10/30/2005: "I finally forgot the hour"
Usually our Sunday mornings are a bit rushed. We wake up, and realize that we have relatively little time to get everyone showered, dressed, fed, and out the door in time for church. Today was no exception, even with setting the alarm. So we rushed around, did what we had to do, got out the door 15 minutes later that we should have, and hopped in the car for church. We got there, noticed that that parking lot was much emptier than usual, and suddenly realized that we hadn't set our clocks back an hour yet. We were 45 minutes early for church.
That is the first time I've ever forgotten to reset my clocks. Hopefully, it will be the last. I could have used that hour of sleep.
In other news, the new job is going well, and I'm almost stupid giddy over how things are going to be set up.
Two Fridays ago I had my first real customer visit. John and Bob set this one up, as it was John's contacts that got us there, and we were showcasing Bob as the new owner of the business that we were representing. Through some sheer stupid luck (or fantastic blessing from God, you decide) John managed to run into one of a number of former co-workers, who just happened to be head of engineering for both that plant and its sister plant across town. Talk about an in! With a follow-up visit this past Friday things are looking very rosy indeed, and I think I'm going to get this new career off to a great start, thanks in no small part to John and his knowledge and contacts.
Originally the whole idea of this position was that we'd ignore the small-change end of the business and go for the big guns - the huge corporations that use so many of the parts we can supply that it makes my head spin. These places go through millions of dollars' worth of parts annually, and if we can save them a significant fraction of that cost, we get to share in that savings ourselves. Sounds like a good plan, right?
Well, John thinks that we need to cover both ends of the business spectrum. Sure, we could go for the narrow, deep market, but if one of these monolithic companies suddenly doesn't buy from us anymore, there goes a huge chunk of our business. So, we must also chase the shallow but extremely broad market, consisting of literally thousands of businesses that use the products we can provide. The problem is, how do I cover both?
The answer is, of course, that I don't. I will cover the big accounts. (The benefit of being first in the door.) For the thousands of smaller potential customers, we will set up distributorships. Essentially, I'll be hiring salespeople to cover sub-territories, and allowing them to pick through their areas looking for every nook and cranny that we can get into. So instead of having to spend days on the road visiting everyone, I need only visit my big customers and my distributors. Sounds like a fiendishly great plan to me!
The only thing holding me back at this point is the lack of any infrastructure to support me. I don't have product/service brochures, catalogues, a website, or even business cards yet. Without those, I can't really go in anywhere with any amount of credability. So for now I'll concentrate on what I have, and push to get what I need.
Of course, I'll be looking forward to the day that I'll be able to start hiring people. If you know of anyone involved in industrial sales looking for a change, let me know. I want to have a list of people I can call once the time is right. Of course, the right time may be in two months from now, or in two years from now. Only time will tell (as usual).