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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

PEiR to Power Sales with New 2011 Theme

Over the last few years The PEIR Group has used centralized themes to help our members focus and rally their businesses toward facing specific trends, challenges and practices in the reprographics industry.

In 2010 our theme was Innovate 2010. The idea behind this theme was to help our members and us (The PEiR Group) to review and assess how things were being done in all key functional areas of our businesses and to identify areas that could be run more efficient or ways that our customers could be better served.

Many of you were innovators on a variety of fronts: introducing new products and services to existing customers; identifying new markets and clients to serve were some of the most successful innovative approaches we observed in 2010.

In 2009 and 2008 our theme was Strategic Moves. What strategic moves were made back then you may ask? Many reprographers recognized the need to position their companies towards subcontractors and general contractors. Others realized the need to move into display graphics and make investments in flatbed printers and electronic cutters.

As we look back over the last 12 months, I think you will all agree, 2010 was one hell of a year for reprographic companies and their AEC customers!

In the US, many reprographers experienced double digit declines in revenues due to the Great Recession. Some repro firms were fortunate in 2010 and had small declines or in some cases small increases in sales. In talking with those company owners who reversed the industry trends most attributed their good fortune to their unique markets and/or their diverse mix of customers and services.

Throughout 2010 the recession had a major impact on all sectors of the Global Economy. In the US, the unemployment rate began the year at 10% and remained steady for most of the year. Just recently the economy is beginning to show signs of growth—however it is not coming from the AEC marketplace.

The US construction industry’s unemployment rate began 2010 at 24.7% (highest on record since 1976) and ended the year somewhere around 18% (the highest of any industry and roughly double the overall unemployment rate).

The Architectural and Design community also suffered significantly in 2010. Unemployment statistics for architects indicate that approximately 13% of all architects are unemployed and in some communities, like Phoenix, 20% of the architects are unemployed. As the year progressed the AIA’s outlook for Architects was mixed; November Architect Billing Index began to climb to 46 but in December the index dropped 3 points to 43 (indicating that there are still more building jobs finishing than starting).

So what is in store for reprographers in 2011? The beginning of a whole new business cycle (recovery)! The big run up in construction projects has ended and the new normal is what we can expect. This means projects will begin to be reintroduced to investors, design firms will begin doing a lot more preliminary project design, construction companies will be going anywhere they need to, to find new projects and, everyone will be in need of marketing and sales support.

In order for reprographers to be successful in 2011 and beyond, they will need to stay close to their existing customers, prospect for new customers and new projects and develop new products and services that are relevant and purposeful to the project stake holders.

Reprographers must realize that technology (digital files and the internet) has disrupted the reprographics industry; new digital workflows are being implemented throughout the project life-cycle and as a result drastically reducing the need for prints. Reprographers who think that print volumes will return, as in past economic recoveries, will be in for a real shock.

So what should a reprographer do? Reprographers need to have a sales culture that empowers their employees to sell other stuff besides printing. What stuff and how?  We will get to this in later posts!

I think we all agree sales are the key to your company’s success. If you noticed (above) sales and marketing is key for your customer’s success also. So if we all agree sales is vital for success; how do we learn to be more effective at selling and at the same time helping our customers become more successful?

This is where our theme of SalesPower2011 comes into play.

The PEiR Group will be sharing strategies and offering training programs to help improve your overall sales effectiveness. However, in order to be successful in sales, it is essential to have the right products and services that your customers are looking for. So in addition to sales help, The PEiR Group will be sharing ideas and strategies for selling the right combination of products and services that will help your customers be more successful!

So let’s not dwell on the past and let’s get out and talk to our customers and prospects and find out what they are doing and identify some of the challenges that they are facing and how you are postioned to help solve them.

Happy New Year...Shaun Meany

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