A record turnout to the American Supply Association’s Young Executives Spring Forum in Cleveland was treated to a commonsense approach to growing revenues in a business.

Consultant and speaker Alex Goldfayn, whose column started running in the June issue of Supply House Times, told YE attendees making a business more profitable is easier than one thinks.

“The question is will you do the work?” he said. “It’s not hard to grow a business and it’s not expensive to grow a business. It’s asinine to hear the saying it takes money to make money. It takes effort and communication — proactively and with intentionality. If you want to grow your business, communicate more. Revenue growth is a proactive pursuit.”

Goldfayn delved into the sales side of a business where he stressed inroads can be made simply by doing things such as following up on quotes, asking for referrals and, most importantly, asking for the business.

“Why don’t we do these things?” he asked. “It’s fear. Why don’t we ask for testimonials and referrals more? Fear. For the typical salesman, the fear of rejection is more profound than the need to feed their family. Most people would rather not ask for the business than ask for it and try to get a ‘yes.’”

Goldfayn suggested a simple motto to keep in mind. “Help more people more,” he said. “Systematic revenue growth is a habit.”

And that systematic growth can be as easy as increasing business with existing customers. “Ask them what they are buying elsewhere,” he said. “All of you can grow a lot if you just sell a few more things to your customers. Think about helping people a little more and you will turn snowflakes into blizzards — small improvements into big results.”

He also shared a key motivational tip concerning management of employees. “Recognition is a more effective tool for motivation than money or other forms of compensation,” he said. “Show people how good they are through the words of their customers and they will become more engaged.”

Goldfayn opined perseverance and resilience comprise two-thirds of the success equation — the other third is talent.

“It’s all about doing the work and trying again,” he said. “Thomas Edison had a famous quote: ‘Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.’ What you sell is a commodity. What you can do for your customers and the value you add is singular. How you think is exactly how you sell or market.”

YE attendees also enjoyed an evening at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame sponsored by Oatey Supply Chain Services. There, Oatey CEO Neal Restivo addressed the crowd.

The next day, Oatey Executive Chairman Gary Oatey interviewed The J.M. Smucker Co. Chairman of the Board Richard Smucker during the event’s keynote address.

Afterward, the Spring Forum debuted a roundtable session where attendees broke into small groups to discuss topics such as technology, recruiting, employee retention, operations, future trends, competition, employee training, sales/selling value, rep accountability and marketing.

Attendees also went on a tour of Oatey’s nearby headquarters and manufacturing facilities. Next year’s YE Spring Forum heads to Jersey City, N.J., and will be sponsored by American Standard.


This article was originally titled “Effort and communication” in the July 2017 print edition of Supply House Times.