LISTEN: Podcast With Kim O’Brien of SpeedPro Central New York

Wide format veteran shares sales strategies



Christine Dunne


This last year hasn’t been easy, but Kim O’Brien has let her drive for wide format guide the way.


“You really have to have passion for what you do, and I personally cannot sell something unless I stand behind it,” said O’Brien, an account executive with SpeedPro Central New York. “And I really stand behind the company I work for and represent, and I think that’s been a tremendous benefit for me, especially during this time.”


Kim O’Brien, Account Executive at
SpeedPro Central New York


When the pandemic hit in March 2020, O’Brien lost her job as the majority of her customers shut down or went out of business. But when she gained back her position over the summer, she was focused on finding new customers and opportunities.


Through email and social media, she reached out to organizations she had called on before COVID as well as new businesses. Many noted other printers weren’t getting back to them, and she capitalized on this opportunity. With the support of her boss, Bob Kelleher, and production staff, she explained all that SpeedPro could do—including fast turnaround of jobs (typically, with no rush charges), direct communication with production staff, competitive pricing, and affordable design services.


“There’s oftentimes that my boss will say, ‘You know, the job is big enough where we don’t have to charge design, so let the customer know we will just handle this for them,’” O’Brien said. “So that really relieves my customers of having to hire graphic designers or pay astronomical amounts for design.”


In addition, she’s put an emphasis on excellent communication with clients. She responds promptly to their questions, often via text message outside of normal working hours.


These ingredients have contributed to her success over the last year, helping her secure business in a wide variety of areas of large format: outdoor signage for business grand openings and graduating seniors; vehicle wraps and graphics for local restaurants and food trucks; dumpster wraps and graphics to accommodate the busy housing market; and outdoor signage, floor graphics, and window decals for COVID-related safety messaging.


And while the trade show industry was decimated by COVID, festivals and other events are starting to return—creating a demand for many different wide format products.


“The (New York State) fair is going to be open now, so I know we’ll see an increase in business for the fair,” she said. “We do quite a bit of vinyl banners, even vehicle wraps, all types of Coroplast signage for festivals and fairs like that, and with concerts being open soon, too, we’ll see banners and different types of directional signage for those events coming up.”


Despite the unusual year, O’Brien has enjoyed serving clients in new ways. With about 24 years of experience selling wide format, there’s nothing better than seeing the finished product along with a happy customer.


“I just love to see the work we’ve done all over,” she said. “And I love how my customers come back to me and share with me the successes that they have from the marketing we’ve been a part of.”


Want to hear more selling strategies and insight from O’Brien? Check out the podcast below.