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SPRING 2015

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Distributor's Link Magazine Spring Issue 2015 / Vol 38 No2

42 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

42 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Laurence Claus Laurence Claus is the President of NNi Training and Consulting, Inc. He has 25 years of experience with a medium sized automotive fastener manufacturer, holding positions including Vice President of Engineering, General Manager, Director of Quality, Director of New Business Development and Applications Engineer. In 2012 he formed NNi offering technical and business training courses as well as technical consulting, expert witness and consultation work. He can be reached at 847-867-7363 or Lclaus@NNiTraining.com. You can learn more about NNi at www.NNiTraining.com. WHY A “PRODUCT KNOWLEDGEABLE” SALES FORCE IS KEY TO A FASTENER DISTRIBUTOR’S SUCCESS Almost ten years ago my wife, almost two year old son, and myself were driving out West to visit family at Christmas. We were several hours into our trip when I hit a patch of black ice, causing the car to spin out of control and roll over several times. Although none of us were seriously injured, the car was a complete loss. After returning home and reaching a settlement with the insurance company, we began the process of replacing the car. We decided on purchasing a used, “family friendly”, domestic CUV. I researched this on the internet and prioritized about a half dozen possibilities at dealers near our home. The first dealer we visited was at the top of our list because they represented the brand of automobile we were looking at and had several choices of the vehicle we were interested in available. Shortly after arriving at the dealer a young salesman sidled up and asked if he could help us. I explained that we were in the market for a used car and were interested in a couple of specific vehicles that I had seen were available on their website. We quickly located one of the cars on my list and he convinced us to take it for a test drive. Although I would have preferred to locate all of the vehicles I had come to look at and review each on its own merits before going any further, he was insistent that we test drive this one. So the three of us bundled into the car and started off around the block. Capitalizing on this opportunity I attempted to find out a little about the car. It didn’t take long to realize that he knew nothing about this particular vehicle or, for that matter, much about the model in general. The test drive revealed this car had several things wrong including an engine in need of repair. When we returned I CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE requested that we look at one of the others on my list. This, too, the salesman was not that helpful with, but we eventually found it and took it around the block. When we returned we expressed that we would be interested in the second car if we could make the right deal. What followed were a series of “meetings” with aggressive sales managers, who seemed no more knowledgeable about the car we wanted to buy than the young salesman, but seemed progressively anxious to sell us anything. Needless to say, my wife and I were thoroughly unimpressed and departed to go look at another dealer on my list. Our experience at the second dealer was a night and day contrast. Although the car we went to view was not of the dealership’s brand, the saleswoman who we worked with gave us a complete description of the car’s history and how it came to be on the dealer’s lot. Even more remarkable to me, though, was her ability to answer just about all the vehicle related questions I had even though this model and brand of automobile were not commonly represented by this dealership. We ended up purchasing the automobile, and although a very good deal on its own merit, I believe we ultimately made THIS purchase because of the knowledge, confidence, and demeanor of this saleswoman. This is not a unique story, but a poignant one that clearly illustrates the power of a knowledgeable salesforce. Sales men and women that can discern what the customer needs to know and provide a knowledgeable answer or description of how their product can provide the solution are a huge asset and significant contributor to the success of their organization. CONTINUED ON PAGE 154

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