don’t forget to connect with our awesome Intergalactic Alliance partners and special guests who are giving us their time to answer your questions, and yeah a few of mine too.

Listen Long and Prosper!


#printselfieDeborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at PrintMediaCentr, a Print Buyerologist™, Integrated Marketer, Industry Speaker and Blogger, Cultivator of the Print Production Professionals Group, the #1 Print Group on LinkedIn, and host of the weekly industry #PrintChat on Twitter. She has more than 25 years experience working in advertising and marketing, and currently works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them achieve success with their cross media and social media marketing endeavors.

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