First of all, let me say thank you to all the suppliers who attended the 2013 AMSA Education Conference and Expo. We had a record attendance and I'm sure everyone would agree that it is was worth the dollars to attend, network and show off all your new solutions to the industry. Please be sure to mark your calendars for the 2014 conference in San Diego, CA on February 9th–12th.
Second, I would personally like to say thank you to Charles Ducas with Kentucky Trailer for being a great role model for me on the Board. With this past conference, Charles' term is over as Chairman of the Supplier Committee but I know he will always be there to lend advice when needed. He will be tough to follow but myself, Mike Lucas with Vanliner Insurance and our newest elected member, Brian Schaffer with Movers Specialty Service will do everything we can to keep the suppliers voice heard in the industry.
Suppliers need to be heard and have a voice in this industry. Like "rogue movers", there are numerous "rogue suppliers" out there that take advantage of our customers. This is done in many ways.
Attend meetings and conferences but don't pay to exhibit
Sell "vapor ware" to customers who are in desperate need of real, tested technology
Offer products that are very low quality and undercut prices of quality suppliers
We need to make our customers aware of these services, offering and develop ways to protect them. As your new Chairman, I am very open to discussions regarding this topic and will do everything I can to stop these practices as much as possible. So if you have any suggestions or feedback, please e-mail me.
Also, please let us hear from you about topics you'd like to see in future Supply Line e-newsletter issues and send comments or suggestions to me at JoeB@AssetControls.com or Norma Gyovai, AMSA's director of sales, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chairman, AMSA Supplier Committee
Chairman, Asset Controls, Inc. / Windfall
The AMSA Buyers Guide is a great place to find the products and services you need for your successful moving and storage business. The guide is easily accessible from the AMSA homepage, but did you know that you can search the guide directly from your desktop? Simply download the guide's Desktop Search Tool and you'll have the capability to start searching the guide instantly! http://amsabuyersguide.com/guide/DesktopSearch
Are you focused on the most important things in your business? If you are like many people, you have let some unimportant activities take up a portion of the hours in your day. You may have allowed things to become part of your schedule that do not contribute to your overall goals. Here are three ways to stop wasting time and start being more productive now:
There are obvious timewasters out there such as Facebook and other online activities, but there are also subtle ways that you may be losing productivity. Take a realistic look at your daily schedule. How much unproductive time do you have? Do you have ten windows open on your computer? Do you jump between email, Word, Excel, ESPN.com, and other applications and tell yourself that you are multi-tasking? How much more time does it take to get your tasks completed when you are trying to do ten different things at once? Keep track of how you spend your time so that you know what is taking up your time.
By focusing on your top three priorities, you will give yourself clarity on what you must get done. You probably already have a "to do" list that you need to check off. Prioritize your tasks based on what things will have the biggest impact. Limit the number of tasks that you put on that list. Ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?" If you cannot come up with an answer in 30 seconds, chances are that you probably should not have it on your to do list.
Have you ever wondered if it was important to do something? Have you thought, "I know that I'm supposed to do this, but will it really matter if I don't?" Here's a challenge: Find out the answer to that question. Perhaps a task that you have is not important enough for you to do on your own. But maybe, just maybe, it is not important enough even to be worthy of delegation to another party. If you have something like that in your life, try not doing it for one week. In seven days, if no one notices that a particular task is not getting done, try it for another week. After two weeks, if there are no negative effects from not doing that job, eliminate it from your to do list. You will be surprised about the number of seemingly important tasks that you can drop.
Some of your priorities may be tasks that you do not enjoy doing. Perhaps you can't stand making two hours of cold calls to potential customers but that is your most important activity for the day. Schedule one hour of calls in the morning and one hour of calls in the afternoon. After one hour, STOP! Keeping that commitment to yourself will help you plow through critical (but less enjoyable) tasks.
These steps are easy to write down but may be more difficult to implement. Making the initial effort will pay huge dividends in your productivity. If you are really committed to making the changes, share this article with someone and ask that person to hold you accountable.
Dan Burrus, Techno Trends —www.burrus.com
by Dave Kahle
"He has the gift of gab. He'll make a good sales person." It's been a while since I last heard that expression. The idea is, of course, that sales people are good talkers. If you are a good talker, you are well on your way to having the necessary qualifications for a sales career. While that figure of speech isn't popular today, the idea behind it continues to have currency.
That idea is, like so many other pearls of conventional wisdom, completely and utterly wrong.
Good sales people are not good talkers. Rather, they are good listeners, good thinkers, and hard workers.
Good talkers generally make mediocre sales people. They commonly delude themselves about their effectiveness, and see their sales calls and customer relationships through a distorted perspective. Since 'talking a lot' is one of their core personality traits, it makes them feel good when they exercise that trait. Since they feel good, they think the customer must feel the same way, and therefore, it was a successful sales call.
I once made a joint sales call with a sales person who spent two hours talking about a range of subjects. When he finally left, he hadn't gotten to the subject of the sales call. In debriefing after the call, he actually felt good about the call, which was, by any measure, a disaster.
Good talkers often see themselves as the repository for product knowledge, and believe that their job is to disseminate as much product knowledge in the sales call as possible.
I had the ultimate example of this in one of my sales classes. We were role playing "presenting" a product - what should have been at most a ten minute exchange. This classic "good talker" turned it into a 35 minute monologue, which ended when I mercifully intervened and called time. The person playing the role of the customer had actually begun to nod off.
The "sales person" saw himself as a product knowledge expert and good talker. And so, he lived up to that vision of himself. I, on the other hand, saw him as a disaster. In my evaluation after the class, I asked my client to consider whether he belonged in a sales position.
Unfortunately, the large quantity of customer contact that comes with the job of the sales person is an attractive source of ears, and leads a lot of "good talkers" to a career in sales. So, they have a tendency to gravitate to sales careers, where they have lots of opportunities to exercise their personality trait and talk to a lot of people about a lot of things.
Alas, that doesn't have a lot to do with what makes a sale happen or the processes and skills required to become good at the job.
Good sales people, on the other hand, are better listeners than talkers. They instinctively understand that the customer feels better when he/she is able to share with them what's on his mind. In the communication process, the customer's conversation is far more valuable than the sales person's, and the best sales calls are characterized by 75 percent of the conversation coming from the customer and 25 percent from the sales person.
Good sales people understand that the essence of the job is to provide the customer with what the customer wants, and the necessary prerequisite is to discover what the customer wants in depth and detail. In this process, you can never discover what the customer wants when you are talking. That only happens when you are listening.
That's why "good sales people are good talkers" is one of those ideas that has a debilitating effect on sales people and sales teams.
by Hector Buenida, CDS Moving Equipment
Don't turn down profitable small shipments because your van line has closed off peak summer days. Crate and Freight the small shipment!
Will your customer pay a little more to get a guaranteed pick-up date and delivery a week later? The answer is, "Yes they will." Don't tie up valuable truck space with shipments under 4000 lbs.
Check with your van lines, most of which have a small shipment division, or contact a third party small shipment company. A new or used lift van or a corrugated truck pack will hold up to 2000 lbs. and is available thru most packing material or equipment suppliers.
Don't frustrate your sales people by turning down small shipments because of a lack of qualified drivers or available trucks.
Don't take up valuable floor space in your warehouse with pick and holds, or run the risk of claims because the shipment has been sitting for two weeks waiting for available truck space.
Pack and load the small shipment as you would an overseas shipment. Paper pad wrap household furniture and utilize empty cartons as tonnage to fill containers completely; a tight load is a secure load.
It's time to adapt to the changing times. Think outside the truck. Secure all the business you can during your busy season and learn to handle small shipments year round. Have a profitable summer, and provide your customers with creative solutions.
email@example.com | www.cds-usa.com
by Dave Kahle
Sometimes getting a customer to try a new product can be very frustrating. You know you have a better product than the one that your prospect is currently using. Your price is attractive; your service is outstanding. If the prospect would switch to your solution, you know they'd be delighted. You'd save them money, smooth out their processes, reduce their inventory and generally make their life simpler.
So, why won't they switch? Are people really that stubborn? Or is it you? Did you do something to put them off?
While there are some circumstances where the answers would be yes to the questions above, the most likely answer is something totally different. The reason many customers hesitate to try new products or services, is simply the risk involved.Â
Risk affects your customer interactions in many ways, first, it is often the number one issue in the mind of the customer, particularly when the account has no history with your company. That makes it the number one issue to address in the sales process.
Risk is what the customer perceives it to be. In other words, it's not anything quantifiable, like the price or delivery of your product. It's not objective or tangible. Instead it is much more insidious, lurking underneath almost every conversation between you and your customer. Because risk rises out of fear, risk is often not mentioned. To acknowledge risk is to admit fear. To admit fear is, in many people's minds, to expose weakness. No one wants to look weak.
Risk is the answer to these two questions:
"What happens to the company if they make the wrong decision?"
"What happens to the individual who is making the decision, if he/she makes the wrong decision?"
Risk is the combination of the financial, social, emotional, and time costs that the company and the individual decision-maker will bear as a result of making a mistake.
Here are three strategies for reducing the risk.
The greater the relationship, the less the risk. The lesser the relationship, the greater the risk. That's why many people would prefer to buy a less effective product at a higher price from the salesperson who has been calling on them for years. Focus not on reducing the price, but rather on building the relationship.
The more vague and intangible the purchase, the more risky. Take all the imagination out of the buy. Bring them into your facility so they can see that you really do have an office/production facility. Take them to a location where the machine is being used by someone else. Hand them certificates of warranty instead of just telling them. Show them pictures of the product being used.Â Look at every aspect of your offer, and think about how you can make this piece more tangible and objective.
What is "proof?" Someone else, other than you, saying something about your product, company, or service. Proof is letters of recommendation from other customers, photographs of other customers using your product or service, testimonials, case studies, lists of clients, third party studies, copies of articles from trade journals, etc. Anything you can find that in any way adds third-party validation even if it is remote and only distantly connected to your offer, will go a long way to reducing the risk.Â The concept of risk and its role in the buyer's mind is one of the most powerful concepts in the world of B2B sales. Taking it into account and planning to reduce the risk of every decision will be one of your most powerful sales strategies.
Advances in cloud computing will soon be dropping supercomputers into our pockets and our workplace. It will enable hardware and IT services to be done at a fraction of the cost, allowing companies to grow faster without spending as much money.
"It is revolutionary," says Burrus, explaining that what would have taken weeks in the past, such as getting two new servers up and running, can now be handled by the cloud in half an hour.
It could also mean goodbye to IT departments as we know them. "Many of those guys will be working for cloud companies," says Burrus. "And the rest will now be freed up to help companies make money. They will be looking at how we can gain a competitive advantage with those new tools."
Virtual reality meetings attended by employee avatars, virtual classrooms and job simulation are all heading our way. And, according to Burrus, we are going to be playing a lot more games at work, too.
"You are going to see an explosion of programmers to build this training. If you can make (learning) interactive and competitive, you can get people focused and excited. It is time to take gaming to a new level," he says.
Expect also to see, feel, taste and hear more multisensory virtual reality in the workplace. It might be a 3-D visor and glove combination, to help engineers in remote management learning, experimentation and design, or using Google 3-D glasses for virtual inspections.
You can now feel a product, turn it, squeeze it, and see how it would work.Â We haven't really seen this in the workplace yet, but the potential is great for that.
When Apple put out their latest edition iPhone, they included Siri, an electronic assistant that you can interact with. While most agree that Siri still has some kinks to work out, Burrus suggests that we will soon see much more powerful versions of electronic assistants linked to supercomputers in the cloud.
"People will increasingly be relying on electronic agents, and it will have a profound impact on the workplace. We will have our own personal secretary, with access to all knowledge and all information at all times," he says.
So the next time your flight is cancelled, imagine your agent telling you she has rebooked it for you, suggesting you bring a raincoat to the airport because the weather forecast has changed, and making a right into the car park because there is a spot available for you.
"This will happen," says Burrus. "The downside is that many of us will become friends with our electronic agents, and will need psychologists and counselors to help us deal with that."
By enabling us to work anywhere and anytime, smartphones and tablets are creating a revolution in computing and the way we work.
"We are carrying our main computers around in our pockets," says Burrus, "and it is a giant shift because it is not just happening in the U.S., but in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. It is a global revolution."
Because of the explosion of apps and other software, smartphones will also become increasingly individualized and suited to our needs. We will also see a boom in companies developing apps.
"Pick a business process, add an app and you have got it, " says Burrus. "And you don't need an IT guy to integrate them. You just download it to your phone."
The technological freedom will in turn increase the move for people to work when, where and how they want to do it.
It will be increasingly important for people to have their own tools and technologies to support what they are doing, rather than the company's one-size-fits-all equipment.
Visual communication is radically changing the way we communicate and work. Services provided by Skype and others allow us to attend remote meetings, and to stay in touch without being present at little to no cost.
"It is a powerful tool, which will continue to support the trend towards people working remotely," says Burrus.
But, he suggests we may all want to get ready for some on-air training. "What you will see is companies training their people, especially sales people, on being on TV — because we are all going to be on TV."
Visual communication is also likely to push the use of remote management as a way to create efficiency, savings and quality control, according to Jarratt. Some healthcare facilities are already using video feeds to remotely manage critical areas from control centers.
"With remote eyes on what is happening, you remove the issue of geography, location and time zone." But Burrus believes the potential extends well beyond that and will help worldwide enterprises that run complex global systems.
Data mining digs through large masses of information to extract critical pieces of information. And with increasing amounts of data for information workers to handle, data mining — an area that straddles computer science and statistics -- is growing in relevance.
"A lot of this will help humans work smarter, better and faster because we have data on just about everything that happens," says Burrus.
Data mining is also pushing an expansion in the way we use and analyze data. Where it has primarily been used to predict and rate consumer behavior, the future will see data scores on all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons, from ratings on potential employees, to student prospects, health and insurance. And, it will create a whole new field of work for people who can mine data and find ways to tease out critical information.
It is critical that (workers) have the tools to get cost and labor savings from all that data. "Data mining gives companies higher levels of insights, so they can make better business decisions."
The power of social media is likely to have an increasingly important impact on the way companies collaborate and communicate. Businesses can communicate directly to a wider group and source solutions globally in ways that were not possible before. IBM's innovation jams for example, bring tens of thousands of employees together online, to share ideas and thoughts.
"Now you have 30,000 engineers knowing what others are working on, and they can collaborate," says Burrus. Those same engineers might share a Facebook page with pictures, departments and global solutions, so two people working on the same problem do not replicate each other's work.
"The problem with business is that we often keep repeating the same mistake," says Burrus. "What we see from these social businesses is that people are collaborating better, communicating better, solving problems better, and innovating faster."
Robotics look poised to do everything from bringing your coffee to fetching your shoes and handling your mail. That is just what HRP-4, a humanoid robot developed by Tokyo-based Kawada Industries and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Sciences and Technology, was created to do.
And while mainstream offices and homes are not quite ready to hire a staff of HRP-4s, the idea is not too far off, says Mahaffie.
"So far, the robots themselves are not walking into the offices," Burrus says, "but the management, design, control and use of them - that is all moving into the office." As robots increase in capability, we can expect to see far more of them in everything from storage retrieval and packaging to customer service, health care and medical service. At Zappos shoe company, shoes are dropped anywhere in their warehouse, but are easily retrievable by robots or people, because they are marked with a unique identifier, like an RFID code. "One of the big tasks of office work has been to organize things and paper. But if an item has a unique identifier on it, it no longer matters where you put it."
The explosive growth in tablet computing is pushing textbooks and documents from being just electronic to interactive.
Be prepared for more e-books, e-magazines, e-newspapers and interactive textbooks, as your office documents are about to get a major overhaul. This, Burrus predicts, will spur new guidelines for when to use electronics versus paper in office settings and meetings.
"One of the roles of the secretary of the future will be to determine whether we use hard copies or an e-publication with embedded video and graphics," he says. "We have choices where we did not have choices before."
We will begin to see professional level publishing machines appear in offices, allowing people to print anything from books to reports and documents with a completely professional look.
"Because most information is now managed digitally, it is bringing this capability into the office," he says.
Reprinted with permission by Daniel Burrus. www.danielburrus.com