Chairman’s Message: A Good Year

Posted by Chris Means on 12/1/22 9:42 AM

Chris Means-1

How do you measure a good year? What are your indicators of success? Have you ever written these down at the start of each New Year and reviewed at the end to see if you achieved those things, or if you changed course at some point due to factors driving the need for change. We all “feel” what we perceive as successes or failures, a good year or a bad one. But even in a bad year we all have the ability to make things better.

As we get through the Thanksgiving weekend, we tend toward a frantic atmosphere to capture whatever the Black Friday sales made available. For distributors, it’s an opportunity to refill the shelves of our customers. For our vendor partners, a way to clear the shelves as they get closer to new product rollouts for SHOT.

But there are always companies that do a better job of turning bad into good, or good into great. The most successful business people in distribution find ways to make the customer relationship personal. Take it to a higher level. Find more ways to become important.

The building of stronger relationships can include a variety of techniques unique to each customer situation. Sending sales people to help support big promotions is a sure way to be appreciated and move up the list. But simple things like getting to know birthdays and anniversaries is a great way to let customers know you are thinking of them beyond the sales-to-customer relationship. The best buyers build relationships with their vendors’ key personnel. I worked with a gun buyer that sent flowers on birthdays to all the women that controlled allocations. It’s not always the CEO or VP of Sales that holds the key to greater success and allocations.

Regardless of your role in the company, there are always methods and mindsets that can take you from good to great. That can transform a bad year into a good year.

The idea of “good to great” can and should transition into your personal life as well. If you succeed in your personal life, you’re going to bring that philosophy to everything you’re involved in – work, church, your kids’ activities, and much more.

So, as we segue from Thanksgiving to Christmas, try not to wait for the cliché resolution season after January 1. Start today to think about how you and your team can find one way to become better. Achieve that and find another. The important message is that we don’t have to accept that it’s a tough year. We all know it is. Don’t let your team wallow in the excuse of the industry lull. Lift them up from GOOD to GREAT!

I’ll offer an early Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you and look forward to seeing you at SHOT.


Until Next Time,


Chris Means

NASGW Chairman

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