Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 

Oct 23, 2018

Jeff MowattBy Jeff Mowatt

A question I sometimes ask managers and salespeople when I speak at conferences is, “How much business do you think you may be leaving on the table with your existing customers?” Most lament that there’s lots of room for growth in gaining more of their customers’ wallet share. I believe that most companies — even small businesses — have at least a million dollars worth of extra potential revenues sitting in their filing cabinets. The problem is employees aren’t effective enough at cross-selling and cross-referencing their other products and services. Let’s talk about how to get more of this business out of your filing cabinet and into your bank account.

Lesson from Las Vegas

First, decide which customers you should focus on. Consider the strategy of casinos. They categorize their customers as being tourists, high-rollers, or whales. “Tourists” and “high rollers” are self explanatory. “Whales” are the ultra rich who can afford big losses and still return for more. Each industry has its own version of whales. These are the first customers to approach. The problem next is how do you ask your whales for their extra business? Let’s begin with what not to do.

Make it deliberate

A common way to ask customers for more business is to mention, “By the way we have this other product or service that you may be interested in.” That approach works okay if you’re selling hamburgers and ask, ‘Fries with that?” If on the other hand your products or services are priced higher than $3 fries, you’ll need to have a more meaningful, deliberate conversation than a “by the way” approach. You’ll need three things:    

1. Their undivided attention    
2. Confirmation that they’re pleased with your existing products.   
3. A suggestion to expand that business.

Get their attentionInform your whale that you’re doing a “courtesy check-in” to ask for their input and advice on some of your products/services. Customers are flattered to be asked for advice. For them it gives them an opportunity to sound smart. Positioning the conversation as a courtesy check-in implies that it’s something pleasant (a courtesy) and that it won’t take a long time; you’re merely checking in.

Begin the conversation by expressing appreciation. Tell them why their business is valuable to you and what you like about doing business with that particular person. Do your homework and be specific. Remember, these are your whales… there will be lots of reasons you appreciate their business. So, go ahead and tell them.

Think about it. if you stopped the conversation right there you may have just cemented that customer’s loyalty. How often do you think they hear this type of feedback from a supplier? You may in fact be the first supplier who’s ever told them this. Customers are human; they don’t like being taken for granted. With corporate clients, the money they spend often doesn’t come out of their own pockets. So, it costs them nothing personally to spend a little more with a supplier who appreciates them. Good return for the cost of saying the decent thing to your best customers.

Confirm your strengths

Tell your whale you want to continue to earn their business. Ask if they have any general concerns about your products/services that you should be aware of. If they do express concerns, be prepared to address them right away. It makes no sense to talk about expanding your business at this stage if they aren’t completely satisfied with your existing relationship.

If the customer has no general concerns, then go on to specifics. Ask about three areas in which you think you are doing an exceptional job but would like to verify from the customer’s perspective. This helps remind the customer that you are indeed giving them great overall value beyond just pricing. Then and only then is it time to explore expanding that business.

Ask — don’t tell

After the customer confirms they value your existing businesses, sum up with, “Sounds like we’re doing a reasonable job providing Product X for you… and we’d love to do more business with you with Product Y. What advice do you have on how we might move forward with this?” Again, you’re asking the customer for advice. They may tell you their buying process, or you could discuss doing a pilot project where they try your other products/services in one of their operations for a limited trial.

If you’ve been suggesting they try your other product/service for some time, then consider adding, “We been talking about the possibility of testing this for X months/years. Is this something you’d like to move forward with on a trial basis, or would you rather we just dropped the whole thing? What’s your advice?” With this statement you are asking them to either take a baby step forward or stop wasting time with ambiguous statements. It’s a reasonable question to ask so that you can either advance the process or move on to other clients. Either way, it’s a more solid strategy than simply hoping that someday your best customers might drop you a few more crumbs.

The payoff

The bonus with expanding your business with your whales is not only do you earn more of that customer’s wallet share; you also gain access to more customers like them. Whales after all, congregate with other whales. That’s why I call them million dollar conversations.

This article is based on the bestselling book, Influence with Ease by Hall of Fame motivational speaker Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit www.jeffmowatt.com. Watch for more articles from Jeff in future issues.

 

Rick McCartenBy Rick McCarten

What how much does the electrical industry have to improve to complete with upcoming disruptions in the supply chain?

In May of this year, the delegates at Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s annual conference voted on when our industry would be hit with supply chain disruption. The group collectively agreed that our industry in Canada has only three years to prepare for major disruption. We need to act fast!

 

 

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David GordonBy David Gordon

The rep alignment dilemma… whom to align with to generate sales? End-users? National chains? Independent supportive distributors? Any distributor who will support the manufacturer? The manufacturer? But, the bottom line becomes, what will generate sales to meet manufacturer expectations?

It’s complicated, and channel consolidation and channel diversification will make this more complicated.

 

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Stephanie MedeirosBy Blake Marchand

Stephanie Medeiros leads ABB Canada’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure team, as well as transit bus charging in the United States and Canada. She has been with ABB in various positions for 10 years, compiling a diverse skillset that includes work all over the world. 

After receiving a degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University, Medeiros got her start in the industry by volunteering with the Canadian government as an electrical engineering intern, where she travelled to Peru to help improve their water treatment infrastructure. 

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Wholesale SalesWholesale sales rose 0.6% to $64.1 billion in June, partly offsetting the 1.9% decline in May. Sales were up in four of seven subsectors, representing 54% of total wholesale sales.

In dollar terms, two subsectors — miscellaneous, and machinery, equipment and supplies — contributed the most to the increase in June, while the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector posted the largest decline.

 

 

 

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Investment In Building ConstructionTotal investment in building construction decreased 0.9% in June to $15.1 billion, the first decline in eight months. A slight increase in non-residential investment (+1.0% to $4.8 billion) was offset by a decrease in the residential sector (-1.8% to $10.3 billion). On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction decreased 1.1% to $12.7 billion. Despite the monthly decrease, total investment grew 1.6% year over year in the second quarter.

 

 

 

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Changing Scene

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Select manufacturer executives had precisely five minutes to present a key product with superior growth potential to the members of IMARK Canada. Distributor member executives then rated each supplier based on the quality of the presentation and the perceived sales potential of the product being demonstrated.

 

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Endress+HauserEndress+Hauser has broken ground for its new $28 million Customer Experience Centre for Central and Eastern Canada. When construction of the approximately 47,000 sq ft facility in Burlington is completed late next year, it will provide customers from Manitoba to Atlantic Canada with a generously equipped, state-of-the-art training and support hub for selecting and familiarizing themselves with the company’s latest innovations for process automation.

Last week’s official groundbreaking included a traditional Land Acknowledgment Ceremony performed by Chief R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations.

 

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Ariel Technology Inc.Heritage Sales and Marketing Group was created in late 2015 by Jack Eva, the former owner and operator of Electra Supply Inc., a four-branch independent distributor in South Western Ontario, which he sold in 2012 to the Franklin Empire organization based in Quebec Canada. Heritage Sales is an active member at Electro Federation Canada (EFC) & Canadian Electrical Manufacturers’ Representatives Association (CEMRA).

 

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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Lori BagazzoliBy Blake Marchand

Lori Bagazzoli, Regional Sales Manager for Viscor, is a 20-year industry veteran that has built an interesting career from the bottom up. Beginning as a 19-year old just out of college in customer service with EXM, she gained an intimate knowledge of the electrical and lighting supply business by working her way through various organizational levels.

“I was definitely able to learn the different roles, and understand all the different aspects of the business,” she said, “starting so young, I really had to put in my time to be able to move up.”

 

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Louis BeaulieuBy Line Goyette

Neither a Millennial nor a Baby Boomer, Louis Beaulieu embraces new technologies and new markets, but remains faithful to family traditions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in management from Laval University and is the General Manager of Ouellet Canada. A perfect profile for a career in the family business.

When I ask him if, as is often the case in a family business, he had always known that he was going to join the company, he replied, “Not at all. When I was young, I spent my school holidays at my older brother’s farm at Ile d’Orléans.

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Looking Back

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