Communication plus Knowledge and Experience – S&B Finishing
Clear, authentic communication can’t be beat
Despite significant changes in the technology used to communicate with clients over the 34 years Bill Marmitt has been an outside sales rep at S&B Finishing, he hasn’t changed the quality of his communication. Straightforward, honest communication, he believes is the keystone to his success in being able to really meet customer needs for all these years.
“To have longevity in any area you need to be genuine, you really do,” he explains. “Customers pick up when you’re genuine.”
The value of face-to-face conversation
Similarly, his co-worker, Tony Modro, who will celebrate 30 years with the company this year, believes that the face-to-face communication he has with customers is key to them getting the best coating for their applications.
“Sitting down in front of a customer face to face lets us have the tools right in front of us, the client can bring in the actual piece part or I can bring a bunch of sample chips,” says Tony.
“Everyone hides behind the computer and cellphone these days,” he says. “There are companies that will order up a chip sample without knowing what the true application of that product should be.”
While convenient and immediate, overly relying on digital communication makes it easy for details to be misconstrued or missed altogether.
Even a potential client just asking for a price on a stock black powder may not be as straightforward as it sounds.
“My stock black may have a green or a red hue and my stock white may have a yellow or blue hue,” Tony notes. “It’s important to be able to go back and forth so the color is what they’re actually looking for.”
Bill agrees that the interaction may start via the computer, but along with Tony and owner Kenny Spielman, he is always trying to build that face-to-face relationship with the customer.
Knowledge that comes with team experience
Customers want to be assured that sales professionals know the product line and can provide the best product for their needs—this boils down to well-informed communication.
When Bill and Tony go out to meet potential customers, they draw upon 145 years of combined experience that S&B’s 5-person management team boasts.
While their respective 34 and 30 years with the company has given both sales reps an impressive body of knowledge, neither hesitates to reach out to the larger sales force if there’s any doubt about an issue.
Tony admits there are times that he’s out on a call and finds himself stumped by a customer question. He can shoot a quick call back to his general manager, plant manager or Kenny for an answer.
“If necessary, I can even FaceTime back and forth to get the customer taken care of,” he explains. “It generates customer confidence when they see that we know what we are doing.”
Communication built into the company infrastructure
A deep commitment to open communication within the company is another reason some customers have been with S&B for 25+ years. Both sales reps attend weekly management meetings to stay abreast of developments in each area of the company.
This keeps the sales reps up to date on not only the company’s product line but everything from a new computer system to improved lighting in the shop.
While not common in businesses, S&B’s practice of including their sales reps in management meetings arms them with pertinent information that improves their interactions with potential customers. They operate with a level of confidence and knowledge that’s an asset for both the company and the customer.