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12 January 2012,

Perception : You Are Not what You Are, but You Are what Others Perceive

12 January 2012
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Coach Cahyadi Kurniawan

Coach Cahyadi

I found out I have not even written anything on this topic which actually is the most important part of doing business today. I daily preach about setting good image, establish brand name etc with the target of forming a certain (of course excellent) perception on the customers’ mind.

As I always say, we cannot expect we have the best and lower price product in the world, of which it will sell itself.

When I arrived at PTCI many years ago, the margin was terrible low, with two many “entertainment cost”. I found out we were just doing “the same” in the market, while with a different structure we have (old machines, high cost formulation) we just cannot compete neither the local nor the Big boys. We tried hard and did our best, we found out that actually we are good in service and flexibility, and that is the image we want our customer to perceive us.

To form a certain perception, we need an effective way to communicate our message to our customers and there are various ways to do it. The famous way in the ink industry is to build up “relationship” with the customer. The easiest means are: Dine and Wine plus……(during my induction trip when I first joint Coates, I was brought to a Karaoke entertaining customers in a “mad” party and my senior colleague told me: Welcome to the ink world!).

It may be an effective sales tool during the past, since business is still good, profit is mountain high and who care about productivity, wastage and ink price?. Now the situation change (blame for Globalization), growth stalls, profit plunges. All these hurt the boss (or shareholder), suddenly productivity is the key word, wastage is a sin and of course the ink price has to be “managed” (means reduced). But at the same time, we still have to “entertain” our “friend” because we are trapped in the so called “Dracula effect”. What is this scenario leading us  to?

In the current world, we need more Marketing to reinforce our product, service and all kind of “software” to surround our product so that customers prefer to pay for our price which can allow us to survive (detail of modern marketing, please digest more current marketing book). In order to make customers perceive us as a “Total Solutions” company, we have to approach the whole organization continuously to beam out the constant message but with different innovative approach all the time.

Make sure that you bring Win-win solution for both parties, more profit for the boss, more productivity and reduce waste for the production, less headache for the purchaser, and more user friendly and happy for the printers, last but not least more profit for our company means better life for us.

All these activities need the involvement of the whole company, it is not an easy work and much more complex and difficult compared to “entertaining”. I do not object entertainment (advise how to do it, will be covered on the Smart Tips), but entertainment alone will not create any future for us. Nowadays, most of the professional run company, the decision taken is inside a board room, not at a bar. And how can you keep on entertaining at least a dozen of people all the time???

Select your customer, serve them well
In Indonesia, it is no doubt that part of the printing world are still run the “old way” and they might not appreciate our way of doing business. We have no choice as our team is young and we cannot just “entertain” more to break their long lasting relationship, which they had built up for years from the existing suppliers. But I strongly believe if those customers do not value productivity and reduce waste, very soon they will not be around.

We have a choice, we can always choose customers who are sustainable. Those customers are usually very mean and lean, do not expect them to easily accept your price without any advantages and most of them they even do not have the time to accompany us for entertainment.

Focus on them, clearly communicate the image of : Stable Quality, Speed, Technical Service and Reasonable Price, Partnership, Win-win solution” to their whole company. Once we are given a chance, proof them we really deliver as we promised. Once you form their perception, selling will be an easy game.

Remember: You are not what you are, but you are what others perceive

– Coach Cahyadi –

ActionCOACH South Jakarta business coaches  guide businesses in selecting and implementing effective and cost-efficient marketing strategies to boost results with a proven 17-week guarantee. For more information on business coaching, visit or  call 021 2567 5775 .



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