Blog

Distribution Strategy

How to Leverage Technology Gain an Edge: It’s Not About Looking Like Amazon

How to Leverage Technology Gain an Edge: It’s Not About Looking Like Amazon

Presented by: Mike Marks, Managing Partner, River Consulting Group

Before the pandemic, this industry was already facing major changes. From customer purchasing patterns and the rising expectations of customer experience to generational transitions and supplier channels, COVID-19 has only accelerated these disruptions

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Thrive, Don’t Just Survive with the Moneyball Approach to Innovation

Thrive, Don’t Just Survive with the Moneyball Approach to Innovation

Presented by: Andrew Johnson, CEO, ShelfAware, LLC

I was born into the industrial landscape quite literally with my father founding an industrial distributor in 1982 a few years before my birth. I grew up watching our business landscape changing slowly, then along came the internet… the changes were accelerated. Sales geographies disappeared.

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The Price Cutting Challenge

The Price Cutting Challenge

Presented by: Al Bates, Principal, Distribution Performance Project

Price cutting is rampant in distribution. It is also destructive to profit. Price integrity must be maintained so that profits also can be maintained. There are two major tools at the firm’s disposal—targeted rather than across the board price cuts and identifying margin build back opportunities.

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More Inventory or Less?

More Inventory or Less?

Presented by: Al Bates, Principal, Distribution Performance Project

Sophisticated customer research has been conducted in distribution for more than fifty years. During that period, in good economic times and bad, in every single line of trade, the same four customer needs rise to the top. They are as close to absolutes as anything in distribution.

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Max Out Margins with Strategic Pricing: 3 Blog Series

Max Out Margins with Strategic Pricing: 3 Blog Series

By Steve Deist, Chief Operating Officer, Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply

Would you like another point of gross margin?  Of course!  Improved pricing is a great place to start.  But, as we all know, there is no free lunch.  If you want to sustain higher margins you need a strategy.

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Leadership/Professional Development

There’s No Going Back: Time to PIVOT for Productivity and Profits

There’s No Going Back: Time to PIVOT for Productivity and Profits

Presented by: Mary C. Kelly, PhD, Commander, US Navy, Retired

It is time to pivot. There’s no going back to the habits, routines, and the normal that we all enjoyed before the COVID-19 virus. Some leaders are hoping for a return to what life was like in 2019. There is no going back. Let that sink in.

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Trust Is Not Enough

Trust Is Not Enough

Presented by: Skip Weisman

In the well-researched book, which offers data and anecdotes to make the case that “as trust goes down speed goes down and as trust goes up, speed goes up, and costs go down.”

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Harnessing the Power of Appreciation in Business and in Life

Harnessing the Power of Appreciation in Business and in Life

Presented by: Lisa Ryan, Founder, Grategy

Would it surprise you to know that the WorkHuman Research Institute revealed that 21 percent of the employees they surveyed have NEVER been recognized at work and 33 percent haven’t been recognized in 6 months? Even those employees who don’t thrive on recognition, need more attention than that! We must do a better job creating an emotional connection with our employees by acknowledging, appreciating, and applauding their efforts.

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Engage! Keeping Your Top Talent From Becoming Someone Else

Engage! Keeping Your Top Talent From Becoming Someone Else

Presented by: Lisa Ryan, Founder, Grategy

Did you know that 87% of employees are open to exploring new job opportunities at any given time? Employees leave their company when they don't feel a connection to their job or to the people they work with. In a full-employment economy, organizations don’t have the luxury of the “turn and burn” of employee turnover.

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It’s Now or Never: Transform to Win in Today’s Markets

It’s Now or Never: Transform to Win in Today’s Markets

Presented by: Mike Marks, Managing Partner, River Consulting Group

The pandemic has incited five years of digital transformation in a matter of months, only widening the gap between distributors who have been innovating and those who haven’t. There is little use anymore in overlaying good ideas and initiatives on top of existing organizational structures that are no longer sufficient in today’s market.

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Leading Out of Crisis

Leading Out of Crisis

Presented by: Randy Disharoon

In his comprehensive book, “Leadership: Theory and Practice,” Peter Northouse highlights a certain style of leadership needed in times of uncertainty where external forces foundationally shake our markets and standard modes of work

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Five Leadership Lessons from Washington

Five Leadership Lessons from Washington

Presented by: Randy Disharoon

There are numerous ways to evaluate our own leadership style and effectiveness. One way is to learn from great leaders of the past. George Washington, “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” is one such leader who demonstrated five critical traits to serve as the United States’ first leader.

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Leadership: Being a Trusted Employee Matters

Leadership: Being a Trusted Employee Matters

Presented by: Gail Alofsin, Adjunct Professor, University of Rhode Island

“Trust is earned when actions meet words.” -Chris Butler

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What Really Matters…for Executive Leadership

What Really Matters…for Executive Leadership

Presented by: Joe Ellers, Owner, Palmetto Associates

Today, there are many issues facing business leaders.  Outside factors such as disease and societal issues are now on the desks of owners, presidents, and managers.  While these are issues that must be addressed, leadership cannot lose sight of their primary objective which goes beyond short-term survival into long-term financial health.

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Management

Building a Culture of Success: Leadership at All Levels

Building a Culture of Success: Leadership at All Levels

Presented by: Gail Alofsin, Adjunct Professor, University of Rhode Island

I was having dinner with the owner and CEO of a mid-market distributor. Over a glass of wine and a good meal, we began talking about the rapid and transformational changes that are taking place around the world and in the business.

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Crafting Your Vivid Vision

Crafting Your Vivid Vision

Presented by: Dirk Beveridge, Founder, UnleashedWD

I was having dinner with the owner and CEO of a mid-market distributor. Over a glass of wine and a good meal, we began talking about the rapid and transformational changes that are taking place around the world and in the business.

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How to Thrive During the Next Recession

How to Thrive During the Next Recession

Presented by: Paul Reilly, President, Tom Reilly Training

Do you ever get the feeling that things are going too well? Unemployment is dropping. Consumer confidence is rising. The economy is humming along. Business is good, if not great! The next recession is probably the last thing on your mind. Not to be a downer, but there are economic indicators that show a slowdown is coming. For example, the JP Morgan Global Purchasing Managers’ Index is hovering close to 50.

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Marketing

Brand Harmony: Creating a Unified Customer Experience

Brand Harmony: Creating a Unified Customer Experience

Presented by: Steve Yastrow, President, Yastrow & Company

Your customers’ lives are busy! They are dealing with their work, their families, their friends, their hobbies, and their chores. In addition, they are bombarded with sales and marketing messages all day long. How do you cut through this clutter?

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It's Not a Presentation, It's a Performance

It's Not a Presentation, It's a Performance

Presented by: Skip Weisman

As participants were meandering in for my half-day Presentation Power workshop in Detroit weeks before the COVID19 pandemic shut down future similar events for the time being, I began engaging in conversations with some to understand why they were attending.

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Digital Marketing Growth Hacks

Digital Marketing Growth Hacks

Presented by: Jamie Turner, Author, CEO, Speaker

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Marketing in a Multi-Channel World: 2 Blog Series

Marketing in a Multi-Channel World: 2 Blog Series

By Steve Deist, Chief Operating Officer, Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply

A lot of folks consider “marketing” to include things like advertising, promotions, search engine optimization and email campaigns. These are important activities but they are really tactical, not strategic. I call them “little m” marketing.

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Operations

Open to Change

Open to Change

Presented by: Jason Bader, Principal, The Distribution Team

Before the end of the year, my business associate Marshall and I got together to do a podcast on what we had learned over the course of this highly irregular year. Rather than dwell on the negative aspects, and there were certainly many of those, we chose to focus on the positive things we heard from clients as they navigated the ever-shifting currents of COVID-19.

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Tool Up: How to Select, Implement, and Manage Software so that the Technology Works for You

Tool Up: How to Select, Implement, and Manage Software so that the Technology Works for You

Presented by: Anne Patterson, Principal, invguru.com

Today’s Small to Medium Enterprises (SME’s) have an unprecedented selection of software solutions. And cloud-based hosting has virtually exploded the number of options.

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Managing By Exception – Part IV, Focusing on The Most Important Situations

Managing By Exception – Part IV, Focusing on The Most Important Situations

Presented by: Jon Schreibfeder, President, Effective Inventory Management, Inc.

A few months back we discussed the importance of reviewing unusual usage at the end of each month or week. That is examining situations where your forecast of future demand was substantially different from the quantity actually sold or used. Many of you contacted us and asked about making the best use of the time you have available to work on this important task.

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Managing by Exception – Part III, Monitoring Stockouts

Managing by Exception – Part III, Monitoring Stockouts

Presented by: Jon Schreibfeder, President, Effective Inventory Management, Inc.

When you incur a stockout of an inventoried item you run the risk of disappointing a customer.   Unfortunately, it is inevitable that you will not be able to fulfill every request for any quantity of a product.  For example, when demand for a product suddenly increases by more than 1,000% (as we saw with disinfectant products at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic) it is doubtful that you will be able to satisfy the needs of every customer.

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Managing Inventory by Exception – Part II, Interpreting Unusual Usage

Managing Inventory by Exception – Part II, Interpreting Unusual Usage

Presented by: Jon Schreibfeder, President, Effective Inventory Management, Inc.

In the last newsletter, we discussed the importance of evaluating possible unusual usage in accurately forecasting future demand for products. In the next several newsletters we will look at some specific examples of unusual usage, properly evaluating them and adjusting actual usage to reflect what would have been sold or used under “normal circumstances”.

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Managing by Exception – Part I

Managing by Exception – Part I

Presented by: Jon Schreibfeder, President, Effective Inventory Management, Inc.

Do your buyers feel overwhelmed with work?  Is it necessary for them to closely examine each item in a vendor line to determine whether or not its inventory needs to be replenished? Despite their hard work, do you experience stockouts of common items while other products are overstocked?

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Sales

Want to Sell More? Then Know More!

Want to Sell More? Then Know More!

Presented by: Sam Richter, Founder, Know More!

Business is hard. Sales is even harder, especially in today's world where you can't meet face-to-face, visit facilities, and attend in-person trade shows and company conferences. In addition, because buyers are now comfortable meeting and conducting product demonstrations virtually, the competition is more global than ever, and buyer's have more choices and more knowledge about various options.

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Mastering the Steps of a Sales Call

Mastering the Steps of a Sales Call

Presented by: Jim Pancero, President, Jim Pancero Inc.

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Have Control of Your Processes

Have Control of Your Processes

Presented by: Jim Pancero, President, Jim Pancero Inc.

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What is Value-Added Selling

What is Value-Added Selling

Presented by: Paul Reilly, President, Tom Reilly Training

Value-Added Selling is more than a book or seminar; it is a philosophy. This sets Value-Added Selling apart from other messages. Value-Added Selling is built on a simple, yet powerful, value-added philosophy: Do more of that which adds value and less of that which adds little or no value. Value-Added Selling teaches salespeople how to think about selling. Their conceptual grasp of the selling process coupled with their strategic insight and tactical expertise give them a competitive edge over salespeople who simply go through the motions.

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4 Signals the Customer is Ready to Buy

4 Signals the Customer is Ready to Buy

Presented by: Paul Reilly, President, Tom Reilly Training

How do you know when to ask for the sale? When the customer tells you to. The customer will tell you when they are ready to buy. They will give you clues. These are called buying signals.

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Sales Professional Training: Part II

Sales Professional Training: Part II

Presented by: Don Buttrey, President, Sales Professional Training Inc.

Objections will come. Sales professionals must be trained and ready to deal with them effectively. You need SELL Defense! Complaints are inevitable. Every company makes mistakes – it’s how our professionals interact with the customer that makes the difference. These negative experiences handled correctly, can actually solidify customer loyalty. You need to SELL Defense!

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Sales Professional Training: Part I

Sales Professional Training: Part I

Presented by: Don Buttrey, President, Sales Professional Training Inc.

What preparation should I expect my salespeople to do before picking up the phone or meeting with a customer? Most of the time salespeople do the typical prep such as considering the situation, doing some research, or reviewing notes on the customer such as past sales, problems, internal politics, personal facts, previous calls etc. That is important – but it is not enough. Often, at that point they just charge in or pick up the phone and “see how it goes”

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Do You Have a Generic Prospecting Approach?

Do You Have a Generic Prospecting Approach?

Presented by: Colleen Stanley

We all recognize that prospects want to feel valued and special. It’s a basic human need. So why do so many sales organizations use a generic, one-size-fits-all approach when reaching out to prospects? Because it’s easy, doesn’t take a lot of effort or the salesperson simply doesn’t know the value of customizing their prospecting outreaches.

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The Sales EQ and Sales IQ of Effective Sales Management Coaching

The Sales EQ and Sales IQ of Effective Sales Management Coaching

Presented by: Colleen Stanley

I enjoy teaching and coaching salespeople the hard skills of running effective sales calls, what I refer to as Sales IQ. It’s challenging---and fun---to analyze and determine the best strategies to unseat a strong incumbent, attract the attention of an overloaded prospect or eliminate price objections.

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Make It a Process…Key Elements of Sales Management

Make It a Process…Key Elements of Sales Management

Presented by: Joe Ellers, Owner, Palmetto Associates

Sales management is not equal to sales measurement—it’s a lot more important.  Over the years, a lot of sales managers have been focused on looking at reports and analyzing numbers and trends---all good stuff, but this is really like trying to drive a car by looking in the rearview mirror.  There is very little a manager can do to affect what has already happened.

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