719: Martin Bros. VP of Sales on Analyzing & Managing Your Small Accounts


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  1. DSR Live: 719

Doug Coen, VP of Sales and Marketing for Martin Bros. Distributing, explains why sometimes "it's a tough, emotional decision to decline business from a small account,” but it’s about making pragmatic business decisions based on unemotional sales trend analysis. Really good DSRs use data to manage their business.

Coen should know.  He's led Martin Bros. sales team to continued double-digit growth even during the recent tough economy years. The key is how to have that honest business discussion with those customers who are at the bottom of your sales volume list.

If you do it right, you could turn those tiny accounts into larger volume accounts, or at the very least, leave them with a high respect for you and your company.

Take a really good look at your accounts and do the math on them to figure which ones make up most of your sales and which ones make up the least amount of your sales.  You need to figure what your ROI (return on investment) is regarding your time on each of your accounts.

How much time do you want to spend with the customers who are not buying very much from you?  You can sit down with them and do a business review and ask if there are any opportunities for you to sell them more products, or do they really want to get rid of you.  You have to explain that you can’t afford to stop the truck at their current level, and that if they take six months exploring the opportunities of buying the items they’re buying from you from their other supplier, maybe they can save some money because of the added volume.

In many cases, just sitting down with your customers and having this discussion might be just what’s needed to get a customer to really think about how much they need you.  More times than not, the last thing they want to do is get rid of you, but you have to have this discussion with those customers who are at the bottom of your sales volume list.

Coen says at the end of the day, if you agree with the customer to part ways, you’ve done it in a friendly and professional manner and have earned the right to come back in six months or so and ask for the business.

HEAR it for yourself from COEN.
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