Brynn Hudson (left) accepting her Sir Speedy Salesperson of the Year award from Don Lowe in 2012.
The available data suggests that the average sales volume of quick printing companies in the United States is somewhere between $500,000 and $700,000 per year. That’s not a very tight range, of course, because there’s not a lot of really good data. But let’s not worry about that today, because whether the truth is at the high end or the low end of that range, I’m here to tell you about a single salesperson who has sold somewhere between four to six times the volume of the average quick printing company: Brynn Hudson has sold more than $3,000,000 in three separate years!
Brynn sells for Sir Speedy Printing and Marketing Services in Newark, DE. She started with the company 18 years ago, after graduating from college with an art degree. As you might expect, she started as a designer but quickly got involved in other aspects of production—in fact, every aspect of production. Over the next few years, Hudson progressed from designer to production manager to general manager.
All through that progression, she was involved with sales, and that eventually led to the desire to be in sales full time. “I knew that I could be a successful salesperson," she says. "I had knowledge of the production process, and how to apply our capabilities to our customers’ needs. Added to that, I had passion for outstanding service, and for our company. I came to realize that I could do more for our customers and our company in the sales role.”
Hudson believes in consultative selling. “I don’t consider myself a salesperson; I consider myself a professional listener. It probably helps that I’ve always had a hard time talking about myself, but that just makes it natural to make it about them, to listen to what they need and then ask myself how I can help them.”
This philosophy was instrumental in developing her largest customer. “They were an ‘infant’ pharmaceutical company, just getting started, and at one point they were waiting for a fulfillment vendor to get back to them with a proposal. I started asking about what they needed from those people, and then we figured out how to provide it.” This company contributed more than $1,000,000 to Hudson’s sales volume last year, and we’re not talking about huge, brokered orders. “We print all kinds of marketing literature for them, along with sales training materials and orientation kits: really, anything related to hiring, training, and marketing collateral. It’s a lot of print-on-demand and fulfillment.”
Both Sides of the Coin
Most of Hudson’s business comes from pharmaceutical companies and health care diagnostics companies. Her strategy is to target large corporations in those segments and work her way through their entire organization. She has built strong relationships over the years, including several people who have worked with her at several different companies. “It’s great when you get a call from someone, and they say 'Hey, I’ve got a new job, and I’d like to bring you in to handle our printing!’”
She has experienced the other side of that coin, though. A few years ago, she lost a $650,000 to $700,000 customer when someone at the corporate headquarters decided to make a change. “The local people were pretty angry, but there was nothing they could do.” So what did Hudson do? “It’s not that I got more aggressive in terms of prospecting, because I’m always in high gear. But I worked hard to replace that business, as quickly as possible. I’m very conscious of my responsibility to the rest of our team," she explains.
I think selling $3,000,000 worth of “quick printing” and fulfillment and marketing services is pretty impressive, and I’m sure you’ll agree. Beyond that, I think Brynn Hudson is a model for what a salesperson in our industry should be. Look back at some of the words she used to describe her philosophy and her attitude. Passion for the product and the company. Professional listener. How can I help them? Always in high gear. Very conscious of my responsibility to the rest of our team.
Skill without attitude does not equal greatness. Nor does attitude without skill. But when you put those two things together, you can get very impressive results indeed.
Dave Fellman is the president of David Fellman & Associates, Cary, NC, a sales and marketing consulting firm serving numerous segments of the graphic arts industry. Contact Dave by phone at 919-363-4068 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.davefellman.com.