By Jack Keough
The U.S. economy is strong and expanding and, as a result, 2013 will be a solid year for distributors, Alan Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics, told attendees at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors annual meeting today in Washington, D.C.
NAW Day 2: CRM is 'hot' in distribution according to NAW speaker
Beaulieu, whose economic firm has an excellent record for forecasting, added there will be a slight cooling off in business during the latter part of the year.
Alan Beaulieu speaks to attendees at NAW annual meeting. Photo credit: Kaveh Sardari/NAW
Beaulieu told attendees they should be aggressive in investing in their businesses, noting that interest rates will continue to be low. While he is optimistic about 2013, he predicted a mild recession next year but nothing of the magnitude we experienced in 2009.
"Our economy right now is in great shape," he said. Beaulieu pointed to a number of economic indicators signaling strength in the economy. Specifically, he pointed to exports being up, increased employment and the fact that banks are lending again as leading economic signs.
"Nothing worries me about 2013," Beaulieu added.
Although his company normally does not forecast the stock market, Beaulieu said he believes there will be a market correction in June of this year.
He also warned that inflation is coming and that copper prices will be increasing due to heavy demand from China.
In another presentation, Patrick Houlahan of Afterburner, a former U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot, described the link between focused military discipline and the achievement of business objectives.
He identified the four critical areas in flying fighter planes and completing those business goals. "You have to plan, brief your staff, execute and then conduct a debriefing," he said.
Houlahan said the key to establishing these goals is through a thorough understanding of the Flawless Execution System pyramid used by fighter pilots.
Graybar is one distributor that has made those objectives attainable. John Mansfield, vice president of business development for the St. Louis-based distributor told NAW members of the success his company has enjoyed as a result of using the Afterburner system.
Graybar's John Mansfield speaks to attendees at NAW annual meeting. Photo credit: Kaveh Sardari/NAW
Mansfield said several improvements that have resulted, particularly in assisting employees in their presentation skills to customers.
Previously, he said, salespeople would be working on their presentations for customers at the last minute with little time to critique. Now, long before the presentation is to be made, the salesperson makes the presentation to the "Red Team" consisting of three to five people. The team makes suggestions and recommendations.
"The quality of presentations went up markedly," Mansfield said. "The presenters said it was harder to present to the Red Team than the customer."
tEDmag.com will have more updates from NAW’s annual meeting throughout the course of the event.
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