|Helping Manufacturers And Distributors Improve Sales Performance And Profitability 800-867-2778 Issue No. 46|
These are very difficult times for manufacturers and distributors.
A faltering economy, rising costs, declining demand and intense downward price pressure are just a few of the challenges you face.
Some businesses are responding to these challenges by hunkering down and going into survival mode.
However, others see this as the time to take action to assure their continued success when economic conditions improve.
If you are in this second group, read on
The challenges manufacturers and distributors are dealing with today are greater than any you have faced before.
No one expert, survey or book is capable of providing the answers.
I believe that meeting these challenges will require new and innovative solutions that can only be developed by tapping the collective knowledge and experience of both manufacturers and distributors.
In the last issue of Channel Focus, I stressed the importance of manufacturers and distributors working together to find ways to increase sales, improve profits, and do a better job of collecting and sharing information.
Coming up with solutions is important, but it is only part of what must be done.
If real financial benefit is to be realized, these solutions must be translated into action. And this is where manufacturers and distributors need the most help.
During my 15 years of helping manufacturers and distributors increase sales and improve profits, I've seen three common barriers that keep them from taking actions that could produce financial benefit for both parties. Let's look at each of these barriers and how to move past them.
Move from talking and planning to action
Perhaps you've had a similar experience to what I'm about to describe.
You attend numerous lengthy meetings, during which you engage in in-depth discussions of a particular problem.
Volumes of e-mails are sent back and forth on the topic. Experts, using mind-numbing PowerPoint presentations, deliver their recommendations.
Next, you attend another round of meetings during which you develop plans for how best to respond. Finally, both parties agree on a solution, and then... nothing happens.
The reason: Manufacturers and distributors often assume that, because they have thoroughly discussed their problems and agreed on a solution, action will occur as a result.
Analysis, discussion and decision making are important, but nothing happens until you take the next step. You need to translate your good intentions into day-to-day actions.
This requires that you identify the specific action that needs to be taken, who is responsible and how long this will take.
You must also determine what authority and resources these individuals will need to successfully do what you are asking them to do.
And finally you must hold people accountable.
Replace "smart talk" with simplicity
When people get together to discuss business, they tend to use complex analysis, ideas and language to describe relatively simple problems.
This phenomenon has been given the name "smart talk."
Smart talk leads people to believe that their problems are more complex than they really are. And as a result, they start believing that a simple solution, expressed in simple language, cannot possibly be correct or useful. But in reality, the simplest solution is often the best choice.
Smart talk usually leads to more smart talk, but no action.
To avoid this barrier, you need to demand and value simplicity in the analysis and discussion of your business problems.
Don't wait for the "silver bullet"
Werewolves are one of the most terrifying monsters that fill the nightmares of our folklore. They can transform unexpectedly from the familiar into the horrifying. However, they can magically be defeated using a bullet made of silver.
In business, the silver bullet is a metaphor for the perfect solution to our problems: a solution that is easily implemented, delivers huge results and costs very little.
Some manufacturers and distributors believe that such a solution exists.
As a result, they pass on taking action in the here and now, while they continue their search for the perfect solution.
To avoid this barrier, you must accept the fact that there is no such thing as the perfect solution.
Financial results are realized by taking action now, rather than waiting for a silver bullet to appear.
Make the most of difficult times
I truly believe that manufacturers and distributors can collectively produce new and innovative solutions to the challenges they face.
However, experience tells me that very few of these solutions will get translated into action.
If you agree that NOW is the time to act, call me.
I will be glad to explain what you can do to translate your solutions into day-to-day actions that produce financial results.
About the Industrial Performance Group
The Industrial Performance Group has a proven history of helping manufacturers and distributors increase sales volume and improve profitability. We provide sales training, meeting facilitation, management seminars, consulting and other services, as well as a wealth of information at www.indusperfgrp.com. For more information, call 800.867.2778
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