September-October 2015

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ho doesn't love butter? The sound of butter sizzling on the stove. The way it transforms a humble piece of bread. Butter makes everything taste better. What in the world would we do without it? Do you think about the brand of your butter? Last year, a team at the University of Chicago found that you probably do. Guess what else they found: most professional chefs do not. Surprised? The study concluded the public buys national brands of butter because of personal experiences and information from third-party sources such as advertising. I assert the same is true in a commodity environment. Even if you are selling a 48x40 recycled GMA pallet, what you say and what you do with your customer, shape the selling experience. During my interviews, several pallet and supplier members told me, "Sell on value, not on price." Others told me, price is a key decision factor, and for some customers, "price is all that matters." Which is it then: value or price? How is it some NWPCA members are growing and others are feeling squeezed? Todd Askew from Biewer Lumber shared an insightful story about Harold, an industrial client. Harold received unsolicited calls from competitor mills offering lower prices. Harold always told them, "I can't afford the savings." What a powerful statement. Harold could not afford to jeopardize his client relationships with, most likely, lower quality lumber. Here are three communications strategies to inspire you to think differently about how to attract and keep great customers like Harold. 1. Focus on Your Customer You may remember this quote from Don Remmey of Remmey- The Pallet Company that was shown during my keynote at the NWPCA 2014 conference: "The wood pallet is the Rodney Dangerfield of the packaging world." After the laughter, I said to everyone, "Why are you laughing? You shouldn't be!" I challenged everyone to rethink the status quo by changing their perspective and altering the perspective of their prospects and clients. 12 PalletCentral • September-October 2015 Industry Thought Leaders Bring Value to the Table 3 Communications Strategies to Attract and Keep Great Customers Guest Editorial by Ira Koretsky BEST PRACTICES W

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