Hiding or selling

Friday 26 August 2022. – Plywood selling in an overdemand situation is not really selling if selling is understood as finding new customers. In strong demand, there is more use for hiding skills than selling skills. Salespersons spend their time by arranging and splitting volumes in order to keep the current customers at least somewhat satisfied.

When the demand turns to oversupply, a salesperson transforms into a seller again. Sellers chase purchasers and not vice versa. Everybody is getting plywood on time and as much as they want. It is like purchasers and sellers have exchanged their duties.

In some businesses, there is almost an unlimited number of prospect companies (potential customers). In the plywood market, the number of buyers, sellers, distributors, and producers remain quite static. Naturally, some companies fade away and some arise, but most often people in new companies have got a previous background in the same industry. It means that you face the same people in the bull and bear market, and that’s why it makes sense to behave.

When is a good time to acquire new customers? Well, new customer ships can be started in any market condition, but the easiest is to build connections when the demand is hot. For sellers that is easier said than done. When you have your hands full in explaining to customers why prices are increasing and still the plywood deliveries are arriving late, getting involved with new companies is the last thing you consider. Yet, in the back of your head, you know that one day you need new customers. 

It helps if you have a vision of your customer portfolio. Who and how many do you want to include in your customer base? When everybody is asking for more plywood, just the core clients would be enough. When there are not enough orders you’d like to include all the possible customers in your pool.

A long-term plan of who your ideal customer companies are makes life easier. On the purchasers’ side, a similar plan for suppliers is just as essential. By understanding the market and your ideal position in it, you will know to whom to say no and to whom to say yes. And for some, you say: “Yes, perhaps. Let’s give it a try”.