6 Ways to Ease Tension During Next Retail Headquarters Call

By Stew Bishop, President and CEO    

As discussed in my recent blog, situations may be more complicated than they appear, the tension we face during a manufacturer/retailer call may result in our agreement to do something unrealistic while knowing we should be pushing back.

While tension is natural in this situation and we can’t eliminate it, decades of first hand experience has taught us some ways to ease this tension and increase the likelihood of finding a win-win solution.

  1. Solve Problems at Point of Contact

You own this success of this business relationship for both parties, do not simply pass along information expecting someone else to solve. Your job is to create solutions for both the buying and selling organizations.

  1. Recognize Natural Bias

Maintaining status quo is always much easier than grooving a new path, but adaptation and evolution is necessary for survival. Think about the long game and resist the temptation to solely focus on the play at hand.

  1. Act with Facts.

Knowing what to do is simply the first step. One must then make decisions using data. If the data tells you to change, you must then execute differently!

  1. Co-Develop Operational Plans

Do you really understand the buyer’s needs– how is he or she is evaluated, incentivized and paid? What are the critical lines in the P&L? Don’t push your own firm’s agenda too hard on your customer or your customer’s too hard on your employer.

  1. It’s Ok to Say No.

If you are prepared, empathetic, and clear on what you want, a solution is likely to emerge. However you should also know at what point you will say no and walk away. Manufacturers can now choose which retailers they work with work with just as retailers choose manufacturers. The “supply everyone something” days are coming to a close.

  1. Control is Overrated; Embrace Influence…

Educate others, especially marketers, that just because you have talked about it does not mean that the retailer has accepted it. The flawed belief that we can get what we want versus what both parties want will derail relationships. Embracing the role of influencer versus controller leads to facts versus opinions, action versus debate, and consequent success versus failure.

These are easy to say, but hard to do. CMG helps brands better prepare for and improve outcomes on customer calls every day.  Contact us to learn how.