Recently, Lindsay and I were having a planning meeting with a new client. Before we went into the nitty gritty portion of the planning, we decided it would be a good idea to visit some of the client’s dealers with him. The more we know about the client, the product and competitors, the better we are at developing the appropriate strategic plan and message. As we set out on the fact-finding mission, we were determined to learn as much as we could and, therefore, were full of questions. One of the most common questions was, “How did you get that POP display or that catalog feature or that signage in place?” The answer was always the same: “All we did was ask for it.”
What is available to us if only we ask? Today, there are so many mediums available for communicating with customers that sometimes the basics are overlooked. We’ve become conditioned to believe that nothing is available for the asking, but everything is available for a price. How often does that attitude unwittingly lead us to missed opportunities and huge expenses — especially when looking at the dealer relationship? As manufacturers, your commitment to dealers is two fold. First, you are expected to supply quality product on time, at a fair price and with reasonable support. But second, in the most successful companies, dealers and manufacturers embrace the role of the manufacturer as that of a sales partner as well. Manufacturers are looked to for support and assistance in selling the product to the end user. As such, wouldn’t it make perfect sense that the dealer will be willing to provide opportunities for you to help sell the product?
For me, there were many lessons learned in this meeting and I was once again energized by the passion and drive of a new and growing company, and their willingness to seek out every possible opportunity. They’re all there for the asking. Are you willing to ask? What fundamentals of marketing have you found lost in today’s business environment?