Smart distributors use their WMS to deliver a better customer experience

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
While customer service is an obvious business value proposition, managers of warehouse and distribution centers know that to be competitive, customer service is more important in today’s world than ever before. The growth of e-commerce and e-fulfillment means that all brick-and-mortar retailers compete with Internet retailers, whether they have an online business component or not. In order to keep up, many businesses compete with Amazon’s price position by providing outstanding, more personalized customer service. A good example is a marine supply company in Seattle that uses real-time warehouse information to create an in-store pickup program. Customers are automatically sent a text message as soon as an order is ready for pickup. This gives customers the freedom to order onlin  [Read More...]

You must believe in a product to sell it effectively

Thursday, October 22, 2015
As a sales trainer, I often confront a difficult obstacle that stands in the way of developing more effective sales people. Too often sales people are hindered by limiting beliefs that prevent them from implementing the best practices, principles and processes that can multiply their results. They remain bound by internal barriers of their own conception. Here’s an example. A customer service representative wants to move to outside sales. He was good at his job of reacting to whoever was on the other end of the phone line and responding effectively to the request of all the customers. As a result, he forms the belief that success is a matter of responding effectively to everyone. He’s moved into outside sales, where he naturally brings along that belief. In that new position, he   [Read More...]

Are you really managing gross margin?

Thursday, October 22, 2015
Last week, I was called on to explain distribution to a young manufacturer salesperson: sales dollars don’t pay the bills. These supplier sales types fail to understand that, for distributors, top-line sales dollars are only an interesting number, maybe something to brag about. Gross margin is what pays the bills. Distributors create annual budgets based on gross margin, they plan their business around GM dollars and they talk constantly on the topic. But the question rattling around my mind is what are they really doing to manage gross margin? Back in the ’90s, many distributors discovered activity-based costing. They compared the gross margin produced by individual customers against the cost of activities performed for the customers. For many, the results were eye opening. Whil  [Read More...]

Social media myths, musts

Thursday, September 17, 2015
OK. So ya' know that ya' need to get involved with social media. All right already! But, what do you do to improve sales, and what is simply a waste of time, money and effort? That is the question. Knowing these three myths and three musts (plus an important bonus!) will help you successfully embrace social media. Myths of social media 1. You have to be on every platform. Baloney! You need to be on the platforms that will work for your system in your operation for your customers. Period. End of story. You need to have tools and tactics that help you attain your overall objectives. Find what is important to your customers and be there for them. This requires research, and it will be well worth it. 2. Treat social media just like e-mail blasts. Hogwash. Social m  [Read More...]

Simplify the sale

Thursday, September 17, 2015
Trainers and consultants love to make the simple things complex, and the complex things downright indecipherable. That’s how a lot of consultants build their reputations and extend contracts – the more the consultant can complicate something, the less you know – and the more you need him. So, if the “Consultant Police” come after me, you’ll know why. What I’m referring to is the old “complex sale” philosophy. The “complex sale” strategy was something that was big a few years ago, but in the world of selling, I’m seeing it fade out a bit. The reason is simple: While selling itself may not be simpler now, most companies’ decision-making processes are. Complex sales (and complex buying processes) depended heavily on the existence of a thick layer of middle management with time on th  [Read More...]