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.

 

SignifyThe electrical and lighting industries were shocked this week with the announcement that Signify purchased the recently renamed Cooper Lighting Solutions from Eaton.

The former Eaton Lighting division was scheduled to be spun off from Eaton via an IPO late this year / early next year.  While rumored earlier this year to be up for sale, rather than being spun off, there were no takers for the business. Although, it was reportedly considered by some.  According to Signify, discussions with Cooper Lighting, and Eaton, began a month ago. The interest could have been provoked by the Q3 slowdown in the lighting market with Signify sensing an opportunity to make an acquisition, perhaps at a discount.

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Rick McCartenBy Rick McCarten

For a long time now, many experts have been pointing out how companies should be expanding their service offerings beyond their product sales. Companies are wrapping services around their product and packaging — everything from special deliveries, warranties, repair and technical assistance to 24-hour service. This “servic-ization” helps differentiate companies from their competitors. How big is this going to get? Some reports have this trend becoming the core of our future economy.

 

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Carol McGloganBy Line Goyette

With Industry 4.0 on our doorstep, we are facing significant technological and resource changes, some of which question our industry’s core values. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, digitization, transport electrification, diversity and inclusion are among the inescapable changes that will affect our industry head on, both in its best practices and its business models. We have several advantages to help us deal with the changes, including an unwavering advocate for our industry: Carol McGlogan. She is the first woman to hold the position of Electro-Federation Canada’s (EFC) President and CEO. 

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CEW IDEAL Nationals 400

The IDEAL Nationals are underway with an 18 member Canadian Team supported by the IDEAL Industries Canada crew. This year over 55,000 electrical contractors and electricians competed worldwide so this is the cream of the crop competing here in Orlando .

The 2019 IDEAL National Championship is a highly charged, no-holds barred competition to determine the best electrician in North America and includes teams from China, Australia and Mexico.

To make it to Orlando, contractors have to qualify first and numerous qualifying events were held throughout Canada.

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GDP Rose 0.1 PercentReal gross domestic product edged up 0.1% in August, following no change in July. Goods-producing industries were up 0.2% after two months of declines, led by a rebound in manufacturing, while services-producing industries edged up 0.1%. Overall, there were gains in 14 out of 20 industrial sectors.

On a three-month rolling average basis, real gross domestic product rose 0.5% in August, compared with a 0.8% increase in July.

 

 

 

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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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OmnicableOmniCable would like to thank the electrical distributors and industry partners who attended OmniCable Toronto’s open house on October 23, 2019. OmniCable opened its Toronto branch back in April 2019. Toronto is OmniCable’s first branch outside of the United States. The Toronto facility, which is approximately 50,000 square feet, is OmniCable’s 13th branch and services electrical distributors throughout Canada.

During the open house, attendees toured the facility, met OmniCable Canada and US teams, enjoyed light refreshments, and walked away with giveaways.

 

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Ilsco and Adanac SalesILSCO Canada has announced the appointment of Adanac Sales as agency of representation for the ILSCO brand in the province of British Columbia.

This partnership exemplifies ILSCO’s dedication to collaborate with companies that share ILSCO’s commitment to providing excellent products and service to the electrical industry in British Columbia.

 

 

 

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ABBTotal orders -1%1, order backlog +3%

  • Steady revenues and book-to-bill2
  • Operational EBITA margin2 11.7%, +20 basis points; impacted 70 basis points by stranded costs
  • Income from continuing operations, net of tax $422 million, -1%
  • Net income $515 million, -15%
  • Operational EPS2 $0.33, -7%3
  • Cash flow from operating activities $670 million, +19%, solid cash delivery expected for the full year
  • Björn Rosengren appointed Chief Executive Officer, effective March 1, 2020

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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Stephanie MedeirosBy Blake Marchand

For Stephanie Medeiros, this is an exciting time for Canada’s electric vehicle industry because it is approaching a tipping point. “One or two percent of vehicles in Canada are electric, but you’re going to see this change rapidly. There are different factors that come with that, but to make it a reality you need to have a charging infrastructure in place. One of the factors involved with that is establishing standards for charging, as well as settling on a uniform method for charging — ultimately, constructing a landscape that closely resembles that of internal combustion.”

 

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City Electric Supply - Jon LlewellynJon Llewellyn is the Branch Manager City Electric Supply’s Nanaimo, BC location. “I've worn many hats within this great organization,” Llewellyn told Canadian Electrical Wholesaler. Beginning as a Van Driver, Jon worked his way through several different positions at City Electric Supply after a 10-year career in the trades as a Drywaller. Starting as a driver, Llewellyn would move into the warehouse, and on into Inside Sales, which would turn into an Account Manager position before he would land in his current role as Branch Manager. The ability to learn on the job is an essential skill in an evolving industry, particularly one that is heavily technical. Something Llewellyn has certainly embraced.

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Looking Back

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