Customer relationships are key to success in business. While everyone knows this fact, that was the theme among the manufacturing shops I visited last week from Seattle to Portland. My technical adviser, Michael Myers, and I took our show on the road to meet with some customers and I also had the pleasure of speaking at a Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) dinner. The entire trip circled around relationships in business.
There are differences between companies that are just making it and those that are exceptional. This past week, we had the pleasure to see several of our customers and discuss how to they are growing properly. While profitability is key, how we get to that is important.
The discussion involved the normal items like quality in product and customer support, along with competitive pricing. Other important factors that stuck out were taking the right kind of business (not too large or out of scope) and having a good network of competitors that could be references to send work. While turning away business is tough to do sometimes, it is important in continued success. Trying to be everything to everyone is detrimental and impossible.
The SPE meeting was a network of similar businesses who were looking to make their entire community a success, not just themselves. It was a nice change of pace where the clients openly discussed how IQMS could be of benefit and they even opened their doors to show others how it was being used. Sharing part of their time and the “tools” they used was how they were able to share business and ensure future success. Competition is good, but a community of many is a strong way to service a bank of clients the right way and grow not just one business, but several.
At IQMS, we operate very much the same way and it is why I travel with Michael Myers on many trips. We have different areas of expertise and telling the customers the truth and having others to rely on makes us successful. We also have our other layers of experts ranging from support staff and automation, to quality, implementation and sales. We each carry the right “tools” because we have each other to rely on and service our customers correctly.
Are you able to speak to competitors and actually help each other? How did you cultivate your relationships with customers and competitors? I would love to hear more and thanks for reading - I hope it helps motivate you!
“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' ”
--Martin Luther King, Jr.