The Challenge Of The Man From Shell

The Challenge Of The Man From Shell

This piece has been with me since the 90’s and my days with Andersen Windows. The concept has been impactful when developing proposals and business cases for alignment with customers. What “The Man From Shell” is saying is that he finds greater value in a few or even a single aligned partner with two-way commitment than having access to and managing a number of suppliers. The days are coming to an end of getting proposals from a dozen potential vendors…

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Enough Consulting…How About Helping?

Enough Consulting…How About Helping?

I was reading a position outline the other day for a VP of sales role in the building materials industry and one of the required skills was “consultative sales.” Written by a Boomer for sure. The leaders of construction firms today have access to more information on their phones than was available in the world 100 years ago. They already know their problems and they’ve sat in meetings or sales calls with 50 building material salespeople before us that have…

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Effective Communication

Effective Communication

This guest post aligns tightly with what I’ve always known and believed: that good communication can be as-or-more effective than the actual skill the communicator possesses. I’d take the person every time who is “good” in their subject knowledge but “excellent” in their ability to communicate and mobilize others into taking the right actions.

Changing Minds Before Changing Methods

Changing Minds Before Changing Methods

The topics of lean building, factory-built, prefab, off-site construction, waste reduction, and methods to reduce labor are not only matters of “process” evolution–but more importantly–“thought” evolution.  We need as many storytellers in this space as we do entrepreneurs and captains of the category.  And best when they’re the same person (i.e. Gerry McCaughey). And in our sales calls, presentations, and demonstrations to the craftsman and decision-makers that will be using our new products and technologies should incorporate “thought evolution” messaging to…

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7 Ways The Best Sales Reps Offer Value

7 Ways The Best Sales Reps Offer Value

Here’s a seven-week challenge. Over the next seven weeks, pick one of these areas each week on which to focus  to sharpen your game.  And if you’re already an all-star–then any one or two of these…done just 5% better–could pay you back in a huge way. 1. RELATIONSHIPS.  Probably the number one things sales reps say they do best.  If that’s the case, how do you give “personal service” above and beyond? Can you improve your responsiveness to customers and…

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Building Material Distributors & Dealers: What’s Your 5-Year Plan for Relevance?

Building Material Distributors & Dealers: What’s Your 5-Year Plan for Relevance?

If you and I have talked about the building materials industry before, then you’ve likely heard me describe the “path” between where products are manufactured and the buildings in which they’re installed.  This “path” represents a value chain and whoever owns the greatest part of it also owns the greatest potential for profit. So how do you “own it?”  Do you want to own it?  Do you want to own only certain parts of it? My answer is that a…

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What They Have…”Not” How I Benefit

What They Have…”Not” How I Benefit

I learned so much when I stopped to read this vendor banner today at a manufacturer’s expo. I learned that this company has…….wait for it: “sales reps.” And they have…”customer support services” And that they’re here to “partner with me” on the phone, online, or in-person. Wow–I’m switching all my business over to them right away. Not. If we’re gong to stand out and speak to our potential buyers–use a voice that matters to them. Speak to their bottle necks,…

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You-“We Have 13 Locations”…Them-“Who Cares?”

You-“We Have 13 Locations”…Them-“Who Cares?”

Thirteen manufacturing plants. And a map of where they are. This is the cool slide in our presentation or page in our brochure that we love because it shows how “big we are.” “Me me me. Look at me and how big I am.” Or this one. “We have a precision engineered shank to within 1/64″ tolerance.” Or “This goes on in one application whereas competitors require two.” Or “Our product is 35 percent more energy-efficient than the next leading…

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Aligning Sales & Marketing and the Outputs They Deliver

Aligning Sales & Marketing and the Outputs They Deliver

The sales and marketing efforts need to be just that: sales AND marketing efforts aligned as one. The best marketing organizations collaborate with their sales counterparts to jointly create initiatives, lead generation, and mutually supported plans to help the sales organization present the company’s unique value propositions to the right audiences in the right always. Marketing’s focus on collateral, websites, and promotional campaigns that don’t bring the sales group into the conversation miss on so many levels. The Corporate Executive…

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The Jobsite Builder Call

The Jobsite Builder Call

When  you fish…you go where the fish are.  When you want to sell your products to custom builders…you go where the builders are. Today, instead of swinging hammers custom builders are just as likely to be swinging an iPad.  But in either case, they spend a lot of time on the job site. I’ve found these practices good for me over the years: Be a “regular” at the areas and developments where a lot of custom building is occurring.  Write…

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