Firehouse Blog

From the Chief

The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association

terryblogThe Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) is an international trade association for the large-format graphics industry. Founded in 1948, SGIA has grown and evolved with the print industry. Its membership includes screen printers, wide format digital printers, photographers, offset printers, printed electronics providers, garment printers and more. Headquartered in Washington DC, SGIA is a vital partner for anyone in the printing industry. The SGIA website contains a wealth of resources to members including a vast archive of industry articles and webinars on everything from print technology to marketing your business.

Firehouse has been an SGIA member since 2005 and I have been serving on the board of directors since 2011. Our VP of Operations, Paul Meek, serves on the Graphics Production Committee, and he is the incoming chairperson for the Safety, Health and Personnel Committee for 2016. Committees meet annually and collaborate throughout the year to assist and support SGIA members.

SGIAmainThe annual trade show (SGIA Expo) has over 25,000 attendees, over 500 exhibitors and nearly 250,000 square feet of exhibit space. The 2015 show is coming to Atlanta on November 4.

It’s safe to say that SGIA has had a major impact on the evolution of Firehouse. There’s nothing like collaborating with your colleagues around the world who are all dealing with the same challenges.

I’ve also become heavily involved in a sub-group of SGIA named SPIRE. SPIRE is a network of CEOs and top executives, representing the industry’s leading producers of retail, point-of-purchase, OEM, transit, outdoor and similar graphic solutions. As the Chairman of SPIRE, I set the annual meeting agenda around topics of particular interest to the group. Our 2015 meeting was the Automation Summit.

Check out the SGIA website and consider becoming a member. Among the many benefits are free OSHA and environmental consulting, equipment reviews and industry statistics. I hope to see you in Atlanta or at our SPIRE meeting in 2016.

Terry Corman
Firehouse CEO

Time for a Change

terryblogTerry1989At the age of 67, and with 25 years of running a small business in Indiana and 5 years of the same in Europe, it is the right time to turn the day-to-day operation of Firehouse and Firehouse B.V. over to youth, energy, and brainpower. Randy Baer has slipped into the chair behind my desk, and has taken the helm of both businesses as our new COO. He has developed his skill set over the last 20 years with Firehouse, and he is ready to lead us through the next 20 and beyond.

I can now get out from behind my (new) desk more often and spend more time nurturing our client relationships. I will also be focusing on new product implementation and new business development. All of a sudden, I am having fun at work again. This change has been a wonderful learning experience for me, and it has turned out to be a terrific boost to the company.

The take away from this is, I guess, you cannot really have anything until you have the willingness to give it away. Giving away my job of 25 years has given me a great new opportunity to bring exciting new products to Firehouse. I’ve spoken a great deal about automation in our industry, and the most exciting developments I am seeing at Firehouse are in this field.

Stay tuned,

Terry Corman
Firehouse CEO

Anatomy of a Sales Call

terryblogThe very best sales people have what I call quiet confidence. It is impossible to fake, but it takes an effort for strong sales people to use it on every sales call. Quiet confidence is earned and intentional.

Let’s begin this nugget of sales advice with the admission that a sales call is a show. It’s a play. And humans are hard wired for story. You only have to look at the consumption of books, movies, television, and yes, video games to grasp that truth. In gaming the player becomes part of the story. That participation factor is powerful. But how does that relate to the sales call? Read on.

AnatomyOfASalesCallHere’s the set up. Every compelling story has a beginning, middle and end. The beginning introduces the main characters and the conflict. The middle drives the story forward, ramps up the conflict and builds up the characters. Finally, we have the resolution of the conflict and the transformation of the characters by the events of the story. The end.

Since sales calls should not be horror stories, let’s stipulate that good sales calls should relax the audience with the quiet confidence of the actor, that the actor then ‘shows’ the audience, through the unfolding of the story, what is in it for them. In movies, books and all stories, the audience gains knowledge and or confirmation of their beliefs and mores, and in doing so, the audience is rewarded. Play a video game, and it all becomes more intense, because the player is a part of the story and the resolution. Any doubt why video games are bigger money than movies?

We now ‘cut to the chase’. The actor (sales person) has to make the audience (customer) feel comfortable with the quiet confidence of their presence. The sales person then draws the customer into the story by showing them, by way of demonstration, something that is important to their job and broadens their knowledge base. If the sales person can hand the customer something during the story, then the story becomes more interactive and memorable (like a video game), which has a greater impact.

Then, once the story has been told, and the sales person has hit his marks and said his lines, it is time to exit the stage. The sales person must remember that he or she cannot force the results, or as this metaphor calls for, the applause. Applause comes from the audience, not the sales person’s desire.

When Jack Nicholson or Meryl Streep are on that screen, you feel the quiet confidence that comes from their years of training and experience. They don’t tell you the story, they show you the events as they unfold, and they show you how they were transformed by those events.

Those are the broad strokes. The subtleties are still to come. But the initial take-away: “Interactivity, demonstrate and show them what’s in it for them”!

 

Terry Corman
Firehouse CEO