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Do the Right Thing

Posted On - 01/09/2017 08:06:20

You have to sell on the basis of competitive advantageAt face value Target's business - trade distribution - is like any other business. You need a great range, keen prices and genuine service for customers to use you.

But when you look harder distribution is actually very different.

We make our money selling other people's products not our own. Which gives us, like all disties, little to distinguish ourselves from them.

But what's this got to do with you? A lot! Read on and find out...

Selling for beginners

You have to sell on the basis of competitive advantage. You have to show prospects why they should choose you. If you don't you're a "me-too" - there's nothing much to differentiate you.

In the distribution business points of distinction are few. The bottom line is you're either easier to use, cheaper, the only one with stock or customers like you more. Problem is being best on any of these can come and go. So competition is a relentless game of one-upmanship. The only way to change things is do something that's hard to copy. And if you've no products of your own to work with that means you can only do something with what you've got left: service.

Charity starts at home

"Customer care" is a curious thing – because it's not what it says it is. Usually, it's taken to mean making sure customers are content with the service they get and how they're treated. So it covers acting on feedback as well as communicating and making sure they feel good about using you.

And as good as all this is, it's stuff that's about helping you do better. Which is what makes it all so peculiar - it's not about helping them! Yet caring is a compassionate, not selfish act. So cynics would say customer care isn't about looking after customers at all. It's about looking after number one. And giving customers the impression you care.

Reassuringly unexpected

If you're thinking I've dammed customer care you'd be wrong. If you're thinking I'm suggesting you ditch it you've missed the point. Everything about customer care is good and right. But it falls way short of doing anything meaningful.

What's at issue is making customer care something that actually cares and isn't lip-service. What matters is delivering customer care in a way that looks after - even nurtures - customers. The challenge is how?

What would you do if, like us, the success of your business relied totally on the success of your customers? How would you go about caring for them a way that's genuine and concrete?

A unique service from Target Components

To oil the wheels let's turn this around. What could we do that gave you confidence we actually care? What could we do that went beyond serving you the best we can and became something that had meaning?

Don't answer, let's cut to the chase. How about we do something unexpected? How about we do something unheard of in a low margin, cost driven business sector like ours? How about we invest in your business? How about we don't only think about our business we think about yours too

Nuts? No, not a bit - that's exactly why we created ShopTalk. It's a free business advice service devoted to helping you build a better business. The premis is simple: if you do better we do too. Why wouldn't we want that?

ShopTalk comprises workshops, one-to-one advice, blog, pricing survey, sharing best-practices and an incentive loyalty program. No other distie offers anything like it. No other distie invests like we do in your business.

Hidden gems

Of all the services ShopTalk offers two stand out as firm favourites. Two services you rank best because you use them most. At this year's Open Day I'm going to talk more about them in my session "Do the Right Thing". Because more of you would benefit from using them.

The first one is the National Retail Price Comparison, our unique pricing survey. It helps you set prices fairly with your peers and compete with the big chains. We ran the survey earlier in 2017 and I plan to give you some insights into what it found.

The second is ShopTalk Rewards, our ‘different' loyalty program. Different because it pays you in account credits earned by buying products and services from other businesses. Different because it pays you to buy things that help you save money and build a better business. Things like business insurance and IT apprentices. The program launched at the start of 2017 and in my session I'll talk more about how you can take part.

Do the right thing

The Target Open Day is free to customers. Doesn't matter how long you've been one or how much you spend, all customers are welcome. Every year the event grows: last year we had some 300 attendees. Customers love its blend of exhibition, business advice, networking and fun. It really is unlike anything you'll have experienced before.

Businesses have already signed up from as far afield as Inverness, Belfast and Jersey. So why not come and join in? You won't regret it I guarantee. Do the right thing: come and see "Do the Right Thing". I'd love to see you at my session and everyone at Target would love to see you and say hello. Go on, you know you want to, sign up here.

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