I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that one of the hats I wear for the company is that of an instructor. That is to say, I hold regular sessions with interns and junior staff members on topics related to our profession, much like the topics in the series of blog posts we publish. This semester I met with our 2014 fall interns to discuss my role as the principal person responsible for selling our company’s services to our clients.
One of our interns in the session asked how I can just call up someone, oftentimes someone whom I haven’t met yet, and talk about Publishing Solutions Group. Well, I’ve been working in the publishing business for 35 years now, and I love talking about my work and the projects we work on at PSG. It’s easy for me to talk with confidence about products and services that I know to be good. Unfortunately, I don’t often get the chance to talk with many clients, as a lot of my calls go to voicemail. My feelings aren’t hurt, as I know everyone is busy trying to meet deadlines, just as we are at PSG. I’m happy to leave a message to let clients and potential clients know what we’ve been working on and that we’re available to help. Mission accomplished. Again, my goal is to let the people I contact know that we at PSG are ready, eager and—most importantly—able to help.
As the session continued, I talked about different types of clients—existing, new, potential—and another intern in the group asked how we get a potential client to work with us. It was a good question, as I realize that eventually I have to convince my contacts that we’re the resource to hire when they’re looking for help. We have many clients with whom we’ve been working for several years and who know of our strong project management and our support staff’s commitment to quality. I love it when these folks call and say “Ken—we have another project for you folks. Are you available?” These are clients who know and depend on our experience and expertise on a continuing basis. But what about catching the attention of a new client? My voicemails and emails and these blog posts stimulate some interest, and our website brings in potential clients who may have searched online using the keywords publishing services. Plus, we know the publishing community is pretty close-knit, so word-of-mouth is an effective means of carrying the message.
I impressed upon our interns that my means of getting the word out about PSG is no hard sell. It’s no secret formula. Selling our company’s services is selling our company’s strengths and experiences and successes in order to help our clients be a success. And that’s an easy formula to understand.
Did You Know?
Fresh out of college with a degree in English and elementary education, I taught first, second and third grade for several years in suburban Chicago before my first publishing job. I was six feet tall and had curly hair and a bushy beard. (Hey—it was the mid-seventies!) I know my little students were somewhat intimidated when they first walked into my classroom, but they soon came to know me as a gentle giant. The school Halloween parade was a big deal in town, and I was able to use my burly appearance to my advantage in costuming for the parade: one year I dressed as a lumberjack—complete with a fake ax over my shoulder—and another year I was the bearded lady.