On March 7, Kip Miller, Eastern’s President and CEO, presented his President’s Message at the 2009 Annual Sales Meeting. Below is a transcript of that presentation.

The current economic recession is placing tremendous pressure on all businesses and especially on those in the sales profession. Waiting for the economy to turn around next month may make you feel better, but it is unwise. The current difficult business environment is serious, and is likely to last for some time.

So, what steps can we take that will help use be successful in chaotic times?

First, keep your hope alive & well – be positive about business and life!

  • Don’t buy-in to ‘how bad things are out there’. Things are NEVER as bad as they, or the media, make them seem.
  • Realism with optimism.
  • “I tell my customers, let’s think positive and let’s talk positive … I truly believe optimism and being positive rubs off on even the most pessimistic people.” – Lance Casey, Buford Branch Manager
  • It is better to light a candle than to curse the dark. Chinese Proverb
  • Focus on things worth celebrating and celebrate.

Second, don’t compromise what we value

  • In a world that has lost trust, be trustworthy. Truth works everywhere and people are hungry for it.
  • “I think that the key is to pay attention to detail. Follow through with what we say and follow-up with what we do. You have to separate your self from the pack to get the sale during unrest.” – Gus Allen, Plumbing Sales Manager
  • Be dependable and determine in your heart to be a responsible human being. If so, you will be highly favored among others.

Third, stay close to your Customers.

  • Stay in touch with your best (and most profitable) Customers.
  • “When calling on a superintendent or in the pipe shop, ‘relationships’ are still king.” – Greg Wheeler, Charleston Branch Manager
  • Treat them as you would desire to be treated at all times, not just during economic hardship.
  • Let them know that they are appreciated.
  • Ask how you can help them succeed.
  • Keep your quality of service high as others pull back.

Fourth, focus on where the business is and where the profit is.

  • Invest the majority of you time where you can get the maximum return.
  • “I am planning to focus on the power industry in the next coming years because that is an industry that everyone needs and we are already in the loop.” – Paul Thompkins, Western Georgia Regional Manager
  • Rid yourself of outdated routines that pay little or no dividends.
  • Calling on jobsites usually produces immediate business.
  • Specialty sales are items we do not have to cut prices on and can make a handsome profit thus helping the overall G/P. Promote and profit from the following specialty products. They are Valve Automation, Bell-O-Seal valves, SMC Solenoid Valves, Viega Stainless Steel, TFI Insulation Jackets, ITT, Swiss Fluid lined valves, Winters Instruments, and Sarco products.” – Ronnie Sims, Industrial Sales Manager

Fifth, during difficult times expect to be successful.

  • A highly successful person never develops a foxhole mentality.
  • Better to get up and get out the door t>o go hunt and explore than to just wait and see how things will affect me.
  • A top producer never thinks about surviving – they’re all about thriving.
  • Every giant that we face in life usually concludes with a great achievement.
  • Have faith that believes all things are possible, hope that fuels our dreams of a promising future and love that never gives up or fails.

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

~Author Unknown