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By Gayle McClintock of Kint Beverage Concepts.

Did you ever sit down on a Monday morning and contemplate what can I do to lower my inventory or operating costs so that I can become a better partner for my customers? How differently will customers perceive my business if I can reduce their delivery costs or emergencies calls or provide technical knowledge that a competitor cannot? What steps should I take? How best to build from the inside out?

1. Utilize Outside Vendor Participation

Begin by building a relationship with key vendors that will result in lowering freight and parts cost. (Think volume orders) It is imperative that you as a business are utilizing industry vendors who are truly interested in investing time in your business and will work to grow your market share. Highly motivated, sales oriented vendors will meet with you and your staff on a regular basis and offer innovative solutions through dialogue and example in order to keep business growing exponentially. The best vendors will consistently work to offer products which are new, innovative and cost effective. Whenever possible the key vendor will find solutions which reduce costs to you and your customer. Key vendors will analyze consumer preferences, offer strategic insight and become proactive to your needs. Let’s face it; having to wait for vendors to react to your specific problems will destroy the best of relationships. At the end of the day, what you are able to offer in a unique package through this interactive development process will put you ahead of a competitor.

2. Utilize a Proactive Sales Team Approach– `Just-in-time’ Resources Offered Before the Need

Start by working consistently with your sales staff so that they are trained regularly and educated in trends and industry best practices. It is important to help the sales team develop exceptional relevant material to present to your customers. Manage the team in a manner that not only stresses organization but commits the staff to be available to the customer. One-on-one interaction with customers will develop productive dialogue and lead to customer needs revealed and subsequent reoccurring sales. The positive and relevant relationship that the sales team builds will ultimately build trust in your company’s ability to solve customer problems. After the sales team has developed a productive and reciprocating relationship with your customer (think long-term) the result will be a positive perception of the business name.

3. Train – Invest and Watch Your ROI Explode

Seize every opportunity to expand your knowledge of the industry and your competitive advantage. The IBDEA-U is a great start point to send new and experienced technicians and sales staff for an overview of soda and beer industry best practices. Another educational source is beverage industry vendors and manufacturers many of whom offer product specific classes which will benefit your technicians and sales team. You will find that the more technical expertise you can offer a customer – the more beneficial the relationship will become. Make them hungry for what you know by offering product information pamphlets attached to statements and with beer line cleaning invoices at the point of service. Show the customer that you are not a one trick pony. The customer will develop a positive perception of your business based on the quantity and quality of help you provide. This in turn will grow the business name in the market place.

4. Social Media

Take another look at the opportunities available in in the form of modern day advertising – don’t be afraid of unknown territory. Join Facebook – go to its website, enter information and set up a business page. This page can advertise your business just as a homepage on a website. You can post information about products and services and develop dialogue suggesting why these products are important to your customer. You can also post links to how-to videos which will further explore products. Bottom line – you are gaining important exposure in the market place with every `like’ of your business page.
When you as a business owner incorporate these growth factors into the company structure as a best practice and on a regular basis the results will impact market growth.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson