March Madness-Electrical Madness

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Now that March Madness is over (congrats to all of my Kentucky friends), I can’t help but think about the madness that is electrical safety.  If my life were on the line, I would be mad about making sure that my coworkers and I were safe at all times.  It boggles my mind to learn that while most people have their own safe work practices, many major companies don’t have adequate corporate safety policies in place to protect all workers.  This is madness!

Grace Engineered Products has been an innovator of electrical safety products, and having represented them for over 10 years, we are blessed to be promoting products to our customers that help protect them.  The permanent electrical safety devices (PESD) offered by Grace are revolutionizing electrical safety and are being used in conjunction with existing safety practices.  Phil Allen, President and Founder of Grace, is a recognized expert in the field, and a noted speaker on the topic of electrical safety.   Phil has taught me a lot about this topic, and I am honored to work with him.

Stop the madness now!  NFPA 70E is here to stay, and is put in place to protect you!  Please start paying attention and urge your company to develop safe work practices.

For more on Grace Permanent Electrical Safety Devices, check out the following link:

http://graceport.com/pesd.cfm

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Who Does Best at B2B

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Recently, my colleague (Mark Sweeney, Remke Industries) posted the following blog in a recent newsletter and I was so interested with the concept that I decided to copy it here.  I am interested to hear your thoughts!

Here is the post:

A section of Forbes.com is called the Forbes Leadership Forum and last month there was a very intriguing article called ‘The One Kind of Sales Rep Who Does Best at B2B.’  Although I have doubts about some of what’s written there were some compelling points that made me think.

The article begins by referencing a survey by the Corporate Executive Board (or CEB) of more than 6,000 sales representatives across the globe and numerous industries.  Their study identified 5 profiles that B2B sales reps fall into:

  • The Hard Worker……always willing to go the extra mile, doesn’t give up easily & self-motivated.
  • The Problem Solver……detail-oriented, deals with service issues quickly & highly values post-sales follow through.
  • The Relationship Builder……..won’t be pushy, focuses on customer needs & generous with their time.
  • The Lone Wolf………self-assured, difficult to control & and follows their instincts.
  • The Challenger…… has a different view of the world, understands the customer’s business & and loves to debate.

While there is value in all these styles, the CEB stated that The Challenger is the ‘clear winner’ in B2B complex selling solutions.  The research indicated that nearly 40% of all star-performing sales reps are Challengers.  In addition, when the CEB contrasted transactional sales with complex-solution sales they found that Challengers represented 54% of the star-performers while the Relationship Builder type fell off the map ‘almost entirely’.

I’ve been in sales for more years than I care to count and had I been asked to guess the results in B2B sales I would not have predicted that type of outcome.  But I read on – although somewhat skeptically.  The CEB stated that The Challenger salesperson is defined by “the unique ability to use constructive tension throughout the sale and provide value to customers through a three-pillar approach”.  Lots of words in that definition but who would you guess in the industrial market uses the Challenger Selling Model?

Before I tell you, here’s a quick overview of the 3-Pillar Approach

  • Teaching:  the salespersons ability to ‘teach’ the customers something new or challenge their thinking.  Insight is the single quality that customers value most highly in a supplier.
  • Tailoring: build consensus among customer stakeholders because decision-makers care that there is widespread support across their organization
  • Taking Control: not deterred by hesitation from customers and pushes the conversation back to the value being offered the customer

According to the Corporate Executive Board, “the combination of teaching, tailoring and taking control……may not get your customers to think you’re nice, but it will win you their loyalty – and win you the sale.”  Do you believe that?  Would you believe it more knowing that W.W. Grainger uses the Challenger Selling method?  Me too.

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Independent Representatives

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Independent Representatives – The BEST way to the industrial market?

Being an independent manufacturers’ representative for almost 20 years, I often get involved in the rep/direct conversation. Sometimes these conversations get quite heated, and often end in a stalemate. So it is with much interest that I listen to the current debate going on within the electrical industry about this very issue. Did you know that according to recent Electrical Wholesaling magazine article an estimated 80% of electrical manufacturers use in whole or in part reps to sell their electrical products? This number astonishes me. 80% Wow!

Reps are a very viable solution, a fixed cost to their partners and a valuable resource to the local market. The BEST reps are solution providers, working hard to understand the customers needs and applying product correctly. The BEST reps are marketing gurus, applying todays technology to deliver information to their customers when they need it.

The BEST way to market, I sure think so!

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