September 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
Dear Importers, Agents an Sales Reps;
Save your money!!!!
Most new product pitches that come across my desk are heavily leveraged against the tasting of the product. In BC this is ridiculously costly and doesn’t get nearly as many sales is it should and can.
Smart buyers understand that the taste of the product solves a couple problems, however these problems can only be solved if the business needs of the deal are met first. Tasting/Sampling only serves to provide staff education for those on the floor and to convince me, the buyer, that the product will sell more than once to a customer.
First things first is how does this product solve my business problems? Does this fill a hole in a price and margin segment? How seamless is distribution? Is it a year round proposition, seasonal or one time buy? Does it represent a category I’m lacking in? Do you have the codes necessary for our POS system to accept it?
Lastly what benefits does the consumer realize from this product/proposition. This is almost never answered and it is far more key to the success of the product than the taste.
Most pitches are laden with a long list of features. I call these meetings show up and throw up meetings. The presentation leaves it to me to assume what the benefits to me and the consumer are and this is where the presentation gets tripped up. It is better for the sales rep to answer objections to stated benefits than to argue the validity of a feature of the product.
Sampling should be treated like the subjects to buying a house. It is a condition of sale, but one of the last conditions that need to be met. Furthermore once met, the deal should be closed. So save your money and use sampling tactically.
The Dork UnCorked
May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
It is amazing how time away from something that captivates so much of your time, energy and thought process can add perspective.
I took a week off last week and took the family away. I have come back with some tools that formed by connecting the dots. In other words all the elements were there before, they just hadn’t been mixed together. My perspective has changed and now it is simply about using the tools to test it out.
First and foremost is to prioritize better at work and the tools needed. I have developed a threshold for each category for each store that should allow me to manage our inventory better, track movement against expectations better and that will hopefully lead to greater profitability and accountability of more than just me.
There it is… the reason I blog. Every blog asks me to work out an idea. The idea of this blog was to have the tools that made more people accountable for our mutual success than just me. To create a playing field where it is pretty cut and dry if you are succeeding, getting by or getting tossed.
Ooh that feels good. Feels like I have finally itched that spot that keeps moving.
February 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
It has been a few days since I last wrote about my experiences and I have to say that it was not because I didn’t want to, it was because I just didn’t have the energy.
I know that is not supposed to happen when I am taking such good care of myself; alas it did.
I am not sure what came first the scratchy throat of the lack of energy, however I can tell you that it was precipitated by stress… I think.
I now have a cold and the simple explanation could be that it is because I caught the bug from any number of people that I know that have the cold, but let’s consider some facts. I have been constantly getting 6 1/3 to 7 1/2 hours of pretty much uninterrupted sleep a night. I have been eating my veggies, fruit and proteins. I have been religiously taken a multi-vitamin supplement along with a daily dose of fish oil. Added on to all that I have been following my work out routine to the rep, yet I still find myself fighting a cold. How can that be? All of these things are supposed to have my immune system in tip-top condition.
Let’s take a look at other factors that are known to depress one’s immune system; namely stress and stress. In my job I manage our companies Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Gowalla, Yelp) activities, I meet with all the sales reps, I determine the purchasing plans for each store, I write all the signage in the stores, and I am involved in the day-to-day operations of each store. In recent weeks we determined that we will be opening another store in less than two months, I am developing a total and complete marketing plan for our next two fiscal years, and our regulator, which happens to also be our distributor and direct competitor has been doing some pretty wacky stuff that is making the whole industry very uneasy. Oh and I forgot the element of envy pops in; a number of people I know are just embarking on sun drenched no phone vacations- bastards. So yeah I’m a little stressed.
But exercise and a healthy diet were supposed to help control my stress so what is going on? Is it because the end of the 30 days is near and I can almost taste the bread, the wine, the cheese and I am just not in the moment, whereas 3 weeks ago I was totally in the moment with my cravings and awakenings? Or does it have to do with my nature? Am I just the type of person that seems to relish stress as I know I love being the one with the ball rushing to the goal line. Maybe I just don’t want to pass the goal line, feel a moment of intense joy and satisfaction and then have it go away.
Anyway in a couple of days I will have completed the 30 days and I will come back to these questions. Hopefully minus a cold and hopefully in the moment.
October 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
Most businesses have always measured their performance in terms of inventory, terms, gross margin, and net profits and almost never in terms of Customer Service.
Every staff member, every telephone or fax line, every e-mail address, Facebook Page, Twitter Account, Yelp, and Foursquare account is a contact with your customers, and customers are anybody making contact with your company or within your company. To put this in perspective, we all know what we do when ignored on the phone or standing the till of a company. What would a CEO do if the VP of Marketing didn’t bother to return his or her calls? What is a vendor who can’t get a return call think about the company that they are dealing with? What would they tell their family and friends about that company? The point is that every point of contact is an opportunity to build your business because every contact relates to the bottom line.
There is a local company that I am very familiar with that has been measuring the performance in terms of Customer Service as well as financially and operationally. They simply quantified the customer service relationship. They calculated the number of customer service contacts they have and divided gross revenue by that number. They even went so far as to divide gross profits by the number of customer service contacts (to sound fancy and MBAish I should call these CSC’s).
$100 / 10 CSC’s = $10/CSC
They measure this quarterly, annually and use it as a measure of impact of specific marketing campaigns. What they have found is when they simply invested in customer counts (advertising to increase traffic) the revenue per CSC only increased marginally and in some cases when backwards. When they invested in programs that focussed on Customer Service, $/CSC increased by 15-20%. When they invested in customer service programs and supported that with advertising to encourage more customer contact, not only did gross revenue and profits increase, but the $/CSC jumped 50%.
Here is the other thing they realized. Greater loyalty and engagement from their customers and staff. Messaging to staff no longer had to be dumbed down, rather messaging to staff encouraged discussion debate and innovation. Wierd hey?
If you are not doing this at company start. Start my simply creating a starting point by doing the math. Gross Revenue/Customer Service Contacts.
Thanks for reading this.