Friday, November 25, 2005

Volume 14 - 'Consultative' selling within the Contract Door Hardware Distributor Market

During my last three years with the Amweld/WWH companies, I had the pleasure of taking on two very special challenges:

The first, was the creation of an Architectural Door Hardware Company within the framework of Amweld Building Products Inc. As you can see by reading my blog posts, I am now in the throws of repeating this very task as I, in conjunction with a few other Founding Members, who will be joining me, continue to create my own company, Independence2. The various topics related to start-up businesses and the Door Hardware Industry, form a great deal of my previous blog postings, so I invite you to go back and catch-up with past volumes that, hopefully, will help you in whatever venture you may be part of or you may be contemplating starting.

The second special assignment involves, what I call, 'consultative selling' which consists of a very special group of clients, and this is the main topic of this blog volume. The basis of this topic is the privilege I had in working very closely with six distinguished Contract Door Hardware Distributors, all being different in size, organizational structure, and business philosophy. I created a program called the 'Inner Circle'. The basic structure was simple, these selected customers permitted me a 'peak under their tent' of their respective companies, in return for a Business Process Report, consisting of an oral presentation accompanied with a detailed written report on what I witnessed, both the good and the bad. These Business Process Reports contained summaries of the data I witnessed personally, along with improvement suggestions. These Business Process Reports were drawn from various personal resources and my years of experience and provided in-depth analysis free of charge, of any kind, period. They saved thousands of dollars in Change Management, Sigma Six, and Quality Improvement Consulting fees. This is uniquely valuable for all Distributors, but even more so for the Distributors, where the business model consists of sole ownership structures, family businesses, or small and mid-size corporations, since in general these operations have limited finances available to invest in high-end outside consulting services and their related hundred thousand dollar fees. In case you read this and think, “okay, I just need to go higher a Consultant”, let me state this, there are few within the Door Hardware Industry that can boast extensive years of experience within this specific Door Hardware Market in conjunction with the rare relationships with Distributors that have taught me the personal insights into the Contract Door Hardware Distribution business I have witnessed.

In the final analysis, the experiment with my creation of the 'Inner Circle' concept had the following successful goal: Enhance relationships with a select tier group of Amweld Distributor Accounts by sharing proven techniques and management "Best Practices", in order to empower growth driven entrepreneur Distributors to seek and achieve a measurably higher growth and profitability rate. The overall Sales strategy was simply a supplement to Amweld's Sales and Marketing by offering to share existing accounts the proven “Best Practices” that I have successfully implemented over my years within the industry and which I have seen time and again provide results.

The actual Business Process Review started with an 'Assessment' and ended with a thorough 'Evaluation'. The broad stroke subject matter covered Sales & Marketing, Operations, Financial Management and Information Technology with specifics to the industry ranging from estimating, bidding , selling , vendor pricing, procurement, value engineering and change orders. In some cases, it carried over to in-depth discussions on merger and acquisitions, contract and job file administration, financial reporting & planning after-market expansion.

This successful experiment was an example of ‘consultative selling' using knowledge share of case study examples redefining a door, frame and hardware distributor in a manner geared toward sales growth and profitability, for that distributor, recognizing his uniqueness in a particular marketplace. It is not often that an entrepreneurial company can have the opportunity to affect the reshuffle of the elements of a major traditional industry on a geographical enhanced scaled openings industry but with the aid of techniques utilized with the 'Inner circle', in this experiment, our new company, Independence2, will use this a direct selling tool in the years to come. In an industry characterized by brand name and quality of product upgrading with generally poor service standards and little respect for distributors, Independence2 will, through a respect for and commitment to its distributors, effect a change that will affect practices for the new building and after-market end users, architects, contractors, facility managers commercial and industrial building owners.

No comments: