I had every intention of using the last issue of the year to offer my thanks to the great and the good of the industry for making 2014 the best NAPPS has ever had. I was going to thank the majors of the industry for making
the NAPPS Partnership scheme such a success and for helping to lay the foundations on which the Association will build over the next five years.
I was also going to mention that the growing number of channel members is helping to convince the UK market that there are companies out there who know what they are doing, so that the term professional services will soon become synonymous with document solutions and not just the IT industry.
There was also a very good chance that I was going to mention the Association’s affiliate members who have continued to supply services to the NAPPS community, giving them an edge and profitability not normally seen in our industry.
However, just as I was about to do all this, I was struck by the piece in last month’s Print IT Reseller which asked our industry’s leading opinion-formers about jargon and why the demand side of the industry is having trouble connecting with the constant stream of three-letter acronyms.
What struck me was that the real problem is not the abbreviations themselves, but how they are being used, which inevitably brought me back to sales technique. The biggest proportion of complaints NAPPS receives from customers is that they have been mis-sold to, or as they normally put it, ‘lied to’. When it comes to confusing abbreviations, the issue is not as unethical as ‘lying’, but it is just as serious.
A confused buyer – regardless of what level you are pitching at within an organisation – usually means a confused seller. If abbreviations are being used badly and are clouding a sales pitch rather than demystifying matters, there is a fundamental problem with how the words are being used.
‘Solution’ has been the key term of the past two, maybe even three, years in our industry. This is the biggest signpost that as a whole we are trying to move towards a more professional way of doing things. If buyers are confused by terminology, rather than excited by a company-wide solution, I would suggest that we have not quite made it to the promised land of a higher state of professionalism.
Finally, in closing, have a great New Year and thank you all for making 2014 such a fantastic one.