By Sid Chadwick
“The reason I’m avoiding a Customer Survey, that would probably uncover at least another million dollars of extra business… at current customers… is I know I’ll end-up being the one who has to follow-up on all those new opportunities at current customers…..!” …………………………….Well-Respected Company President
The owners’ discussion was going in circles….focusing on:
- Needing to find and hire a Sales Rep….or two.
- Observing that current Sales Reps are too comfortable with their traditional productivity - and generous pay.
- Most of their companies are needing more business…….now.
- Most are needing to find and hire another CSR… to better support and free up current Sales Reps… who are handling their own work orders.
- All seemed to want and need an experienced “Print-Industry Sales Trainer” – for improving productivity and discipline…of their current Sales Reps.
Finally, I asked permission to ask a few questions (you could see a couple of the owners “start to immediately tighten up”):
- Do any of you have customers who send you all – and I mean 100% - of their print, signage, and fulfillment work? (There were eight of them assembled for this Meeting – and no one indicated they were getting all of any customer’s work.)
- Are there any “Major Account Reviews” scheduled for the balance of this year – for you to attend with your Sales Rep (representing a major opportunity to improve both organizations’ Scheduling, Productivity, and Profitability)…..? Don’t these discussions almost always result in additional business…?
- What internal Incentive-Promotion, of any kind (e.g., Weekend Trip for Two, Dinner for Two at a Steak-House) do you have running that pays a Rep a bonus for developing “Totally New Work” - from a current customer?
(or) To break your Team’s expectations of themselves, when did you last offer a bonus for extraordinary performance – that anyone could win (so you would not have just one winner)?
- How many Plant Tours do you have on average - each month?...Each week? Don’t they practically guarantee your hearing, “I didn’t know you did that?”(Do you insist that your Rep introduce the Visitor to you?)
- I created a “Plant Tour Customer Survey” – about twenty years ago. Giving that Survey to your Plant Tour Visitor, at the end of your Plant Tour, with a pre-stamped and pre-addressed envelope back to your President – seems to create a “WOW” effect….! (Note: Some users have received two-page letters with the returned Survey.) You may access that “Plant Tour Customer Survey” by this link >>>
The Wall Street Journal ran a story last weekend (‘March Madness Is An M.B.A. in Disguise’ ) – illustrating that a no. 1 seed NCAA Tournament team can be upset by a 13th seed team, especially when the 13th seed team’s coach is a keen observer, and knows how to get his team to trust him - to execute the non-traditional. There were multiple examples in the article, including in 1996 when Princeton upset UCLA, the defending national champion…!
It’s my observation that too many commercial print companies are operating much like those eight companies - in that owners’ discussion.
Mediocrity – at its best.
And there’s the opportunity – for every company and Sales Rep – willing to step out and distinguish yourself – with consistent, extraordinary, personalized service - for your customer.
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful…that’s what matters to me.”………..Steve Jobs