February '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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1 2 P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 The six warning signals are: • A real or perceived problem (quality, delivery, people, etc.) • A recent change in the decision maker • A change in the sales representative • A proposed change in the customer's operation • Planned expansion or contraction • Complacency The silent killer of this bunch is complacency. When you take customers for granted, stop thanking them for their business, or stop caring about their success, they will naturally gravi- tate toward others who will pay them more attention and solve their problems. When a cus- tomer fires you because of a nonchalant "you'll get it when it's ready" delivery history, you may never have seen it coming. These warning signals are "windows of opportunity" to your competitors. If their trust- worthiness, amiability, and convenient selling style are stronger than yours, you can almost predict what your customer will do. One or more of the warning signals could substantially weaken your customer's trust in you. COMPONENTS OF A BUSINESS REVIEW After you've decided which customers warrant a business review, make a list of attendees from both companies. Invite all decision makers, influencers, allies, snipers, and others that may have a significant impact on the future of the account. From your camp, be sure upper management and the designated salesperson are present. About one month before the review, solicit agenda items and publish them. The outline for the meeting will parallel the four continuous improvement ques- tions from the quality movement of the 1990s: • Where are you now? • Where do you want to be? • How will we get there? • How will we measure progress along the way? Gather agenda items from all departments at the account—production, purchasing, quality control, safety, etc.—and handle each topic using the four questions above. If a key player at that account wants to talk Your Personal Business Trainer BUSINESS MANAGEMENT MANAGEMENT

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