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Contractor/Small Business Corner


Consistency Is the Key By Anthony Catalano


On the wholesale side of the industry, there can be many variables responsible for the making or breaking of success. In the distribution field, distributors can enjoy (and sometimes have to endure) being both the customer and the sales staff. From these different perspectives, it’s clear to see great product ideas fall flat and the sales of gimmicky throw-away items take off. I’ve seen polar opposite people build mutually beneficial business relationships and one-time trusted partners move apart without noticing until it’s too late. Some- times corporate policies are the wedge, and other times it’s because the market just changes. Everyday business can often get in the way, too. Credit issues, pricing discrepancies, unrealistic demands — the cautionary list can go on but the single most influential factor that I’ve found to nurture or equally stifle success is consis- tency.


The goal of consistency can be applied to just about everything, which is why it is so hard to attain as an endorsement. This is because consistency is not something that can be proven or lost in a single measur- able instance. It is a pattern that has to be established over time. The longer the timeframe the more proven one can be- come. It’s actually kind of surprising — that someone may not be the fastest or most qualified source for a needed solution, but if he or she is consistent about how and what is done, people will take comfort in the dedication and other less matured attributes may be overlooked. It’s the "hot and cold ... here today, gone tomorrow" people who will wonder for the rest of their days why they had to work so hard to maintain even an average level of success.


Consistency creates accountability.


Being consistent establishes a baseline expectation for customers or colleagues. It will build trust and a sense of family.


Consistency establishes reputation.


For someone to choose to do business with a company, they typically look at the track record. Asking for new or continued business is asking customers to trust put- ting their livelihood in a company’s hands. Aim to have a reputation that speaks positively of the company.


Consistency legitimizes.


To achieve a desired change in someone’s behavior, “keep telling the story” until it becomes their own. It takes a constant predictable flow of information to achieve awareness and adoption of an idea.


Switching gears during every interac- tion with a customer leaves them always playing catch up and unable to get on the same page.


Consistency serves as a model.


Customers and colleagues pay attention to what is done more so than what is said. If something is treated as unimportant or bothersome, employees will learn to do the same. Set the example. Much like the classic negotiation tactic, set the anchor point high so that whatever the goal be- havior is becomes the result of a negotiat- ed willingness to comply.


Anthony Catalano has been with Atlantic Irrigation for 14 years, beginning as a


driver at their first location. He is currently the regional business development man- ager for the New York Metro Market.


38 Irrigation TODAY | October 2016


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