Make Good Things Happen
Congratulations to those who were selected as 2010 Truck Parts & Service Distributor of the Year finalists. Your company’s ability to serve customers while bending, twisting, shrinking and growing with recent market changes has propelled you to the top of a very competitive class. Standing on the doorstep of my last guest column, I felt compelled to supply some sort of “crystal ball” to the future for the distributor who will be selected as the best performer in 2010.
We weren’t sure what to expect when Power Train received the award at HDAW earlier this year. We were excited, but at the same time we wondered what it would mean. How did this award add to our bottom line?
Here is what we learned quickly. It didn’t. Plain and simple, nothing is going to change if your company is named the Distributor of the Year. (Let the shock settle a bit before continuing on.) I don’t mean to burst any bubbles or offend those presenting the award, but it’s the truth. Nothing changes.
Unfortunately, your core group of customers will not increase by 7 percent overnight, second quarter sales are not guaranteed to jump off the charts and your employees will not love coming to work any more than they did they day before they earned the award (because it is your employees who earn this award).
“The worst thing we can do as distributors is sit back and let all the good things we do go unnoticed.”
To those finalists who may feel disappointed after reading this, I sincerely apologize, but please continue reading. It isn’t all negative.
From big events like winning the Distributor of the Year award to the good ol’ “slap on the back” praise from your customer for delivering on time, “control” is the key word. Distributors have the control to make good things happen. And on top of that, distributors have to be hungry for the positive things our companies do.
As the owner of Power Train Services, I want to know every time one of our salesmen goes above and beyond to service a customer. And even more importantly, I want every employee in our company to know that one of his peers was successful.
Sometimes we spend so much time worrying about fixing things and passing along negative information that the positive things our companies do get lost in the shuffle. It is the same with being named the Distributor of the Year. Simply accepting the award and letting it get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day business is not enough. You have to make the good things happen.
“Sometimes we spend so much time worrying about fixing things and passing along negative information that the positive things our companies do get lost in the shuffle.”
Make it part of your culture to explode (in a positive way) the good things your company does. Maybe you’re one of the finalists who doesn’t win the award. You still were chosen from a network of distributors and suppliers as a finalist — so explode it.
Make that accomplishment valuable to your bottom line. Communicate it, be proud of it — make it meaningful.
Market your success, congratulate your employees and don’t let anyone walk past your building without knowing what your team has accomplished. (Maybe that is a little over the top, but you get the point.)
I truly believe we have the power to take the events that happen to our companies and make them more valuable.
Ask yourself this every day, “What does my business do better than the competition and what can I do to explode that?” If you’re not exploding the good things your company does, then what is left for customers, employees and competition to focus on? (Answer = the bad things)
You could call this an article on marketing and managing brand power or perception, but in reality, it’s a simple business owner’s viewpoint on being aggressive toward the good things that happen. We have the control to take a simple “good job” and affect the behaviors and emotions of our employees from AP to receiving.
We have the ability to take an award like the Truck Parts & Service Distributor of the Year and use that to make our product better than our competitors’ products. The worst thing we can do as distributors is sit back and let all the good things we do go unnoticed. Success is limited – never be scared to succeed strongly. n
Lyle Bass is president and co-owner of Power Train Service and the 2009 Truck Parts & Service Distributor of the Year. Power Train Service is headquartered in Indianapolis and has nine locations throughout the Midwest. The views expressed in the Guest Editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Truck Parts & Service magazine.