6309 Monarch Park Place, Suite 203
Niwot, CO 80503, USA
Phone (303) 443-5060
Toll free (888) 742-5060
Most news was negative at the end of September, as companies went into a holding pattern to gauge the fallout from Sept. 11. Fall association meetings seem to be running down close to 20% in attendance. However, there are also some positive stories and interesting comments coming out at these industry meetings, where some distributors are up for the year. Some are reporting a more organized set of meetings with suppliers as everyone is looking to maximize time spent on the road. Some key relationships with customers and manufacturers are keeping distributors close to whole, if not healthy right now. Weak relationships in the good times have broken down altogether. Not a surprising outcome.
And while staffing cutbacks are the most difficult aspect of moving through this part of the cycle, it's important to keep a perspective on how you manage the impact of the downturn on your company. The article on p. 7 addresses some key issues in managing the sales force in a down economy. As a significant expense item, it's critical to look hard at the cost of sales efforts, and get creative about taking steps to better results.
Without discounting the gravity of the industrial recession we're in, there are opportunities to move your company forward. It may feel like an inch at a time, but this has to be the time to make the changes to create the vision for where you want to be six months and a year from now. That's where those participating in the industry association meetings seem to be getting the biggest payback. In formal meetings and hallway conversations, people are able to gain some outside perspective that helps them develop a stronger vision. That's essential today.