How Much Have We Dumbed-Down Customer & Business Development….?

Published Articles
Published in

American Printer

on Thursday, June 29, 2017

By Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc.

“I remember…..we said we should review samples --- each week… ‘Don’t know why we don’t…!”……….Attendee, Sales Rep/Lead CSR Education & Training Program


We’ve dumbed-down learning, and sharing information between suppliers and customers --- and --- within our own organizations.

Does any of the following appear familiar:

  • Customer RelationshipsOur receptionist doesn’t know who called-in --- who wasn’t a Customer or supplier. She did know that we don’t produce what they asked about….and was heard to say, “Sorry…. we can’t help you…..!”
  • Our Sales Reps don’t take key Production personnel on sales calls. Our Production Leaders don’t know much about our Customers, or hardly anything about our Customers’ businesses.  In effect, our Production Leaders are reduced to being “reactive”.
  • Our Suppliers and Customers don’t know which Customers value us the most, or what we’re driving our company to become --- so they don’t know what Referrals we would be interested in receiving --- and --- we don’t ask or initiate those discussions.
  • Our Sales Reps and CSR’s don’t know what our market differentiation is. They especially don’t know why our top ten customers buy from us, rather than buying cheaper --- from a competitor.
  • Not one of our Sales Reps or CSR’s knows why we should be using public databases --- for uncovering and researching major prospects.
  • Sales Reps and CSR’s do not know much --- if anything --- about Samples of projects --- they --- did not manage through production. 
  • Customers generally do not know what we produce or could produce.
  • Many if not most Buyers --- and especially new Buyers --- have not visited our company in the last five years. When they do, we almost always hear them say, “I didn’t know you did that…!”
  • Almost none of our employees have a list of company projects they’ve volunteered to be responsible for developing, or improving. In effect, most employees are “Reactive” --- not “Proactive”.
  • Lack of Buyer Education is a common marketplace theme. In effect, with passive, “Farmer-type” Sales Reps, “we too often --- have the passive leading the ignorant”.


Our great industry is consolidating --- and losing suppliers --- perhaps faster --- than ever before experienced.

Lack of purposeful Customer and business development is a primary cause, and lack of education and training --- and communications of what’s important --- or could be important --- is fundamental to that condition.

Too many associations Boards are reflective of our industry’s condition --- passive, asleep-at-the-wheel, and asking, “Where’s the next convention resort location?”

Have you received and studied  your copy of the “Directory of Graphic Communication Advisors, 2017-2018?”

“The purpose of a business…. is to develop Customers”……Peter Drucker