Proforma founder Greg Muzzillo served on a discussion panel at the 2012 Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) Show in Orlando, Florida. Speaking to hundreds of distributors, Greg Muzzillo discussed the importance of prospecting to grow a business’ customer base.
When searching for new clients, business owners must tailor their communication methods for the three different types of prospects. They should utilize networking and cold calling to connect with “cold” prospects that are unfamiliar with their business. In addition, business owners can build brand awareness by creating public relations ad campaigns that target these specific customers.
Businesses can connect with “warm” prospects, which have expressed some interest in their company, through phone conversations or scheduled meetings. To maintain a warm prospect’s interest and cultivate a closer relationship, businesses should develop a direct-mail campaign to target this type of potential customer on a regular basis.
The final stage of prospecting involves closing the deal. “Hot” prospects are ready to buy and want to view a sales pitch. At this stage, business owners need to show potential customers concise and transparent sales presentations.
In his capacity as founder, Greg Muzzillo helps lead Proforma, a provider of high-quality graphic communications solutions to more than 50,000 clients. The company furnishes promotional products, business documents, e-commerce support, and printing services. In addition to his experience with Proforma, Greg Muzzillo founded PFG Ventures and has held a seat on the board of directors for the International Franchise Association.
Promo Marketing magazine recently named Proforma the #1 Top Distributor in the printing and promotional products industry. The publication awarded the company this distinction for the fifth year running on the strength of Proforma’s sales, which reached more than $400 million in 2012. In making its rankings, the magazine compared sales in 2012 to sales in 2011. Complementing this honor, Proforma earned the #2 Top Distributor distinction from both Print+ Promo and Print Solutions magazines. In addition, Counselor magazine honored the company as the #3 Top Distributor.
Proforma operates an annual marketing fund that provides millions of dollars of sales support to franchise owners. The fund helped owners realize average growth of 24 percent in 2012.
Greg Muzzillo has made a career of helping companies speak with a purpose through consistent branding and strategic communications. As co-owner of Proforma, a graphics marketing company with more than 750 locations throughout North America, Greg Muzzillo knows that the majority of a business’s customer base now expects an online presence to assist them in finding information.
To be sure customers have what they need within moments of realizing they want it, an effective website is key to engaging clients and closing the deal. Three critical components define a valuable website. First, the site should be clutter free. A clean page populated with short, direct text and a few images that have been selected with a purpose grab attention much quicker than sites where the viewer has to trawl through excesses.
Second, the site content must be informative. The decision to use photos, video, audio, or text is less crucial than the meaning those snippets convey. Whatever the message, it must be presented directly so that in a few moments the web user is able to gather all key points.
Third, social media remains the final identifier of a solid site. A link to Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or other platforms will ensure the company remains in a customer’s mind even after leaving the main site and no longer shopping for a specific good or service.
At the 2012 Ad Specialty Industry (ASI) Orlando Show, Greg Muzzillo, founder of Cleveland-based Proforma, sat on a featured panel hosted by ASI President and CEO Tim Andrews. During the panel, Mr. Muzzillo discussed what he has learned from his over three decades of experience at Proforma. Over the course of his tenure with the firm, Proforma has grown to a network of over 750 member offices, and was named to Fortune’s list of the Fastest Growing Companies three times by Inc. Magazine.
In a post-panel interview with Tim Andrews, Greg Muzzillo provided some advice to emerging distributors. Mr. Muzzillo noted that eight out of ten target customers are typically happy with their current supplier, so newer businesses only have around 20% of the market to work with. As a result, emerging companies have to be extremely proactive when prospecting new clients, and must spent time out in the field.
Greg Muzillo often tells the managers of Proforma offices with revenues from $0 to $400,000 to be “on the other side of the desk, out in front of prospects and customers.” Sales is a difficult field, but securing a profitable deal with new clients makes the difficulties worthwhile.
As President and Co-CEO of promotional products supply firm Proforma, I take pride in keeping things simple. Mission statements and strategic plans are a case in point; they tend to be encyclopedic in length, covering myriad issues and disguising the core value that the business presents to employees, vendors, and customers.
Clearly outlining those principles from the start is imperative, illustrating how businesses goals can be met. As head of a growing company, my core mission is to make the dreams of franchise owners come true. Starting the company in 1978 with only $200 in hand taught me the importance of getting others on board with a great idea through simple communication, avoiding the complicated jargon that typifies so many businesses. My team and I realized the benefits of this in the 1980s, when we envisioned a new franchising model that would leverage a nationwide network of independent distributors to achieve strong relationships with suppliers. By following a simple path of recruiting great franchise owners and helping them start their paths to profitability, we were able to fulfill our vision of success. Today, we enjoy the results of this simple yet effective approach, having achieved recognition on the Inc. 500 list along with sales that have surpassed $350 million annually.
One thing that my approach of keeping it simple has taught me is to withhold judgment and let people’s performance and results speak for themselves. In the past I thought I knew what made a successful franchisee, but I have been proved wrong so many times that I no longer look for specific qualities in members of the Proforma family. Indeed, some of the most motivated and profit-driving franchisees have joined the company with relatively little fanfare and with minimal expectations on our part. One individual had few of the outward characteristics that define success, yet generated millions of dollars for Proforma over the years. For this reason, we keep things simple at Proforma, simply drawing up a list of qualities we do not want in prospective franchisees and staff. A criminal background and bad credit are nonstarters with our company, and we also engage in personality tests to ensure overall compatibility. I encourage anyone with leadership potential and a drive to succeed to carve out a niche within our network of printing, promotional, e-commerce, and multimedia solutions providers.
About the Author: Past winners of the U.S. Small Business of the Year award, Greg Muzzillo and his wife Vera were honored in 2010 for their work with Proforma through Counselor magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year award.
A member of the International Franchise Association, Greg Muzzillo founded Proforma in 1978. He grew the company’s revenue to more than $1 million in just a few years after establishment. In recent years, Greg Muzzillo enacted a Demand Generation, direct mail program to educate potential clients, who would previously have had no contact with Proforma’s list of services, about the offerings the company provides to businesses. The Demand Generation Program focuses on a “pull marketing” strategy to help put Proforma’s distributor members into more qualified selling situations more frequently.
While many of Proforma’s advertising initiatives have been successful on the whole, the Demand Generation Program has generated a significant number of appointments with top decision makers and led to more than $1 million in new business for Proforma distributors. The Demand Generation Program was developed to show businesses the comprehensive services Proforma offers and how Proforma can grow clients’ revenues and brands. This proactive method enables Proforma to remain in line with the future of marketing and sales and increase the company’s success. The Demand Generation Program, which the firm enacted in 2010, adds a new aspect to Proforma’s award-winning marketing tools and resources. For more information about the Proforma line of services and products, visit the official website at www.proforma.com.
Founded by Greg Muzzillo in 1978, Proforma has offered the highest caliber printing, promotional, and multimedia products to its clients for the past several decades. Proforma’s executive team works every day to achieve the strategic goals of the company, and these individuals also provide oversight to the staff who works at the Proforma Worldwide Support Center just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Greg Muzzillo, who remains a member of the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute, opened Proforma to meet the growing needs of businesses around the United States. This article gives a brief overview of some of the eCommerce and multimedia products designed and produced by the Proforma team.
1. eCommerce Solutions. With the latest techniques, Proforma can develop an online store, marketing campaign, and brand control campaign for each client. The company possesses several years of experience in heightening clients’ web presences, and the eCommerce team’s knowledge of graphics programs and communication tools allows it to develop successful workflow automation, inventory control, group purchasing power, and collateral management programs for customers who express interest in increasing their eCommerce programs.
2. Multimedia Products. To reach specific audiences, many businesses use graphics as a marketing and communication tool. Proforma’s team can create a website, digital catalog, and company video, and the multimedia team also develops motion graphics and interactive presentations. Many clients enjoy the multimedia services provided by Proforma because these programs allow for technological growth in their companies.
Proforma also offers printing and promotional services, as well as a business document program. For more information about Proforma, a company which has been featured in several magazines such as Counselor, Wearables, and Print Solutions, visit the official website at www.proforma.com.