To the New World
People tout the value of a positive attitude during economic struggles, be it this recession or any other. A sunny disposition has value, to be sure, but there is certainly more to financial success than a smile and glass-half-full mind-set.
Take, for example, Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World. Undoubtedly, he benefited from a “This might be hard, but we’ll make history and get rich” attitude and not a defeatist “I don’t know, the ocean is pretty big and dangerous, and maybe the world isn’t round after all” mentality. But, optimism aside, what actually got Columbus to the Americas was likely his ability to secure funding, stock and crew a ship, and plan a long voyage.
The situation facing most businesses right now isn’t much different. Everyone is afloat, so to speak, embarking on a dangerous and complex journey that at times seems impossible, because between recession and fiscal stability is a huge chasm of uncharted water. To reach the salvation of the New World, you would be wise to channel your inner Columbus and not only have the good grace to view the journey as an opportunity, but also to plan the trip to the absolute best of your ability.
BEST OF THE BEST
The reason Columbus Day, and not “Joe Walks Across the Street Day,” is celebrated is because Columbus and his crew stepped up and did something amazing, and Joe, well, he just walked across the street. In fact, Columbus likely got the job in the first place because he was able to convince Queen Isabella he was the best for the job. Distributors should keep this lesson in mind, and be prepared to convince customers that though many may be able to steer a boat through rough waters, they are the only ones who can help their clients arrive safely at their respective destinations.
Being “the best” at anything, whether it’s sailing or selling, is often a slightly nebulous descriptor, but Catherine Pilgrim, senior vice president of sales for Corvest, Largo, Fla., gave some interesting insights as to what it might mean for distributors. “It’s very important right now for distributors to continually find ways to differentiate themselves,” she said. “The distributors that go over and above to really take all effort away from their customers, and continually provide them with new ideas, new products … [and] really being intimately involved with knowing who their customer is, of course they build a lot of loyalty, but they also are able to secure a lot of annual business,” Pilgrim explained.
Bob Conway, CEO of Corvest, added, “This is a service business, probably more than a product business. Cost and price [are] important, but service and performance are probably the most important elements.” If you can offer reliable service and a solid product, you’re going to stand out beyond those who are merely offering the lowest price, because no one can afford to have an order fall apart in this economy, no matter how low the price.