Geist stresses execution of your business plan at HDAW

Execution should no longer be just a word to you. It should be your company mantra.

That was the word out of desert Tuesday during the keynote address at the opening general session of Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week 2013 at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

Sam Geist, principal at Geist & Associates, officially kicked off this week’s festivities with a rousing speech about the importance in executing sales plans in 2013. Social media, information accessibility and product options are growing rapidly these days, and Geist says the only way your company can grow and maintain its position in the market is to execute on its promises to customers.

If you claim to provide the best cost, customer service or delivery to your customers; you have to follow through, he says. Customers have no reason to wait anymore.

“Expectations for companies from customers have changed, and they are just going to keep getting higher and higher,” he says. “The business model we have known for years is changing in front of our eyes.”

Geist says customers want a specific product from their suppliers and they know what that product is. They will go to the supplier they trust to provide them that product as effectively and stress-free as possible. Price matters, he adds, but not as much as your ability to follow through on a sales promise.

“When you take price off the table, what do you have left [to provide your customers]?” Geist says. “You have to have an answer for this.”

He also warned aftermarket companies that execution doesn’t just mean following through on a guarantee today. Future execution is equally important.

“Change is tough; not changing is terminal,” he says. “We have to learn to let go of yesterday.”

Geist was followed during Tuesday’s session by Bill Strauss of the Federal Reserve. Strauss says the Fed is predicting slow but moderate growth for the United States’ economy in the coming years.

He says the growth we are currently seeing is slower than past recoveries due to the size of the most recent recession. While the Fed doesn’t expect another recession in the coming years, Strauss warns the economy is still unpredictable. Recession triggers in the U.S. and world economy are still out there.

Overall, Strauss says the Fed expects GDP growth of 2.2 percent in 2013 and 2.8 percent in 2014. While those numbers are slightly higher than Blue Chip projections, they are still conservative growth numbers.

“We’re growing slowly, but we’re growing nonetheless,” he says.

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