What I’ve learned in 2011

2012-blog-imageFinding motiviation

2011 was an interesting year for Metzgers. We hired more employees, we added more equipment, grew our customer list, improved our web and social media presence, changed our branding, made a large custom promotion to launch our new custom packaging & fulfillment services. Then we purchased a building to expand our warehouse and distribution business. But, honestly, it wasn’t as earth-shaking as it seems; this year and this list of things is much like prior years. In a nutshell, we invested back into our company, for about the 35th year in a row. My blog isn’t going to be about bragging about what we did, but I want to share what we learned.

Some of the learning is based on what we’ve experienced within our walls, and some of the learning is from things that happened in the community and in the world. Each learning experience can be identified by a single word, but I’ll share that word, and then offer a few opinions and ideas.


I’ve learned that in financial times like these, ONE very solid banking relationship with ONE bank is much better than 2 or 3 “good” relationships.

Backs against the wall:

Image of weathered brick wall.

I’ve learned that the business owner always wants to pay his debts, but there comes a time when their back is against the wall and they can’t. And from this, I’ve learned that that man or woman with their back against the wall will always pay themselves first.


I used to look through rosy glasses ALL THE TIME. There comes a time when a leader MUST look at each situation from a different or multiple angles: from the other side of the desk, from the other side of the situation, or from the employees’ or customers’ views.

Decision Making:

I’ve learned that it’s VERY important to get all the facts from both sides of each issue or each story. It hasn’t been easy for me to learn this, as like most entrepreneurs I usually think I’m right… but it’s important to the wellness of the team that everyone understands the agenda, the focus, and is rowing in the right direction.

Change your glasses:

Image of two different pairs of glasses.
I’ve learned that people need to try and look at things through a different set of glasses, daily. I’ve learned that it’s important for me to do this, but it’s more important to help others look through their new glasses.

By doing this, I can show people that they CAN do a job that they we’re hired for, or they DO have the God-given talent to do something or learn something they didn’t think they could. And, that their ideas ARE great ideas.


I’ve learned that many entrepreneurs aren’t “A“ students, they weren’t necessarily the most successful in school, many of them have a slight case of A.D.D. and several never finished college. Entrepreneurs can usually sell the ideas and concepts, before they are even developed, and entrepreneurs love to do good things for others. Often they are considered selfish, but I’ve yet to meet a true entrepreneur who wouldn’t be more than happy to forward the resume of a friend, or help someone get a job, or make a donation of their time, treasures or talents to some good cause. I can spot entrepreneurial thinking pretty quickly now, and I hope no one ever forgets that entrepreneurs create jobs in America… NOT the government.

Image of a mustard seed on a fingertip.


Yes, I mentioned the government above... With a little comment, so I guess since I’ve crossed that line… I’ll go to the faith side.

I was born and raised Catholic. Today I consider myself a very strong Christian-Catholic. My foundation of Catholicism has gotten me to where I am today, but my association with so many good Christians and Jewish people has brought in a larger understanding of faith. (The history of faith and church is amazing. Walk around a big city and stop in to visit some of the amazing churches, wherever you may go.)

So, my simple statements on faith: Take time to work on your faith life. If you don’t have a church, go find one. They’re all good.

Think about this... Let’s say you live your life thinking there really is NO heaven or hell, and there isn’t. I guess you’ll be okay. But, think if you live your life believing there is a heaven and hell, and you live a great life… and then your judgment day comes… and you learn there is heaven.

Well, which person do you want to be standing in front of those “pearly gates?”

Wouldn’t you want to be the prepared person? I would.


To me, sales has always been rather simple.

  1. Build trust with a potential customer.
  2. Learn what they need to help them do their job.
  3. Provide the best price and the best service possible.
  4. Follow up with the customer to make sure they are happy.
  5. And, never stop building the relationship.
  6. Oh yeah, every complaint by any customer, no matter how big of a customer or small… is a critical complaint. Fix the problem and don’t lose the customer.

Sales continues with a few other foundational beliefs.

  1. Sell more stuff to every customer.
  2. Get more customers.
  3. Never lose a customer.

And, lastly…

It often takes 10 to 15 phone calls or meetings to win a customer. Your normal sales rep will stop calling on the prospect somewhere between 4-6 calls.

It took up to six years to win the trust of some of our very best customers, and then we began getting some business. The most difficult customers to win are often the very best customers to have!!!


Unseen + Untold = Unsold.
Well, this isn’t something I learned recently… it’s something I’ve been living since I began in sales as a delivery guy for TypeHouse back in 1982.

Yes, I was a delivery guy… but anytime we did a cool project for a client, I’d get permission to show it to some other clients… and my motto:

Unseen + Untold = Unsold.

It’s worked for many customers.

I’ve never tried to Sell (with a capital “S”), I always try to Educate. I try to create excitement and curiosity, and we always try to solve the customer’s problem quickly.

So, let’s get out there, educate, and solve problems!

If we all grow sales at each of our businesses, this economy will turn around quickly.

FIT & Team:

Internally, I call Metzgers ”Team Metzgers.” It means a lot to me to have a team of great people all working together for a common goal: to serve customers and exceed their expectations and requests.

No business is easy. Many times I've made mention of our team "grabbing their oars, and rowing together in sync to meet the deadlines and needs at hand.” It's hard, as we have many different departments that all must coordinate and work well together. They must understand what each other have done, and the person working on the current project must understand what the next group needs in order to make their part of the deadline. If one piece or one department fails, we all fail.

I've learned that in our business, FIT and TEAMWORK are more important than anything else. Having employees who can communicate well, understand each other and work well together is the only way to operate successfully.

We don't all have to be best friends. We don't have to all go out together. We just need to get along, work well together and be able to communicate, challenge each other... and have each other’s back!

As we hire more people and grow our company, this FIT and TEAMWORK will be mission critical to our continued success.

Metzgers: Building a company where the best people wish to come to work each day, and the best customers wish to do business!

One more political statement...

Image of a US Bills.

The government isn’t going to turn around the economy. Hard-working people with innovative and personal service are going to get people spending money, and as people spend money they will wake up with confidence in their job, their lives, and their ability to make more money and spend more money.

The economy is coming back; it might take a while, but it begins with confidence. At Metzgers, we’re building confidence within our employees’ lives and our suppliers’ lives. We’re seeing our innovation, technology and service investments make a continuous positive impact on customer confidence. And we like what we see!

Let’s grow in 2012!

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