It’s that time of year when New Year’s resolutions are still top-of-mind for everyone.
However, setting a resolution and actually carrying it out are very different. Everybody knows that a large number of these resolutions will be quietly forgotten after the first few weeks of January.
There’s a simple reason for this: Many people set unrealistic resolutions for themselves. They plan big, impressive results without any plan on how they are actually going to achieve them. Or their plans require massive changes in everyday behavior.
The key to successful resolutions is to keep them simple and practical. Here are three resolutions that printing companies might consider setting for themselves as we approach the New Year.
1. Ask for referrals
Asking for introductions from happy customers is a great way to have some worthwhile sales conversations and meetings. However, this is an activity that is easy to forget to carry out.
Why not set yourself a target of achieving three referrals a week? Add it to your activity or sales targets to make sure you carry this out regularly. It can be much more profitable pursuing referrals than some other traditional sales activities.
Many referrals will come from your existing customer base. Here’s another way to find referrals.
2. Find a networking community
When it comes to business networking, many people think of organisations such as BNI. A group of like-minded business people meet every week or month with the purpose of helping each other win more business. The idea is that other members will introduce you to their contacts so that you are more likely to win new businesses.
Communities such as these can be very effective for smaller printing businesses. However, they are often not the right fit for larger businesses. But this does not mean that networking does not work for larger businesses. It simply means that they have to find the right network.
Other ideas for networking communities include directors’ clubs and trade organisations that your customers belong to. The key element here is that I am recommending networking communities that are unrelated to the print industry. Instead, they focus on your customer base.
Here’s one last practical tip for next year.
3. Hold firm on price
Many printing companies are tempted to cut prices as a way to winning work. The trouble is, once customers see you being prepared to cut prices they see you as an easy target. They come after you for more.
I see many printing companies agreeing to requests for price reductions from buyers as soon as they are asked. They don’t put up any resistance. They assume that they have to reduce price to win the work. But this certainly isn’t always the case.
Next time a customer asks for a reduction, it’s worth asking them why they feel you should lower your prices. It’s worth putting up resistance. You will often end up with a better result.
Here’s something to do now if you want to keep these resolutions
Write your resolutions down. If you commit in writing you are far more likely to remain dedicated and vigilant.
If you keep to realistic resolutions like these and write them down you have a much better chance of succeeding. You are far less likely to find that your resolutions are among the many that are already forgotten after the first few weeks of the New Year.