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‘Not Holding the Supermarket Buyer to Account’ comes from the Free Guide – The Biggest 8 Mistakes Suppliers Make When Selling to the Big 4 UK Supermarkets And How to Avoid Them All’:

The Mistake of Not Holding the Supermarket Buyer to Account

Buyers have Supplier meetings all day long. Some are prepared for, most are not. The mistake many Suppliers make is not capturing the actions that were agreed. The Supplier can either leave the meeting frustrated, beaten, or elated, and even for those meetings that are great they should not expect the Buyer to know, remember, or deliver on any, or some of what they has been agreed.

The Consequences of Not Holding the Supermarket Buyer to Account

Progress is slow. People become frustrated. Chasing becomes the name of the game.

How to Avoid Not Holding the Supermarket Buyer to Account

It sounds boring, old school, and not newsworthy – Write the actions down. Most of the meetings I see and hear about fail because no one wrote down what was agreed, let alone took a few minutes to go through what was agreed at the end of the meeting, or emailed what was agreed.

There are two options to avoid these mistakes:

1. A piece of paper of 3 columns; What, When and Who. This is because a meeting normally agrees the what,

then they find someone at the meeting to do it, and then that person says when they can do it by.

2. Open your laptop and capture the actions as they are agreed. When the actions are emailed they should be
‘flipped’. This is done by always showing the person’s name at the start of the action because in the West we read left to right and never use ‘all’ because people look for their name. For example:

  • ‘DAS…Book another meeting with MJ to discuss the ABC Report…By 12-07-16’.

NOT

  • ‘All…Get together to identify opportunities in the category…By 12-07-16’.

The latter action is also known as a ‘ woolly mammoth’ that will never get done because it is too big and too horrible. Book a call with the Buyer at the same meeting for 2 weeks hence to go through the actions to assess progress.

Darren A. Smith

About Darren A. Smith

Darren has been working in the world of UK Supermarkets and Suppliers for over 20 years. He began his career as a buyer at one of the big 4 UK supermarkets and after rising through the ranks he decided to leave after 13 years and set-up Making Business Matter. For the last 14 years he has run MBM, which is a training provider to the UK grocery industry. Helping suppliers to the big four supermarkets to develop the soft skills that will secure them more profitable wins.

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