TOUGH CALL: Big Builder. Big Problem.
Your company’s biggest account is way past due. What would you do?
Your lumberyard has never been the biggest in your market, nor has it been the smallest. Instead of size, you’ve chosen to focus on being the best. Delivering the best products you could source, at a fair price—and working hard to make your pro customers as successful as possible. After all, since launching your company more than 20 years ago, you understood that your success or failure would be determined by your ability to help your customers succeed. That mantra has helped you grow your company from a shoestring start up to a solid, respected player.
It was your reputation that first got the attention of the purchasing folks at Mega Homes early last year. The biggest home builder in your state, they decided to enter your market in a big way, and they were looking for the right supplier. “We’re the biggest and best at what we do,” you remember them telling you. “After studying your market, we’ve decided to go all-in, and we’ve got the financial depth to do it right. We like working primarily with one supplier in each market, and you seem to be the best. Our only question is—do you have the capacity to meet our needs?” After assuring them that you wouldn’t let them down, and that you could live with slimmer margins, it was off to the races.
The first six months couldn’t have gone better. You assigned a dedicated outside sales rep to their account, and made sure you had the product and material delivered when and where it was needed. In exchange, they paid on time, and all was well. Until it wasn’t….