The Successful Big Box Line Review

The Successful Big Box Line ReviewMany manufacturers fear line reviews with big boxes like Home Depot and Lowe’s. They frequently see it as an event where they have more to lose than to gain.

My friend Mark Mitchell knows what they fear and has recommendations on how to approach the line review differently. He tells about his experiences in his blog and his book. Or click here to receive his monthly building materials sales and marketing newsletter.

If you’d like to learn more about successful big box line reviews. Read Mark’s original blog post here.

And it works. Here’s his follow up post A Line Review Success Story sharing the strategy and positive outcome of one of his clients.

What manufacturers fear going in to a line review

  1. Demands for even lower prices
  2. Fewer sku’s
  3. Having to fund promotional programs
  4. Worse placement
  5. A new competitor in the category

Most companies go into a line review with three simple goals

  1. Stay on shelf
  2. Defend their margin
  3. Grow their share of category sales

According to Mark Mitchell, here’s what you should do in a Home Depot or Lowe’s line review

  1. Grow a pair
  2. Think about the buyer and not just yourself
  3. Do your homework
  4. Paint them a picture

Don’t approach a line review as a chance to throw products at the buyer and see what sticks

Don't Get Told No With These PowerPoint Sales HacksI spoke to that point in my post 4 Essential Steps to Winning with Buyers in a Product Line Review.

You need to have a vision about how the big box will be more successful with you than without you. You need to bring that vision to life so the buyer can see it.

The goal is for the buyer to say, “That just makes sense.” Buyers are human beings and many times will make decisions based on their gut feeling. They will then use data to support their decision.

You want to show the buyer no one is more committed to their success than you as you continually bring them ideas to make them more successful.

The line review process is a validation step for the retailer

Is Your Sales Team Asking The Right Pricing QuestionsRemember they are ultimately confirming that they are offering “the right product, sold for the right price, at the right place and time.”

To be better prepared for a line review, check out my post Are You Ready For Your Product Line Review?

Good Selling!

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Are You Pricing with Your Customer’s Profitability in Mind?

Are You Pricing with Your Customer’s Profitability in Mind?How do you determine your pricing?  It’s probably a rigorous process, but is it science or art?

Do you start with your profitability and go from there? Or do you start with the market price and let your profitability fall wherever it may?

Neither approach alone will help you win in the marketplace. Because neither approach puts your customer‘s profitability into the picture.

Use a pricing strategy that considers your customer’s profitability

Use a pricing strategy that considers your customer’s profitabilityDelivering a market price to your customer will certainly be geared toward improving your top line. Here the logic is that your customer will be looking closely at a few high volume, highly competitively priced products to evaluate your overall pricing proposal.

If you price those product “footballs” correctly, everyone seems to wins. You get the business and they get the pricing they need to be competitive in the marketplace.

But that strategy embodies the whole point of pricing – that your customer is competitive in the market. If they are making the money they need to be successful, you will stand out.

But are you making the money you need to stay in business?

Take a P&L approach to pricing

Take a P&L approach to pricing

It’s no surprise that there’s no one sure way to approach pricing. It really is part science and part art.

But do you approach the science part with a fact-based strategy? To do that, you need to be able to answer a few simple questions:

  • What is the product’s market price?
  • What is the customer’s margin % expectations
  • What can we make?

As one senior leader recently commented to us about pricing: “If you manage pricing from only your profitability – you’re going to be dead.”

Which is why pricing is art as much as science.

Inside of a company, pricing is really a continuum

How do you determine your pricing?  It’s probably a rigorous process, but is it science or art?The sales team is, understandably, all about making the sale. They want a price that will help them achieve that goal.

On the other hand, the product marketing team is looking to get credit for the innovation they are bringing to the marketplace. They want to get paid a premium.

Straddling both sides of the fence is channel marketing (also called trade or customer marketing depending on the company). Channel marketing sees both sides of the fence, is grounded in reality, and keeps perspective throughout the process.

Having a group like channel marketing manage your pricing is the secret sauce. They have perspective, collect all the facts, and keep the customer’s profitability balanced with your own profitability.

For other Channel Instincts posts on pricing, see What Does “Your Price Is Too High” Really Mean?, Is Pricing Making You Go Bananas? and Are You Pricing for Volume or Profit?

Good Selling!

 

Who’s Your Best Customer?

Your best customer is the one you already have

Your best customer is the one you already haveWhether we’re talking present sales or future prospects, the customer you have is your best bet for economic growth. So regardless of what else you do to build sales, never stop thinking about ways to keep that existing customer satisfied.

It really boils down to those basics we all know but too often forget in the pace of business:

  1. Know your customer
  2. Listen to what their goals are
  3. Stop selling and start solving their problems
  4. Service, service, service

Nowhere in that list is lowest price. You already have their trust and confidence. Go build on it by putting the customer first.

When the customer wins, you win

When the customer wins, you winFollow these simple tips to help you help your customers.

  • Start by learning and cataloging everything you can about a customer’s business. The more you know, the easier it will be to find new ways to be helpful. And the more helpful you are, the more the customer will think of you first.
  • Listen for feedback. Really listen. When you don’t hear it, ask for it.
  • Communicate on a personal level, supplying real information instead of a sales pitch. Put the emphasis on the customer as a knowledgeable buyer, and not on yourself as the seller.
  • Increase the value of what you sell by showing how it satisfies the customer’s customer.
  • Above all, remember that service is the name of the game when it comes to retaining customers over the long-term.

Do You Have A Customer Engagement Strategy?

Do You Have A Customer Engagement Strategy?To create great experiences for customers, you must know what you want customers to feel, think and do at every stage of the relationship.

That’s the value of having a strong Customer Engagement strategy. It’s a process that can shift your efforts to being more proactive and more rewarding for your customer.

Hopefully, you already have a customer engagement strategy but if not, take a look at the Channel Instincts post:  Is It a Fire Drill Every Time Your Customer Calls?

Good Selling!

Photo credit: Sloan Review