Friday, July 13, 2007

Developing Relationships in Business

Ranando suggested that he liked for me to write about my business, sales and such in his response to An Appeal. Today I was able to arrange something for a customer that was a good example of how-to-do-things right.

Late yesterday afternoon I received a call from a customer that had "tested the waters" with us but never really committed to doing much volume. The customer is a mid-sized cattle feeding operation in Kansas that employs an "in-house" veterinarian. It was the veterinarian who called.

They have a customer whose cattle often present management problems for the feeding company due to their origin. The service that we provide is one designed to help eliminate some of the types of problems they have been experiencing through pro-active diagnostics. Our service is a great fit to solve at least part of their difficulties. The veterinarian saw the possibilities but is having difficulty convincing the feeding company's senior management and their customer that the service will be beneficial and provide a significant return on their investment.

I asked for a little time to put something together that might help him to which he readily agreed. I then contacted one of my suppliers to explore some ideas. Together we saw an opportunity to provide them with a discounted pricing for our service on a "trial number" of tests. The idea was to show them the benefits in a fashion that was palatable to both the customer and to senior management at the feeding company. I then arranged a conference call for this afternoon that involved the veterinarian, my supplier and me. It went extremely well.

By acting as an advocate for my customer, I was able to position my company favorably with him. By involving the technical services of my supplier, I was able to increase credibility with my customer and bring into play resources that I would not have been able to provide independently. By setting up the "trial run" we are able to gather data for my supplier as well as for my customer. The veterinarian looks good to his management because he is able to arrange the trial at a discounted price that ultimately will benefit his company's largest customer. It became a win-win-win situation.

The other benefit the call provided was in the enhanced relationship that it created with my customer. What was a tenuous foothold with them, is now a much stronger relationship. The potential with this customer is fairly large. We are currently providing only a small number of tests for them. The trial that we are doing will be for 2,000 tests. The potential is for around 80,000+ tests per year. The benefits will flow to all parties involved.

I love it when these kinds of opportunities develop.


CDO said...

As Hannibal Smith used to say on the A-Team. "I love it when a plan comes together"

Of course you may not remember the A-Team that well.

This is just one piece of all the useless knowledge that embarks from the mind of Hillbilly Willy

Good Blog
10-4 Willy

Ranando said...

Customer Service, it's what it's all about.

Great job.

Janie said...

Great job! I love cooperative efforts - good teamwork always spawns great ideas... you rock!

Panhandle Poet said...

CDO: I almost used that line in my post.

Ranando: Customer Service is generally the ONLY thing that can really differentiate a business in the marketplace. It is something that we focus on that has yielded great reward.

Janie: I've always been a big fan of team approaches to sales. I recognize that I don't have all the tools and talent to do everything alone, so I readily pull in those to the process that can cover my deficiencies. I don't even care who gets the glory as long as the job gets done!

Ranando said...

Janie: I've always been a big fan of team approaches to sales. I recognize that I don't have all the tools and talent to do everything alone, so I readily pull in those to the process that can cover my deficiencies. I don't even care who gets the glory as long as the job gets done!

Great point.

I have seen so many business's fail because the owner never learned or never allowed himself to delegate, he had to do and be involved in everything.

Successful people and business's are ones that have learned to delegate, you can't do it alone.

Incognito said...

It's hard to delegate when you don't trust others. I used to have a problem delegating because I always felt I would do a better job, but in the arts, team work is essential. The best shows are when actors work as an ensemble, which is an arts word for team work.
I find it so interesting how so much in the business world is applicable to those of us in the arts.

Panhandle Poet said...

Incognito: There are solid basic life principles that are applicable across all fields. People tend to get "tunnel vision" about their own particular field. The thought is that only those in that field could begin to understand it. With the exception of highly technical areas, I disagree. There is a business side of all businesses that is applicable almost universally. Things like volume and velocity (the quantity you sell and the rate at which you sell it). All business have that problem -- even the arts. How many tickets do you sell? How many shows per week? How quickly can you turn around and perform again? Your art is the vehicle -- a business vehicle could be a tire store, a diagnostic laboratory, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, or a farm. The business is providing a quality product for a reasonable and profitable return.

Blazing Cat Fur said...

Yes proving your value works. We use a 30 day evaluation for our technology, it's a formal process that works.