Friday, November 25, 2016

Why Educating Your Customers Is So Important

Related imageDistributors typically look at training as a necessary evil so it is something they do reluctantly for their customers, or push it off on a manufacturer representative. The training that is provided is uninspired, and the class will likely not be well attended, which goes to confirm the distributors believe that very few customers are really interested in training.

This of course is simply not true, and many distributors are likely unaware of the powerful opportunity this is to build a strong and long lasting relationship with their customers. Often at the expense of the manufacturer.
The key to a successful training program is to design training that is irresistible to your customers. If you provide a class hitting on an important topic to your local product community, your class will sell out and the folks who attended will be impressed with what your supply chain can do for them.

How to develop training

The best way to develop interesting training is to listen to your customers. They will tell you where they need help as long as you ask the right questions. You'll want to ask your customers they are struggling? When are they routinely confused about which product to buy, what the right product for the specific situation is?

Image result for education is the key
If you ask enough of the right questions you'll find that the same topic keeps coming up and everyone in your area is probably struggling with the same problems.
The key is to zero in on the problems your customer base is experiencing so that when you go see your next customer, you can ask them if they would benefit from a training class.

Using the MDS-Nx system you can bring new insights into the issues they are facing by using data analytics and business analysis tools to tell them what products they are not buying enough or learn when they are dispensing a drug with a better generic. Or a syringe that can sourced at a better price with higher quality from alternate vendor.

Not Surprisingly... Training brings new business

If you help train your customers they will surely come to you to purchase the products that supports the training that you provided for them. You can make it easy for your customers to purchase from you by making up a specials deal or a flyer discounting the test instruments or parts that you are discussing in your class.
You will gain mind share and will be respected in your marketplace as a distributor who can provide value and knowledge. You will find that regardless of the size of market that you are in, customers will talk to other customers. The more training you provide the more your business will be mentioned in a positive light. This will likely lead you to pick up a lot of repeat business, assuming your organization can provide a steady flow of outstanding training.
If you pass out an evaluation sheet at the end of every class along with additional training topics asking the students which class they would prefer to see next you will get a solid consensus on what should be your next topic. Success breed’s success and you will soon be the leader in your marketplace for training.

Train and sell your local technical college students

Why the local technical college?
Med techs, nurses, therapists, these are the people who will be buying from you. Often it's not a professional purchasing agent, its someone who has four other jobs at your client. By reaching out and helping out during the education cycle, where ever they land you will have a loyal customer and a voice to get in the door if they are not a client.

Image result for technical collegeThe students are anxious to continue with their education even after they have graduated and entered into the workforce. Today's students are tomorrow's technicians so you would be wise to donate your time and to help educate these youngsters. People will come back years later and tell you how much they appreciated the time you spent to come out and speak to their class.
These former students will also likely be doing business with your company. You never know where customers come from.

It's typically a lot easier to offer free classes at a technical college, and you don't to worry about your accreditation. If possible look to try and get a seat on the advisory board for your local technical college. The board typically will consist of a few industry veterans. You want to make sure that you are one of those representatives so you can help to develop the curriculum, Understand what the are teaching and design your supply offering around those goals. The more you can help your community the better off you will be.

Create loyal customers

The last and probably most important benefit that you will receive from training your customers is that they will become loyal to you and your supply house. If you have helped a customer grow his business he will reward you with his loyalty. If you can teach someone how to increase their business and make it more profitable you will have a friend and a customer for life but don't think that that can be accomplished with just a class or two. You will need to consistently deliver classes that will assist contractors with their businesses.

The type of classes that will be of value really depends on your client base, but in the health care space, many former doctors and pharmacists have entered the supply chain to become distributors. Classes don't always have to be a product pitch, although those are clearly the easiest to put together. But instead, think about sharing your industry knowledge , or even your business skills, many will appreciate any kind of training.  All these classes will are designed to help your customers grow their business while making them more profitable and who wouldn’t love that.

Ready to build a relationship?

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556. Or send a message to
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