Tag Archive: referrals

Have You Thought about Increasing Demand?

March 8th, 2019

If you are reading our newsletter, I have no doubt you are interested in increasing demand. Whether an owner, executive or key player, increasing demand for your products and services has to be top of mind. Let’s put it this way. No matter the position of my client (typically a CEO, Owner, CFO, General Manager or Board member), he/she is interested in increasing demand.  Consequently, the projects we work on are typically related to increasing demand, either directly or indirectly.

I was on a panel about increasing demand at the Anti-seminar Executive Luncheon. We had interesting discussions about demand from several diverse points-of-view. Thanks to Chase Photography, you can see them as a livestream on Facebook – video 1 and video 2 (about 60 minutes total). In thinking about how to increase demand, a few highlights include:

  1. Observe how your customer uses products and services –An often-overlooked gem is to follow Apple’s lead and observe how your customers are using your products and services and look for ways to enhance their experience. Have you taken a step back lately to look for areas where you can further help your customer?  Do you make working with your company onerous? That’s an obvious one yet commonplace. Imagine if you looked further!
  1. Do you provide a superior customer experience? If you ‘shopped’ your business, would you want to buy from it? Do your customers receive their products and services as ordered and in good quality/ condition? On-time? Quicker than the competition? Do you allow for easy returns? Hopefully you answered yes to each of these. We’ve found that this solely achieves a base level of customer service. Thus, the question becomes, “What are you doing to go over and beyond to make your customer compelled to return to you?”.
  1. Are you referable? First, people buy from people; not companies. Are you people referable? The #1 strategy to increase demand is referrals. No matter whether we are talking about a manufacturer, distributor, transportation partner or service organization, referrals can generate more business than any other method. Just as much as we enjoy buying the latest technology based on the referrals from our friends, the people working at companies also refer. When is the last time you attended an industry event or conferred with local CEOs? You better believe business gets done based on word of mouth.
  1. What can you take over for your customer? We have found that whether the industry is aerospace and defense, food and beverage, building products or healthcare products, there are opportunities to take over tasks for your customer. One common and prevalent one is to figure out what your customer needs at each of their branches/facilities and keep them replenished so that they have the ‘right’ inventory at the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time. We see this as gaining relevance.  Distributed inventory is becoming an essential element of the end-to-end supply chain plan as customers expect Amazon-like service and will find someone else if you cannot meet their needs.

When at PaperPak, we won supplier of the year for two years in a row with our #1 healthcare products customer because we implemented vendor managed inventory and were able to maximize their service levels while minimizing their inventory levels (cash tied up throughout their system). It didn’t hurt that we also grew the business by partnering further with them while reducing our costs and inventory levels as well. Have you thought about taking a request from a customer and turning it into increased demand for you?

Our most successful clients are thinking about these types of strategies to increase and manage demand. Why not spend a few minutes to listen to the expert panel and walk away with a few insights? If you’d like an expert to assess your situation to partner with you to achieve these types of results, contact us.

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What are the Best Referrals You’ve Received?

October 5th, 2017

I lead a group of trusted advisors for ProVisors in the Inland Empire, and we celebrated our five year anniversary in September. It was a fun celebration and interesting to see how many long-term members we have, who have gained significant benefit from participating in the group. I very much appreciate my executive committee as they helped create this amazing success. A BIG THANK YOU to Kathy McEntee, Gus Marantidis, James Valmonte, Jan Palmer, Dana Mitchellweiler, Steve Nosenchuck, John Tulac and Mike Kouyoumdjian.

Provisors members sharing their best referral stories

At the anniversary event, we talked about our best referrals, introductions, resources or assistance gained during our tenure in the group. What I thought was quite interesting is the common theme behind the stories – it is more about the intent behind the referral than the referral itself. You might think a referral that turned into $50,000 or $100,000 would be quite valuable (and it is!), however, many folks who have received big referrals talked about the more personally meaningful ones.

For example, one of the stars of our group is Brian Reider (partner with BB&K, a business attorney and outside general counsel) who clearly takes it the extra mile with his referrals. Several folks mentioned stories that relate to Brian, and although I didn’t bring it up (as there were too many great stories to fit into our short meeting), Brian saved the day once by helping my APICS Inland Empire chapter (a non-profit group of supply chain and operations professionals) with someone who signed up for our class who didn’t have the best intentions. We are not attorneys, we are operations gurus. So, we greatly appreciated Brian’s help in resolving the issue so that we didn’t have to make our regular members suffer because of one bad apple.

What stands out in your mind as the most valuable introduction, resource or help provided by your colleagues and contacts? I bet you’ll be surprised by what you come up with. Perhaps we should all give pause to what is truly meaningful to us.

 

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