Monthly Archives: August 2016
No more Bourbon Room after September 11
We have a dilemma fastener friends. I called and confirmed that the Bourbon Room is closing after September 11 and will not reopen until some time in December. So, our usual after hours meeting place will be gone this year. They mentioned what the new place will be but it doesn’t really matter anyways. The show is moving out of the Sands Expo Center in 2018 so we probably would not be going to the new place once it is open anyways.
Anybody got any ideas on where might be a good place to congregate? The outdoor bar by Harrah’s is crowded but not a bad place – weather permitting. There is a place called the Laguna Champagne Bar in the Palazzo or Venetian, but I’m not sure they have music.
Please feel free to share ideas if you have any thoughts on this topic.
A friendly Sunday morning chat with Jeffrey Gitomer
My favorite sales book is “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless – Customer Loyalty is Priceless” by Jeffrey Gitomer. The subtitle reads, “How to make customers love you, keep them coming back and tell everyone they know”.
I’ve given this book to a dozen people. I know one of these people read it and then bought the book for his entire department. I’m not sure if Jeffrey Gitomer is as well known as Zig Ziegler or Tom Hopkins but I’d rate his book among the best. According to Gitomer, Satisfaction is no longer the acceptable standard of customer service. His book says, “Just because they’re satisfied doesn’t mean they’re loyal. Satisfied customers will buy from anyone.” His book proceeds to give countless examples of how you can offer exceptional customer service that helps you to build loyalty with your customers. There is a lot of comedy throughout the book and it is an easy read. I don’t want to share too much of the book here but I’ll share a couple parts I found enlightening or entertaining.
Gitomer has a list of forbidden phrases – lines that send the wrong message to a customer and usually add fire to any argument:
- It’s our policy
- What seems to be the problem
- You should have done…
- Let me transfer you to someone who handles that
He suggests you give responses the “Grandma Test”. If it sounds like something you wouldn’t want to say to your Grandma, then don’t say it to your customer.
- Sorry, we’re closed, Grandma
- What is this in reference to Grandma?
- It’s our policy Grandma
Gitomer kind of has a disdain for the word “policy”. He writes, “Do you like when someone gives you ‘the policy’? Kind of sounds like ‘the finger”. “It’s our policy…to piss off everyone”. What if customer service policies read like this: “Hey, you’re in luck! – I just looked it up in the policy book and it says right here I can do everything you want, just the way you want it”. In general, policy is written to tell you what you can’t do.
Anyways, you get the picture. I like his book. A lot. So, I’m involved in a few fastener associations and from time to time I am involved in trying to set ups speakers or events for these associations. So, while sipping some Dunkin’ Donuts coffee last Sunday morning, I went to Gitomer’s website and filled out a “speaker request” form to see how I might be able to get Mr. Gitomer to speak at a fastener event. I mean the Fastener Training Institute is offering all kinds of technical fastener training. I’m in sales, and I’d like to see more sales training offered. I filled out the form, included my cell number and within a half hour I got a call — “This is Jeffrey….Jeffrey Gitomer”.
Needless to say, I was caught a bit off guard. But I pulled it together, gathered my thoughts and explained how I was involved in an association that might like to hire him as a speaker. He asked, “What industry?” I proudly announced, “the fastener industry”, and then waited expectantly for him to ask me what was the fastener industry. Instead I got, “My dad made cabinets and as a young man I installed a lot of screw into cabinetry. Yeah, and I gave a presentation to Fastenal a while back”. Damn, Fastenal beat me to the punch.
I’d like to hear Jeffrey Gitomer’s sales presentation. I’d like the rest of the fastener industry to hear Jeffrey Gitomer’s sales presentation. How about this. Go pick up his book, read it over. If you’re in sales or are a sales manager, I think you’ll like it. And if you like what you’ve read get in touch with me so we can gather some resources and have him come to a fastener association gathering or trade show somewhere in the near future. One fastener company has already done that.
Russian Planes Move Our Over Sized Cargo
This article appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Sunday, August 14, 2016. Found it kind of shocking. We need Russian planes to move equipment because we do not planes domestically that can handle the job. Read on.
Fastener Distributor Index (FDI) Drops – how about you?
I saw where the Fastener Distributor Index (FDI) for July slipped dramatically, coming in at 45.9 versus 50.6 in June, seasonally adjusted. Over the last month I have had an opportunity to talk to a lot of people about how their year is going so far. If I had to summarize, I’d say that a good number of fastener companies had sales that were 5-10% lower in 2016 than 2015. That is a generalization, but seems to be a common sentiment. If you are heavy into oil & gas, you might be down 30%.
The weird thing for me is that I really never expected to see such a significant drop in July. Historically, July can be a brutal month due to vacations & summer slowdowns. But based on what I have been hearing, I did not see such a big drop coming.
Everywhere, I hear people say they are doing a lot of quoting. Sometimes that can be because end users are slow and they are out shopping. But, I’m not sure that is the case here. I have had some people say just in the last week or so that they have started to see some orders popping that have been worked on for months. Even one guy in Oil & Gas/Mining told me his customers have really started to pick up in the last several weeks. It would not surprise me to see the FDI have an equally strong rebound in September or October. Don’t bet the farm, but as I said it would not shock me.
At the NFDA meeting in June, Brian Beauliu of ITR Economics said his firm was forecasting that business would pick up in the second half of 2016, regardless of who is elected president. He also said he expects 2017 & 2018 to be much stronger and is more worried about inventory levels and staffing being adequate to handle the upcoming increase in business. I certainly hope he is correct and this would also lead to an increase in the FDI were this to happen.
Sometimes companies are busy, but sales are not strong. Purchasing departments are always busy. If they are buying 1,000,000 pcs. or 1,000 pcs., buyers have to quote and buy and schedule and expedite. Sales forces too should always be busy. Unless you have 100% market share there is always business to go after. And, in both purchasing and sales, you need to work hard to protect the business you have already been blessed with. So, generally people are still working hard, they will just sleep more soundly when sales and margins increase. Let’s hope things do improve sooner than later.
One last thing, following up on my last post, I want to direct you to take a look at the updates Fastener News Desk site. In particular, check out the MFG Day page they have developed:
And, please, let them know if your company is going to participate in MFG Day this year. They will get your name on the map and help promote your event.