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Acoustical Wall Panel Systems

William L. Shannon, Editor

William L. Shannon, Editor of CISCA

Your Pot of Gold

for the July / August 2002 Issue, CISCA's Interior Construction Magazine

It's the end of the third quarter, executives and managers are gathered in meetings all over the world to plan the attack for next year! The goals are discussed and established, the growth potential analyzed and agreed upon, the new products and advertising programs unveiled and discussed. A plan is taking shape.

An impressive national sales meeting is scheduled, featuring the most up to date electronic presentations. Audio, video, the latest and greatest in sight and sound. Outstanding pre-packaged messages of innovation, and vision.

Simultaneously in another part of these same organizations, the current year's program is falling behind. The new literature, samples and advertising programs, promised last year, have not yet been fully implemented. The upgrading of the production facilities is behind schedule. The new product testing has been delayed....again. Customer service is not hitting their established target. Current clients and customers are frustrated, some looking for a new source of supply!

What is wrong with this picture?

Does this sound all too familiar? Is your company a victim of planning for tomorrow before completing the plan developed for today? Unfortunately this is an extremely common scenario in many companies!

What do many companies forget? The most important source for new business is existing customers! Your existing customer base is Your "Pot of Gold"! The fast food industry realized this crucial concept many years ago. Its no accident when ordering to be asked "would you like fries with that sir"? In one of the most competitive sectors of business, these firms have mastered the technique of "building a sale". Maximizing the opportunity with customers who are already doing business with them! They understand that before looking for new customers, be very sure existing customers are satisfied! Feel confident that you are maximizing your potential with them before looking for new opportunities!

This concept has been adopted by many very successful ceiling and interior system construction organizations, as well. Many manufacturers, distributors, contractors and independent manufacturers representatives have realized that the most logical source of new business is their existing customer base, Their "Pot of Gold"! In most companies, eighty per cent of their business derives from twenty per cent of their customers!

Understanding that existing customers are your best source of increased business is important. What you do with that information is crucial. One suggestion would be to implement a two-phase program to capitalize on your knowledge:

Phase One; Review the current year's activities. Be certain that all current orders and contracts are being properly handled. Carefully review customer service, marketing, sales, manufacturing and quality control. How do they compare to established budgets?

Immediately make changes necessary to fulfill all management and customer expectations. Don't wait until next year! Make sure clients are pleased with your company and that all levels of service are at or above expected and desired levels. Work with all members of the team to correct mistakes. Encourage customers to offer suggestions to improve your service and stimulate them to place additional business with your firm.

Phase Two; Plan for next year. Use the current year's experiences as an important tool for next year's plan. What worked? What didn't work? What programs should be continued and expanded? What programs should be abandoned? Do not repeat mistakes!

Collect information from all corners of your organization. Sales, customer service, marketing, manufacturing, and product development. Listen to what your staff and your customers have to say about your products, service, and your company. Use this information to formulate a winning program!

It is amazing how often organizations overlook the cause and effect of the various components of their business. Measuring the outcome of one segment of the team and ignoring the shortcomings of other segments. Establishing sales budgets based upon new marketing programs, not completing the marketing agenda and wondering why sales did not meet or exceed expectations.

All departments have to work together to achieve the goal of increased sales, and keeping existing customers coming back for more! Management, product development, manufacturing, marketing, sales and shipping, all-important members of the team! No game plan will achieve success without the commitment and participation of all of the players!

Sure its important to develop new customers, add new and exciting products. Introduce new and exciting marketing and sales programs. Celebrate the success of past and current years. But, don't forget to aggressively execute your current business plan, for what you do or don't do today has a direct impact upon where you go tomorrow!

Want a simple way to to increase sales? Keep your existing customers coming back for more! It's Your Pot of Gold, use it!

William L. Shannon CSI, CISCA
President of Shannon Corporation
Recipient of the 2004 De Gelleke Award

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