Did you choose print or did print choose you?
I was working in retail management right out of college, and I had moved to Chicago and was working at Water Tower Mall on Michigan Avenue. It felt like a very prestigious place to work, but the hours were terrible, and the advancement path was not in line with my ambitions. A former colleague came in one Thanksgiving weekend and told me that I should come in and interview with this printing company she had started working for a few months prior. I knew NOTHING about printing, but I went in and got the job easily. It was the early 90’s and my territory were downtown Chicago. I learned fast and became successful pretty fast. If it hadn’t been for that co-worker friend, I just may still be in retail, 30 some odd years later, with varicose veins but a killer discount!
How do you establish credibility with customers, colleagues and bosses?
Honesty and putting them first. I never lie. And I never sell present a solution if I don’t think it’s right. I have on more than one occasion sold a project that was smaller than what was requested because I knew a way to save them money. I learned long ago that to have a long-term relationship with someone you must focus on their needs and goals and your needs will be met as a result.
What advice can you offer regarding negotiating salary raises/ addressing fair pay issues?
Be aware of what your marketplace looks like. Know what the medians are not just for your job but for your geographic area. And have hard data to back up what you are asking for. When you can prove your worth with results and ways your work has impacted the company, that’s a way better sell than saying “I want this because I need it or to keep up with Joe.”
What advice did you receive early in your career that you wished you had followed?
A mentor of mine told me that I wasn’t “bloodied up” enough to become a sales manager after only 5 years in sales. He was probably right. I was probably not as effective a sales manager at 30 as I would have been 5 or even ten years later. I probably made more bad hiring decisions based on idealism and emotion. But I can honestly say that I do not regret making that call. The jobs that I had where I was leading and mentoring a team were some of the most rewarding. Watching someone else succeed has always been thrilling to me. I’ll never lose that. It’s probably why I love being a coach and a mentor so much today. It was good advice, but I’m glad I didn’t take it. Sorry Mike.