Sell high value B2B products or services? You have to figure out 3 things precisely.
- Who has the most to gain or lose? In terms of both the organisation and themselves personally.
- Do they completely understand the issues and impact on them?
- Can they sign the cheque?
Product recalls are pretty common. However, most organisations have absolutely no idea of the impact having to recall something can have on their business.
According to client, Steve Hather, one in four will not survive and simply go out of business. Others survive, but with major reputational damage and more often than not, heads at the top roll.
Given this you’d think manufacturers and distributers would recognise they need strategies to deal with recalls should they happen.
But Steve, one of Australia’s foremost product recall experts, knows convincing an organisation to plan and be prepared for a recall is an uphill slog.
When Steve first came to us he was trying to sell product recall certification workshops to Quality Managers in large organisations. Akin to the ISO and Quality Tick Certification you see lots of companies go through.
Steve faced two issues:
- Quality Managers didn’t perceive a need for his service. To them everything was under control (after all why would they be employed otherwise) and they certainly weren’t going to raise doubts with upper management.
In short, they had too much to lose personally and no real upside gain.
- They had no decision making authority.
So who has the most to gain or lose if a product recall crisis occurred? Both for the organisation and themselves personally!
IF profitability and ultimately survival is at stake it’s the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer.
CEO’s want to grow their business while CFO’s tend to look out for financial risks and want to save money at every turn.
Remember, a product recall can cost a company hundreds of thousands of hard dollars. 25% of them fail to recover and go out of business. A CEO and CFO’s worst nightmare.
These individuals, not the Quality Managers have the most to lose.
But product recall and crisis plans aren’t often on their radar until you bring it to their attention.
There is no established “Need”. So you must create one.
One of the most powerful ways is using examples where competitors have fallen into the trap of not taking action and suffered major financial and reputational consequences.
Take Fonterra, one of NZ’s largest dairy companies responsible for over 30% of the world’s dairy exports.
While they have great quality management practices, they’ve had a major debacle with a worldwide recall when botulism was found in Whey products.
Arguably as badly managed as the recent Volkswagen recall (when cars just stopped dead while driving and people were killed as a result), the recall trashed Fonterra’s reputation and cost the MD and two senior executives their positions.
Nothing convinces like real life. So I created the following piece which will specifically target the Managing Directors and Chief Financial Officers of Australia and NZ’s top 100 food producing organisations.
“Fonterra recently singlehandedly trashed New Zealand’s “100% Pure New Zealand” brand with the way they handled the recent Whey contamination crisis.
Could you be the next Fonterra?”
It goes on to talk about issues around risk mitigation and why they’re important in real world hard dollar terms. Terms that will make a MD or CFO sit up and take notice.
But a marketing piece is useless unless you can get it into the hands of the people who need to see it and are in a position to make financial decisions and act.
So we’re going to send this a “registered mail” and mark it “personal and confidential” so it gets opened by the MD and CFO personally.
Will it get opened? Absolutely.
Will they take action? More than likely. And we’ll increase the chances by following this up with more mail and phone calls.
By targeting the top Steve also covers another crucial point. Always target people who have something to gain or lose and are in a position to make buying decisions.
Educate them by clearly articulating the value of your solution while proving that taking action is necessary.
But realise, your greatest competition is not “the competition”. It’s inertia.
Most people won’t take action unless there’s a fire burning below them. You have to keep your name in front of them with valuable insights, examples and case studies. Your job is to be there when something changes and they need to take action.
So if you’re in a similar position to Steve and want to improve your sales results, we can design a marketing and sales process which will actively target people who are a good fit for you. People who will see the value of what you provide and will want to take action as a result.
Call us on 0414-913-334 to get started.