Essentials Magazine Essentials Spring 2018 - Page 24

ADD-ON SALES service representatives to drive more lines per order, we must dispel the feeling that asking questions is intrusive or somehow conveys that the customer is incompetent. Trust me, this hesitation exists in your newer customer service people. We sell the items our customers forget. When I teach this subject, I usually discuss the consequences of letting a customer go out the door without all the materials necessary to complete the application. In many situations, the customer will be forced to get back in their vehicle to source a critical, yet forgotten, item. We can hope that the customer returns to our place of business, but that is not always the case. Superior service means that we help the customer spend more time applying their skills and less time sourcing product. The key to supporting this add on service mentality is teaching our customer service people how to sell an application, not just an item. We should consider it a failure if we let one line item go out on a sales order. I grew up in the construction supply business, but this holds true for most wholesale vertical markets. When a customer was buying a tool, it was up to me to ask what they were doing with the tool. As an extension of the tool, what were they going into? Were they drilling a hole – think drill bits or hole saws. Were they cutting something — think saw blades or cutting fluid. In addition to looking forward into the application, we were trained to look backward as well. This meant suggesting personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses or gloves. It could also mean extension cords or temporary power equipment. By looking at the whole application, a world of complimentary product opportunities is presented. Focus on complementary relationships Teaching this concept makes a great foundation for product training classes. Almost any one of our stocked products has a complimentary item. With many thousand items to choose from, the challenge is where to begin. High ticket items can be a good start since they often carry a lower gross margin percentage. To bolster the overall margin percentage, adding some high margin complimentary items can help make the ticket more attractive. Beyond these items, I like to focus on the highest hit items. By definition, these items are the most frequently requested and will appear on the greatest number of sales transactions. Take a look at the top 200 items. Focus on teaching the complimentary relationship of these products. If you want to create lasting impact, don’t be the only one teaching these classes. I have always believed that handing out teaching assignments is one of the best ways to insure retention. Each week, have a different team member teach about an application. Give them a little time to prepare and coach them on how to present the material. If anything, the instructor will become highly skilled in selling the whole application. Create a database for add-on products In addition to training focused on complimentary selling, many of our distribution software packages have the ability to suggest add on items during the order generation process. Although many users know about the feature, very few maximize the capability. The function relies on the company setting up the complimentary item database. This means that relationships need to be documented in the software. Similar to the earlier challenge with product training, the sheer enormity of creating this complimentary database often scares off most users. Work smarter, not harder. Don’t try to create complimentary item relationships for your entire stocked database. As mentioned earlier, just focus on the high hit items. If you can focus on creating complimentary items for the top 200 or 300 items, you will be off to a great start. As an additional teaching opportunity, invite your customer service people to create the list of complimentary items. Watch and study the numbers As suggested earlier in the article, I strongly encourage you to determine the current average lines per order. Create the benchmark and set a goal of improving that by ½ a line. Monitor this number every month and break the metric down by customer service person. I recommend that you use this information to discover coaching opportunities, not pit your team members against each other. If you do decide to reward improvement, consider a team based event. You can kill two birds — creating a performance reward and providing an opportunity for team bonding. If you need help getting started, just reach out. My mission is to make you more profitable. n JASON BADER is the owner of The Distribution Team, a firm that specializes in helping distributors become more profitable through strategic planning and operating efficiencies. The first 20 years of his career were spent working as a distribution executive. Today, he is a regular speaker at industry events and spends much of his time coaching individual distribution companies. For more information, call (503) 282-2333 or contact him by e-mail at Jason@Distributionteam.com. Also visit The Distribution Team’s website at www. thedistributionteam.com. 24 essentials | spring 2018 ADD-ON SALES service representatives to drive more lines per order, we must dispel the feeling that asking questions is in- trusive or somehow conveys that the customer is incompetent. Trust me, this hesitation exists in your newer customer service people. We sell the items our customers forget. When I teach this subject, I usually discuss the consequences of letting a cus- tomer go out the door without all the materials necessary to complete the application. In many situations, the customer will be forced to get back in their vehicle to source a critical, yet forgotten, item. We can hope that the customer returns to our place of business, but that is not always the case. Superior service means that we help the customer spend more time applying their skills and less time sourcing product. The key to supporting this add on service mentality is teaching our customer service people how to sell an application, not just an item. We should consider it a failure if we let one line item go out on a sales order. I grew up in the construction supply business, but this holds true for most wholesale vertical markets. When a 7W7FW"v2'WrFBv2WFRF6vBFWvW&RFpvFFRF2WFV6bFPFvBvW&RFWvrFvW&PFWG&ƖrR( 2FG&&G2 R6w2vW&RFW7WGFr6RЧFr( BF6r&FW2"7WGFpfVBFFFFrf'v&@FFRƖ6FvRvW&RG&V@F&6v&B2vVF2V@7VvvW7FrW'6&FV7FfRWVЦVB7V626fWGv76W2"vfW2गB6VB6VWFV66&G2 FV&'vW"WVVB'ЦrBFRvRƖ6Fv&@b6ƖVF'&GV7B'GVЧFW22&W6VFVBf7W26VVF'&VF60FV6rF266WBW2w&VBfVFFf"&GV7BG&p676W27BRbW"7F6V@#BW76VF27&r#&GV7G226ƖVF'FVvFFW6BFV2F66Pg&FR6VvR2vW&RF&VvआvF6WBFV26&RvB7F'@66RFWgFV6''vW"w&70&vW&6VFvRF&7FW"FPfW&&vW&6VFvRFFp6Rv&v6ƖVF'FV26VRFRF6WB&PGG&7FfR&WBFW6RFV2ƖPFf7W2FRvW7BBFV2'FVfFFW6RFV2&RFR7@g&WVVFǒ&WVW7FVBBvЧV"FRw&VFW7BV&W"b6W0G&67F2FRBFRF#FV2f7W2FV6rFP6ƖVF'&VF6bFW6P&GV7G2खbRvBF7&VFR7FrЧ7BF( B&RFRǒRFV6pFW6R676W2fRv2&VƖWfV@FBFrWBFV6r76vЦVG22RbFR&W7Bv2F7W&R&WFVFV6vVVfRFffW&VBFVV&W"FV6&W@Ɩ6FvfRFVƗGFPFRF&W&RB66FVЦrF&W6VBFRFW&`FrFR7G'V7F"v&V6Pvǒ6VB6VƖrFRvPƖ6F7W2FRvBFV2bR6f7W27&VFr6ƖVF'FV2f"FRF#"3FV2Rv&RfbFw&VB7F'B0FFFFV6r'GVGfFRW"7W7FW"6W'f6RVPF7&VFRFRƗ7Bb6ƖVF'FV27&VFRFF&6Rf FB&GV7G0FFFFG&rf7W6V@6ƖVF'6VƖr`W"F7G&'WF6gGv&R6vW0fRFR&ƗGF7VvvW7BFBগFV2GW&rFR&FW"vVW&F&6W72FVvW6W'2p&WBFRfVGW&RfW'fWrЦ֗RFR6&ƗGFRgV7F&VƖW2FR66WGFrWFP6ƖVF'FVFF&6RF0V2FB&VF62VVBF&PF7VVFVBFR6gGv&R6֖ FFRV&ƖW"6VvRvF&GV7@G&rFR6VW"V&֗Gb7&RЦFrF26ƖVF'FF&6PgFV66&W2fb7BW6W'2v&6'FW"B&FW"F( BG'F7&VFR6ƖVF'FV&VFЧ62f"W"VF&R7F6VBFЧF&6R2VFVBV&ƖW"W7Bf4$DU"2FRvW"bFPF7G&'WFFVf&FB7V6ƗW0VrF7G&'WF'2&V6R&P&fF&RF&Vv7G&FVv2pBW&FpVff6V6W2FRf'7B#V'2b06&VW"vW&P7VBv&p2F7G&'RЧFWV7WFfRFFR2&VwV"7VЦW"BGW7G'WfVG2@7VG2V6b2FP66rFfGVF7G&'WF6ЧW2f"&Rf&F6S2#"#332"6F7B'R@6F7G&'WFFV66f6@FRF7G&'WFFV( 2vV'6FRBwwrFVF7G&'WFFV6vF6B7GVGFRV&W'027VvvW7FVBV&ƖW"FR'F6R7G&vǒV6W&vRRFFWFW"Ц֖RFR7W'&VBfW&vRƖW2W &FW"7&VFRFR&V6&@6WBvb&frFB' +ЦƖRF"F2V&W"WfW'FB'&VFRWG&2Fv'7W7FW"6W'f6RW'6&V6ЦVBFBRW6RF2f&FFF66fW"66r'GVFW2BBW"FVV&W'2v7@V6FW"bRFFV6FRF&Wv&@&fVVB66FW"FV&6V@WfVBR6Gv&&G2( B7&VBЦrW&f&6R&Wv&BB&fBЦr'GVGf"FV&FrखbRVVBVvWGFr7F'FVBW7@&V6WBג֗762FRP&R&fF&R