Every year at this time our Dr. Diesel™ sits down to write his yearly letter. Usually it is a mentoring kind of letter aimed at younger people in the engine industry. See Dr. Diesel’s Six Secrets to Success in 2010 and Dr. Diesel’s How to Kill a Company in 6 Easy Steps for examples of previous letters. However, this letter is different. It is written for most anyone in business or a profession in the USA.
Dr. Diesel’s Annual Letter, 2013
Face to Face Beats a Fax Machine Any Day
With the tremendous changes in technology most of us have never even seen or met our customers, clients, or patients. Instead, we rely on emails, faxes, and telephone calls. This is unfortunate and will limit the growth of your company or professional practice. Let me suggest a different idea, one that involves getting out of your comfort zone. I think that actually meeting face to face with your customers at their location will yield a lot of benefits.
Now, I’m not saying that you should scrap your direct mail list or take down your web site and start cold calling. No, of course not. Rather, I think, since everyone now seems to be using technology to communicate, simply visiting with established customers (or well qualified prospects) would pay off big time. If no one else in your field is doing it, you would stand out.
I can hear it now. You’re too busy to do it and, in any case, it wouldn’t be profitable. Come on, this is Dr. Diesel™ you are talking to. How busy are you really? You haven’t been exactly setting sales records these last few years. Of course, the internet hasn’t helped, what with all the sellers online claiming to have what you sell for half the price.
Sell the Difference
But you claim you’re different. You actually have an extensive inventory on hand, trained people, a demonstrable track record, and knowledge of what you sell. In other words, you stock it, price it right, and can same-day ship it. By getting out and seeing people at their location, you can show them face to face how you are different from the guy on eBay with a cell phone. Not only are you different but by getting out you can also build relationships; lasting ones. At the same time, you can see what your customers look like, how well run they are, etc. One look around the customer’s location and an experienced guy like you could a make better credit judgment than a 23 year old Dun and Bradstreet analyst who majored in Anthropology ever could.
Leaving the Comfort Zone
Now I’m not suggesting that you bolt out of your shop or office first thing on Monday morning to do sales calls. No, not at all. Rather, I’m suggesting that in 2014 you make it a goal to get out of your comfort zone. Maybe you make a point of stopping in to see someone on the way back from lunch. Going up to Maine to see your elderly parents this weekend? Leave a little early and stop in to see someone you’ve spoken with on the phone but have never met. Have a luncheon meeting with your CPA? On the way back stop in and see a customer who has drifted away and hasn’t done any business with you in a couple of years. Maybe you join your local Economic Club, Venture Capital Forum, or similar group and make it a point to get out and build your circle.
OK, you’re on board with trying to meet more people in person in 2014 but you are really pushed for time. In our little corner of the world we find attending trade shows to be very helpful. We attend a bunch every year. Shows like the Northeast Forest Products Show, the Construction Equipment Expo, Maine’s Women in Construction Show, AAPEX, AERA, etc. Everyone likes a trade show. Especially the ones held outside where you can walk around, see friends, eat a hot dog, and check out equipment. Trade shows are better than golf. You meet people when they are most relaxed, yet still focused on business. The person who stays at home because he is “too busy” to go to a trade show misses out. Big time. In fact, if you can’t see measurable results from a trade show within a couple of weeks of getting home, you weren’t trying very hard.
We hope that this little letter has caught your eye. We wish you a healthy and prosperous 2014. Dr. Diesel™ welcomes your comments. You can email him at DrDiesel@FoleyEngines.com or call us at 800.233.6539.
P.S. To learn more about Foley Engines and what we do, just click HERE.
P.P.S. Working on a Deutz or Perkins diesel? Can’t find the serial number? We just put up a half dozen YouTube videos on how to find Deutz and Perkins engine serial numbers when the tag is missing. Take a look at the Deutz 912 and Deutz 1011/2011 videos as well as the Perkins 4.108, Perkins 4.236 or Perkins 1000 series videos today.
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