Partnerships, the General Parts Group Way!
By Chuck Knuth – Business Development Representative
The New Year period is always a time for reflection and like many others I have been taking a little time to look back on 2021. I have been in the foodservice industry for over 25 years now, it’s an industry I love, and it has been good to me. As I look back on why things worked out for me, I keep coming back to one very important week of training I had many years ago.
I had recently started a new position with a manufacturer in the foodservice industry. This was the beginning of the new millennium, the year 2000. I had been with the company for a year, and they sent a dozen of us to a specialized training called “Consultative Selling.” It cost the company $2k per person for this week-long training session, so it was quite an investment back then. The good news was that the training paid off and to this day I am still passionate about consultative selling. So what is this style of selling? In a nutshell, it’s about ONLY selling a service or product to your customer if it is in THEIR best interest. You have to train your mind to think of what is best for their company and how would you spend their dollars if you were in their shoes.
Today in my current role with General Parts Group, I sell Planned Maintenance (PM) programs for commercial cooking and refrigeration equipment. Each PM program is as unique as the kitchen it serves. To balance their needs, it is imperative I talk with the owner/manager, I need to listen to understand their workflow, but I also need to coach best practice. For example, a customer is a heavy user of their steamer or ice machine, and they are very keen to have them maintained but they have overlooked their a poorly maintained water filtration system that feeds these units. This is where consultative selling comes into play when we ask deeper questions. Do they have their own in-house maintenance team or a plumber partner that they already trust? Do they have an existing vendor who can manage the filter exchanges down the road? If so, this might be the most cost-effective way to get this job done, rather than adding it to the PM program. We need to always ask the question “what is in the customer’s best interest”. In this scenario the customer decides what is most efficient based on all the resources available to them in addition to General Parts.
Some organizations would see this as underselling or leaving money on the table and in transactional selling that may well be right. However, General Parts Group is focused on building relationships rather than transactions. A key pillar of building trust is delivering great service, we want our technicians to be heroes to our customers, so alongside listening to our clients’ needs we are very honest about our capabilities. Sometimes their needs may require a specialist, we may advise they work with another company, or we might sub work out but no matter what the scenario we will do what delivers the best outcome to the client.
In summary when customers know that you have THEIR best interests at heart, then TRUST is built. These customers may even give you more business and refer your services to others. That is a win-win and the General Parts way, and I am proud to have contributed to that philosophy.
I hope you also will be blessed, as we are, with many long-term customer relationships.