Fashion Seal Healthcare’s Scott Delin on Panel of Experts in February Issue of American Laundry News
“This past year was a year of change for many of us in the laundry industry. Together we experienced and witnessed, firsthand, how the landscape of the healthcare market changed drastically with the merger of multiple healthcare systems.
We have also seen and felt the tremors of the commercial laundry market with multiple major acquisitions on both the national level and on the regional level. Additionally, we have witnessed the impact the private equity groups have made with their financial input in our industry with multiple laundries coast to coast.
Not only have these changes had an impact on how laundry operators now approach their market segments, but also how we as vendors continue to work with and develop our approach to our laundry partners and customers on a daily basis.
The landscape for all of us has gotten smaller and more competitive. We all need to present our “A” game consistently if we want to grow and succeed in today’s market environment.
During the last week of 2018, while sitting in my office gazing out my office window, I was reflecting on how the year ended. I thought about the many laundry operators I have been fortunate enough to work with over the years and the relationships developed, both strong and, unfortunately, weak. I thought about the opportunities I was able to check off as closed won, but also those I had to mark as closed lost.
Fortunately for me, I have a superior product line and support staff that helps me daily as I work with my laundry partners in helping them not only meet their expectations but exceed them as well.
During my self-evaluation of the past year, I realized that all my customers and partners in this crazy, fun business had choices. They had choices on the products they rent and/or sell and from which vendors they so desire to purchase these items.
In looking at the wins and losses, I thought about not only what I did right, but also, more importantly, what I did wrong. Where and why did I fail to win some opportunities? Several phone calls and in-person calls were made to customers soliciting feedback whether it be positive and/or negative on my performance and what I could do better to help them grow their business. What could I have done to turn some of the losses into wins? As I performed my self-interrogation, I asked myself the following questions:
- Did I not have the right product line to present to my customers?
- Was my responsiveness to my laundry partners lacking? Did I not answer e-mails, phone messages or objections properly and on a timely basis?
- Was I friendly in my approach? Did I not smile when meeting with customers?
- Did I ask the proper questions and then offer suggestions to solve situation or needs at hand?
- Did I challenge my partners’ perceptions of what our product line represents and can bring to the table for them to offer to their customers?
- Did I listen to my customers and offer suggestions to help them grow their business? Offer new, refreshing, out-of-the-box ideas?
- Did I go that extra mile?
- Was I honest?
- Was I an order taker or an order maker?
After this process, I realized that as a salesperson and as a person, I do have my faults. Although I am fortunate to represent a strong company with a superior product line, it is important for me to know my customers, understand their needs and offer suggestions that will take them to the next level. Confidence and enthusiasm breeds success.
If you are to succeed in today’s competitive market, you need to protect your business and deal with those who bring value and ideas as well as superior products, service and enthusiasm to the table. We need your feedback and we need to learn from it whether it be positive or negative.
Personally, I want to know if and where I let you down and what I can do for you to make our relationship stronger and help you as you look to grow your business in 2019.
When you meet with your vendors and review your past year or even recent transactions, if you are not happy with our performance, tell us why. It is important for us to know not only why we were successful, but also why we failed or let you down. We cannot correct a wrong or a situation if we do not know one exists.
My goal for 2019 is to revisit my losses and my wins, take your feedback, learn from it, and win those lost opportunities back. I want to solidify the relationships already in place and establish new ones going forward. Your feedback is important to me. I cannot correct something if I am not aware of how I am failing or letting you down.
As Peter Drucker once said, and I quote, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” If you have an issue with a supplier/vendor, tell them. Share it with them no matter if positive or negative.”
Please visit: https://americanlaundrynews.com/articles/making-positive-steps-vendor-relationships-part-1 to read the full article.