Sales & Marketing: Changing directions, seasons and publications
December 1, 2006
I guess you get to an age in life and in business when others around you look to you for some insight in problems they see but aren’t quite sure how to correct.
Over the past 15 years as a consultant, I have been asked to come into a company to assess their needs and recommend changes.
I had never thought much about this kind of service to the HVAC industry. I started Systematic Selling as a sales training company for contractors and wholesalers and it is still 85 percent of the business. But every once in a while, someone would call and ask me to come in and make an audit or an assessment, and where I thought they needed some help.
Many of you know my background because I describe it in the beginning of my classes. I became involved in a company that was in the red for several years and was next to bankruptcy. I turned this company around, bought the company with the profits generated and sold it to a national wholesaler. During this period, I learned a lot of practical information on what to do and what not to do. At the time, I looked at this learning experience as survival and putting food on my family table but the methods learned have been used in the business I now enjoy.
Early in my consulting career, I received a call from a woman whose husband had died and she wanted to learn how to run the family business. After several days of on-site visits with her employees and looking at the physical inventory, I realized that she needed to make some major changes. Some years later, I met her and her daughter at a convention and they said the company was still successful.
Family mattersSeveral years later, two brothers asked me to help them in some problems they were having in their company. I did a mailing to each employee, received their input and then made two visits to the company. What I learned confirmed suspicions and I was able to make some adjustments that corrected the problem and moved the company in the right direction.
I have said over the years that I probably will be repeating something management has said before, but a new face adds meaning. Any of you that have raised children know that the next-door neighbor is received as an authority on everything.
Why am I telling you about this change in the company’s direction? It is because I have decided to move this column to another magazine with readers who are primarily wholesalers. I have very mixed emotions about this decision.
I will miss all the people who have, over the years, read my articles and made both positive and negative comments. My memories during the past 20 years have been positive and upbeat.
I have learned a lot writing these articles. I once wrote in jest, “If in doubt, call it out - just like in tennis.” I received many calls and notes from people over it, asking how could I make such a remark, adding that some people may not realize it was a joke. Readers are smarter than that, I hope.
I have had fun and I hope I have done some good and at least made people think.
Goodbye, good selling and God bless you all.