Thanks to Ross Greenwood for featuring Ogis in the business section of the Telegraph.
Manufacturing is a tough business to be involved in and it’s great to get support from the media.
Please click here to read the article.
FAMILY business is one thing. Taking over the in-laws business is something else altogether.
Not many would be enthusiastic. Kevin Adler, after being in the Air Force, had no problems.
“I learned how not to treat people in the Air Force,” he says. “Once I did a job much quicker than the log-book specified. I told the staff sergeant who said: ‘if you do it wrong I’ll kick you in the arse, but if you do it well, or do it fast, don’t expect congratulations’.
“I vowed, if I ever had my own business … to never treat people that way.” Now — in his view — he has 26 families that Ogis supports, and his main job is to keep business coming through the door.
Adler’s business, Ogis Engineering, is based in Rosebery. Every person who has ever caught a train has used his product … without ever knowing it.
“I read in the newspaper that Downer EDI won the contract to build new trains for Sydney. I went to Newcastle the next day to try and win a contract.”
That trip paid off. The company that specialises in bending tube and pipe became the main supplier of hand rails on trains and public transport.
“I love cold calling. I find it very challenging but very rewarding. But I always like to start the relationships slowly. There might be other suppliers there. It’s good to give a competitive bid.”
Like other manufacturers, Ogis is affected by Chinese imports.
“We have to change the things we do to keep the place busy. It was disappointing to us when it was decided the Waratah trains would be made in China.”
Adler is critical of the NSW Government in this regard.
“Actually, the NSW Government is pretty bad when it comes to that,” he says. They don’t specify local content as much as the Victorian Government does.”
Ogis’s client base is incredibly varied … think the polished metal bollards outside the Opera House … the poles that make up the water feature at Sydney Olympic Park or, if you have been there, the 10,000 bottle metal wine rack in Luke Mangan’s Glass Brasserie in the Hilton Hotel.
But to compete against Chinese suppliers Adler has created different levels of service to suit his varied customer base. An express service charges a premium to have metal bent or fabricated to order for a premium price; the typical service remains and a new service for cost conscious customers that delivers more slowly, but with a lower price.
Can you handle the cold call?
If there’s one common trait among most successful, self-made business-people … it’s that they are masters at the cold-call.
It takes enormous nerve and confidence to call someone you don’t know, to sell them a product. It’s why brilliant sales-people come at a premium.
The other motivation for cold-calling anyone is desperation. When cash-flow gets tight and you’re worried about the future of your business, you will call anyone if you think they will help you survive.
A successful cold-call is no spur of the moment decision. Often it is a highly pre-prepared tactic, where the person making the call will have researched their subject, and the sales spiel. In addition you will need to make certain you can fulfil your promises, in case you get the answer “yes”.
The reason a cold-call is necessary, in almost every small business, is that you cannot expect to know every potential client. If you don’t introduce your business to potential customers, it will founder quickly.
There are a couple of secrets. Clearly you should be prepared. But you should also consider that most people are very short of time when it comes to establishing new contacts. In other words, if you get your foot in the door, make sure you cut to the chase in terms of what you offer and how you can help your target’s business.
The next most important thing is to follow up … immediately. It is vital to make certain you have a pack of information to email instantly further enhance your credentials and the way your business could help save money or deliver a better service. Without this, don’t bother calling in the first place.
Finally, as anybody who has ever made a cold-call will know, be prepared for knock-backs. They happen to be best of salespeople. But the very best are resilient and know there will be another customer. But they also know if they keep knocking on the client’s door, one day it will open.
This week’s case study – Kevin Adler from Ogis Engineering – says he thrives on the cold call. In fact I had the pleasure of experiencing this first hand a few weeks ago. We had already organised to interview Kevin for the column, but at the Chatswood Chamber of Commerce Budget Breakfast, he bowled up and introduced himself.
It was clearly not the first time.
For many people who are not of such an outgoing disposition, cold-calling can be stressful. Pushing yourself forward is not natural for a large proportion of our population.
This is the reason business networking thrives around the world. It is the easy way to make contacts with like-minded people in your industry and in business generally. Chambers of Commerce and other groups give people opportunities to learn and to find others to do business with.