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Platinum Group
October 2010
The Platinum Group Newsletter
Driving Business Forward After A Setback:
Tips on How To Deal with Loss of Major Customer
By Bruce Mallory, Managing Partner

How do I turn my business around after losing a major customer? The quick drop in volume can be a shock, so it’s time to review your operations and make some important decisions before this unfortunate event drains the business further. Here are some tips:
  • Gauge true economic impact of the loss.
    Consider the contribution dollars represented by this large customer rather than focusing on the standard gross profit percentage. Examine the direct, variable costs associated with this customer — labor, material, customer service expenses, commissions, inventory costs, etc.
  • Scale back to break even quickly.
    Too many owners are slow to reduce fixed costs after a major customer loss in the hopes of replacing the lost volume with other customers. Avoid delaying inevitable cuts; get to break even now. Click here for a break-even calculator.
  • Take a fresh look at your customer mix.
    Define your ideal customer and incentivize your sales force to find more of these types of customers. The large customer you lost may not be the “ideal customer” you want.
 
Contact me at Bruce.Mallory@ThePlatinumGrp.com for answers to specific questions.



Platinum in the News

October 12th Transition Breakfast Forum:
Generational Challenges in Business Succession

Back by popular demand is a panel on intergenerational differences between GenXer owners and Millennial successors.  We will discuss transition steps that can improve the probability of an effective succession plan. It will be led again by James V. Gambone, Ph.D., who brings 20 years of research and working experience with intergenerational differences to this Transition Breakfast Forum. Click here for full invitation details.
 

Who: Business owners and managers,
and their trusted advisors.
When: October 12, 2010

7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
Presentation by James V. Gambone, Ph.D.,
co-owner and founder of Points Of View
Incorporated — www.pointsofviewinc.com
 
8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Hear from a reactor panel of Gen X and Millennial business manager/owner candidates with Steve Coleman, Platinum Group, as facilitator.

8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Open discussion at small tables among attendees followed by large-group discussion and summary of key issues and learnings.
Where: Olympic Hills Golf Club
Eden Prairie - 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Cost: $50 (payable October 12 by check or cash) — Buffet breakfast included.
Register: Contact Donna.Gray@ThePlatinumGrp.com or call 952-829-5700.

Platinum in the Community

Thanks for Coming to Our Open House!

All of us at Platinum thank the more than 425 people who took the time to come to our annual Open House last month to enjoy seeing friends and meeting new ones. It was our largest event ever! Let us know what you heard or learned that will help you in your business. Contact Donna at Donna.Gray@ThePlatinumGrp.com



Lessons Learned

Two Ears, One Mouth: Listening is the Power Position
By Kevin Carlson, Platinum Associate

Recently I was engaged by a major professional services firm to provide client effectiveness coaching and improve communications skills among its industry thought leaders. This firm provides nationally known experts who are uniquely qualified and possess an impressive list of industry specific credentials and sells to major corporations, who regularly engage these experts from this firm to help solve substantial business problems. One of my client’s experts was invited to meet with the Chairman/CEO of a Fortune 50 Company. I attended to assess this expert’s effectiveness. 

After introductions, the expert initiated a presentation — speaking nonstop, reviewing multiple slides and hardly taking a breath for 35 minutes. The Chairman/CEO was attentive at first. Then his body language quickly evolved into disinterest and distraction. Yet he said nothing, as did I. Ultimately, the Fortune 50 leader stood up, indicated he had another meeting, thanked us, and left the room. What was to be a one-hour meeting was cut short. It was clear to me that my client’s “expert” had dropped the ball with this important business opportunity. 

After leaving the building, the expert was extremely positive about how things had gone. When I told him that the meeting was a disaster, he didn’t accept it. He failed to see how his focus on talking, rather than listening, turned off the Chairman/CEO. One week later, the office of this same Chairman/CEO called me to set a time for a follow-up discussion. The message he conveyed: “Leave your expert at home. But if you are as smart as he says you are, I will need your help.” This Chairman/CEO had perceived that I was the subject-matter expert when, in actuality, I am not! I had said nothing. Re-enforcement of a great lesson: Two ears, one mouth! Listening is the most powerful communication skill one can master, and possibly the easiest. Listen and prosper! 



Platinum Group
952.829.5700
9855 W 78th Street
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
www.ThePlatinumGrp.com

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