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“We have enough new work that the cost of THOMASNET will be less than 5% of the new sales in the first year.”
Conformance Coatings & Prototype:
A THOMASNET.com Success Story
Located an hour outside of Detroit, Conformance Coatings & Prototype (CC&P) was founded in 1984 to support local molders, primarily in the automotive industry. Over the years CC&P leveraged local connections and referrals in order to grow. The strategy proved successful – for a while.
Recent changes in the plastic industry caused CC&P’s local clients to look elsewhere, threatening the company’s bottom line and the business overall. Bruce recognized the need to change his game plan and expand into other markets, but he didn’t quite know how to execute it.
“We … found it very hard to open doors with the same methods that have kept our business alive for 30 years,” he said. “Everything that we tried was not bringing opportunities for us.”
Quickly losing customers and revenues, CC&P was on shaky ground. And then the bottom seemed to fall out when a longtime customer took their work in house, cutting off a key and lucrative contract. “We were in dire straits,” Bruce recalled.
Bruce and his team tried different ways to turn around the business, but nothing seemed to work. Potential clients, CC&P found, only wanted to be contacted on their terms. “We needed to have exposure to buyers, engineers, project managers, [but] we couldn’t reach those people, they only wanted to talk when there is a need,” Bruce realized. As a result, no matter how many calls they made, they couldn’t make a sale that would save the company.
“Our days were numbered, maybe into months, and we were going the wrong way,” he said. That’s when he received a call of his own. Bruce received a phone call from Rob Luther, THOMASNET.com Director Of Sales Development, and the two quickly scheduled a meeting. “Robert Luther came to our door at the right moment,” Bruce said. Robert worked consultatively with Bruce, explaining how THOMASNET.com could help. Beyond conveying the benefits of building a presence on the THOMASNET supplier discovery platform, Robert provided advice that would help CC&P drive traffic to its site and make the most of its online efforts. “He showed me what needed to be written for various areas and how the words that we were using would connect with searches,” Bruce said.
Ultimately, Bruce recognized that THOMASNET.com could play a critical role in opening up new opportunities for the company and changing the way it had done business. It would help get his small shop in front of the right buyers at the right time, without the need to make cold calls or chase leads. Business would come to him. “I jumped in with both feet,” he said.
THOMASNET.com took the time to build a program that was custom fit to CC&P’s needs and goals, a hands-on, collaborative process that took about four months. Immediately after the program went live, CC&P realized results.“We picked up some small jobs from New York right away,” Bruce said. Soon after that, the company began earning contracts with customers throughout the country. CC&P hadn’t expanded beyond its shop in Michigan, but its reach and reputation certainly did.
Six months after going live, Bruce received a call from a customer in Iowa who had a contract with a major automobile manufacturer. “Their parts were failing,” Bruce said. “We were given the opportunity to correct the problem, took over the work, and basically we’re doing $130 - $140,000 a month now with that customer, and that has put us in a very profitable position. All in all, partnering with THOMASNET has been a tremendous success.
“We have enough new work that the cost of THOMASNET will be less than 5% of the new sales in the first year,” Bruce explained. “We are seeing 1-3 inquiries a week now and are working on expanding our supply base to support the new opportunities.”