Sunday, February 22, 2009

Are your customers selling for you?

Now there’s an idea made for tough economic times!

If your customers aren’t your best salespeople, this just might be the time to evaluate how you move from good to great in their eyes.

OK, I can hear you saying you’ve seen this movie before; but before you get back to the grind, I hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on the meaning of this simple, yet profound question: Are your customers selling for you?

Many auto glass professionals were challenged with the same question during last week’s National Auto Glass Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Keynote speaker Randy Pennington, an acclaimed author and business performance expert, inspired participants from the auto glass retail industry to examine their own successes and failures in this area. But he delved deeper than your typical consultant …

He didn’t focus on customer service, as important as that is.

He wasn’t talking about price, either; though we all know how crucial pricing is to our customers’ perceptions of value.

He wasn’t even harping on the quality of the products and services you deliver.

Pennington went well beyond basic business principles to examine the entire customer experience, the core factors that distinguish your business from the competition and drive repeat business.

The marketplace never lies. It’s not about the company. It’s what the customer wants. And the experience you give customers. The intangibles are what they seek.

Now, if you're looking for details ... well, I’m afraid you should’ve joined us in Orlando. And you can’t say I didn’t warn you! I simply can’t do justice to Pennington’s presentation in this or any other forum.

You could always try nudging one of the nearly 130 execs who attended the conference, many of whom are undoubtedly still reflecting on what they learned. I learned something about getting our customers to sell for us, too.

After all, few things are more valuable than peer networking, another key benefit of gathering in Orlando. See for yourself: we’ve posted a few photos and presentations from the event.

If you missed out this time, opportunities abound at future NGA events, most notably our popular Glazing Executives Forum and GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo this fall in Atlanta. I can assure you there will be plenty of breakthrough ideas presented during those events as well.

David Walker, Vice President of Association Services, National Glass Association

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