Attitude & Outlook
“Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” ~ Napoleon Hill
Sales Bank Deposits for that Rainy Day
Early on in my career as a salesman for a Graphic Arts Distributor, I learned a very valuable lesson from my largest customer. This customer, who was also one of my companies largest as well, was a leader in his industry and we had earned his business by supplying the products he needed, when he needed them at aggressively fair pricing. My role as salesman on the account was make sure we maintained the business and helped our customer by providing the products and services that would give him an edge.
One day I was called in for a meeting with my customer and notified that a competitor had provided pricing that while only a couple percent less, amounted to a significant dollar savings. My customer was seriously thinking of a complete conversion, leaving me and my company looking from the outside in. I asked for and was given a couple days to review the situation and see what we could do before a final decision was made.
I knew that just lowering our prices was not going to work, because our trust with the customer would have been damaged and we would lose anyway. The customer would want to know why we were charging a higher price all along. The only way to try to save this was to show the customer what we had done for his company, over and above the normal good products, good service at fair pricing. Another words, what real value had we brought to the party.
Meeting day arrived and I hoped what I had compiled was enough because it was decision time and I could not lower prices. After reviewing the day to day service we provided, I went through a list of probably twenty different activities performed by myself and others from my company, (customer service, equipment service & maintenance, express deliveries, etc…) that went well beyond expectations and showed what I believed was significant value. My customers reaction was silence, which I did not break, and he eventually said “I had no idea you guys were doing all this. I need to see this kind of report on regular basis. We are staying with you!”
Lesson learned! I started keeping file for every one of my customers because it was so difficult to compile from memory, mine & others. I continually added to each file and reviewed with each customer the extra value we delivered on a regular basis. At that point I started thinking of that compiled information as my Bank Deposits which were helping me save for that rainy day, which always comes.