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FLEXO Magazine : June2010
Plants & Processes Dare to Differentiate In a Market of low-cost alternative, Uniqueness and Quality are King By roger Bostdorff MAXIMIZE YOUR HUMAN CAPITAL FOR FLEXOGRAPHIC EXCELLENCE MaxiMize Your Human Capital for flexographic excellence • Maximize efficiency • Boost productivity • Obtain color accurate & consistent results • Give your plant a true competitive advantage • Satisfy your customers faster than ever before • Keep repeat orders flowing • Promote enthusiasm, initiative & innovation among employees The end result? Proficiency –demonstrated by high-quality, repeatable & consistent results. FFTA’s FIRST Operator Certification Program, administered online via the TEST Virtual Campus, is the flexo industry’s standard of excellence. Contact us at 631-737-6020 to setup a demo and begin your journey to a FIRST Certification today! Visit www.flexography.org to learn more. FIRST_Impl_ad_mech.indd 1 6/4/10 1:16 PM 64 FLEXO jUne 2010 www.flexography.org • Today’s economy is still uncertain, and competition from cheap imports abound. • By standing out from the pack, companies can make headway. • Focusing on high quality and differentiating can save the day. Recently I was presenting to a National Association’s Annual Conference near Las Vegas. The presenta- tion was entitled, “Selling in a Tough Economy.” This presentation discussed the status quo of our economy and then described why some marketing representatives (fancy word for salesman) and companies, in spite of the challeng- ing times, are successful and others are not! While delivering my presentation I had someone in the audi- ence stand up and tell me that he was just like everyone else in the audience. He and his company could not do or make anything any different than the other participants in the room. In fact, the same was true with the folks in his industry that resided in China, they could just make the product for substan- tially less money. He certainly had an interesting perspective! These comments were made after I had already led an interactive discussion on the need to differentiate. How do you think he liked the presentation up to that point? By the way, 21 out of the 24 participants provided feedback that the presen- tation was either good or excellent. My bet is this person was one of the three that had another opinion. I had to do some fast thinking to save this presentation. However, before I could fully think through my response I had another participant stand and layout how he differentiated his product from the one he competed with in China. He told the story that he actually made a trip to China to see if he could source his items from China. At least that was the story he told his Chinese competitors. He sought and brought back competitive items to what he made here in the states. After he returned he had the metal analyzed and found out that it did not meet the specifications of the end user customer. He then took this analysis to his distributor who had already told the manufacturing company that the distribu- tor was going to sell the Chinese-sourced product. The conference participant then explained that the distributor could compete with the Chinese product or the ones made here in the U.S.— this was the distributor’s choice. However, if the distributor decided to go with the Chinese product, my participant would be contacting a competitive distributor and be conveying the information in regards to the inferior product. This would obviously lead to a lack of credibility with the end user customer and provide very good odds the distributor would lose this order and many others in the future. This manufacturer differentiated his product from the low- cost alternative. He went the extra mile to do so. By the way, I am not sure the guy that went to China did not have a con- versation regarding buying the company of the person who thought his company and products were like everyone else’s! These two individuals were in the same industry, compet- ing for the same type of business. They each had their own perspective regarding how their company could be success- ful. What perspective do you have at the moment? Have you spent any time quantifying your differentiation factors? What makes your product or service unique or special? Or are you the same as everyone else in your marketplace? The economy is tough, no doubt about it. It has been tough for some time. This might be an excellent time to take the tem- perature of your perspective. Trust me; it matters to you, your employees and to your company ’s longevity and success! Good luck and good selling! n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roger Bostdorff is the president of B2B Sales Boost LLC. He spent more than 30 years with IBM in sales and sales management. B2B Sales Boost is a consulting com- pany helping organizations improve their sales and overall business processes. You can find more about B2B Sales Boost on the Web at www.b2bsalesboost.com or calling 419-351- 4347. If you would like to receive the B2B Sales Boost Newslet- ter, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. FLX_June2010_mech.indd 64 6/10/10 9:40 AM