April  2004

Publisherís Notes
An Opening View

Whatís in a Relationship?

In the competitive market we live, what is the difference in what you are offering to your customer from what your competitors are offering? Certainly, there will be customers who buy on price and price only. Sometimes it doesnít matter what you do; that customer will always take the low bidder.

You have probably gone round and round about your competitorsí prices and wonder how in the world they can offer these prices and still make a living. After extensive efforts and many headaches, you have come to the conclusion that you cannot go down to that level because if you did you would not be in business much longer. 
What do you do when you come up with a situation where you are equally matched with your competitor?

The deciding factor in closing the deal may be what kind of relationship you have with the customer. What have you been doing for the customer over the sales cycle that is going to close the deal? 

Whether it is a long sales cycle or a cycle that takes place every month or less, just calling up and asking for the order is not going to work these days. If you are considered the ďleaderĒ or a top company in your line of work, I would certainly watch out for the small guys or the new guys on the block. They are not complacent, they donít have steady orders coming in. But they certainly are coming after the orders you have been getting for years now. So you can bet they are meeting the customerís basic needs so they can get their foot in the door.

Let me share with you a short story that deals with a new manufacturer trying to get his new product line hooked up with a distributor. Letís call this manufacturer Company A. 

Company A desperately wanted to sell through distribution but was running into all kinds of road blocks setting up appointments with distributors in a certain area. After exhausting all avenues and not getting any return calls from distributors, Company A had to look for an alternative route. 

The owner of Company A decided that since no distributors wanted to work with him, he needed to go to the local dealer and try to set up a relationship with it. Company A called and set up the appointment, made his presentation and basically did all the little things he needed so that the dealer felt comfortable enough and now buys in large quantities from him. 

A couple of months later, the product Company A is manufacturing becomes very popular, and now the distributor who missed the boat is calling on Company A and trying to get their product line.

The moral of this story is long-term relationships can be good and very productive when you keep in mind how valuable your customers are to your own company. 

Make it a great day!

Brian Welsh, publisher


© Copyright Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.