In part three of the SEMA Recession Survival Webinar Series, entitled "Increasing Profits With Fewer Customers," presenter Dan Kettelson of Performance Inc. revealed that by applying new methods of business intelligence, fewer customers don’t have to result in less profits.
One of the methods of business intelligence that Kettelson outlines is to acquire additional information from your suppliers, manufacturers and customers. To gain knowledge from suppliers and manufacturers, he advises attending trade shows where you can obtain product information and finding and attending cocktail parties that may provide inside information and accessing Dun & Bradstreet credit reports.
But Kettelson recommends sourcing customers as the best supply of information on such topics as discounts and policies. Once the information is collected, Kettelson states that it will provide evidence of your buying power.
"The only method to know that you have a fair deal is to compare your numbers with 10 other customers in non-competing markets," he said.
In addition to acquiring data from your suppliers and manufacturers, it is important to gather information from your customers.
"The best source of new business is from your current customer base," he said.
Ask yourself what products are they purchasing that are not from you, what new services you can provide that will induce them to spend more with you and whether you can charge your customers for a labor-only service that does not include any part sales. Also, make sure to perform quarterly updates on customers with credit terms.
Kettelson also revealed these quick cost-saving ideas:
- Cut back on food at manager/employee meetings
- Drop 50% of fax lines
- Arrange for two dumpster pickups instead of three
- Drop Z-medical supplies—do it yourself
- Check-signing party—have monthly meetings with managers to pay all checks
- Renegotiate leases on business properties
- Cut back corporate employees to four days or seven hours per day
- Bring your own coffee, water and tea mugs—eliminate Styrofoam
- Use high-efficiency light bulbs
- Eliminate laundry service for tech uniforms—have your employees wash them
- Take ownership of vending machines
To download an audio or PDF version of the complete webinar, click here. To download all past SEMA webinars, click here.
Don’t miss the upcoming webinars:
- "Job Costing Systems That Will Boost Your Cash Flow," Thursday, April 2, 2009, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. (PDT)
- "Tough Times Bring Change: Learn How to Manage and Move Forward," Thursday, April 9, 2009, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. (PDT)
To view the entire calendar of the SEMA Recession Survival Series Webinar program, click here.