November is an appropriate time to be thankful for the blessings in our lives, and when it comes to your businesses, I’m sure you’re thankful for your customers.
However, are you properly servicing those customers? Are you struggling to find new customers? Are you challenged with diversifying your current customer base? Do you have a solid sales strategy in place?
If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years in this industry, it’s that moldmakers are wonderfully skilled craftsmen with entrepreneurial spirits, but when it comes to the business side of mold manufacturing, many lack the necessary experience and knowledge. Oftentimes, more effort is spent thinking about problems rather than actually doing something about them—especially when they are in unfamiliar territory.
However, there are exceptions to every rule. Take Ray Newkirk, owner of Forest Lake, Minnesota-based Custom Mold & Die, a manufacturer of close-tolerance, high-cavitation medical molds. He attended Dunwoody College of Technology, started a business and then returned to school, attending Harvard University to learn how to run a business.
Now that is one strategy to get to know the business side of mold manufacturing. For those not ready or willing to run down that road, however, how about just committing to seek the help you need from others with the necessary knowledge and experience? This may entail establishing a new in-house position or hiring outside help, especially sales help.
The right help can show you how to manage your current customer base, ramp up your sales effort, approach new accounts and land new business. The appropriate solution can also open your eyes to the value of market research and data. When someone is focused on sales, his or her job is the customer, so he or she is approaching companies every day and working to establish relationships.
This person is discovering information about people, companies and end markets that you might not know otherwise, such as your company’s standing in the industry, or how your capabilities, offerings, quality and pricing stacks up against the competition. All of this provides the opportunity to turn prospects into customers.
Do you hire a full-time salesperson to hone in on making new customer relationships in your industry and manage customer relations, or do you hire a part-time manufacturer’s rep to get your feet wet in the world of sales? The choice is yours, but it’s probably time to take some action.
Check out the Business Strategies Zone on moldmakingtechnology.com for archived content on sales strategies.