Where's Your Value in Our Value Proposition?Written By: Les L. Bebchick
Article Date: 09-03-2007
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
AED has much to offer its members, regardless of their size or segment.
In the "Year of the Member," we have focused on recruitment of new members, retention of existing members, encouragement of and solicitation for member involvement, and lastly, drilling down into each member organization to ensure that each member company, from the owner/president on down, is taking advantage of our value proposition.
In my previous articles I have discussed recruitment, retention, and involvement. When I began to put together the pieces for an article about drilling down into a member company to make sure that more members from each company were taking advantage of AED's "value proposition," I was faced with a very crucial question: What are the values that mean the most to our members? Due to AED's current and growing diversity, the answer to this question is not simple, but this does not diminish its importance.
AED is made up of small, medium, large, and very large distributors. These distributors cover the gamut of segments from heavy construction and road building to sewer and utility, aggregate, aerials and cranes, excavating, general commercial and industrial applications, power and engines, specialty focused, maintenance, and so on. They are single line, multi-line, single branch, multi-branch, privately owned, partnership owned, etc. We have a growing number of smaller single- and multi-line members.
Couple all this with the different make-up of each member company and you see the difficulty in answering my original question: What do members value in the AED proposition? Fortunately, between the wisdom of our present and past Boards of Directors and our very competent staff in Oak Brook, we have been quite successful in developing a value proposition that comprises key value sets that are beneficial regardless of what segment you fall into. With each answer, I find myself with more questions: Are we focusing on areas of importance that vary from group to group? Are we addressing what is important to you?
There are things AED does that are more industry encompassing and sometimes viewed as intangibles. For example, AED spends considerable time and resources on our Washington office. The lobbying work that has been done there has been nothing short of phenomenal on a whole host of topics ranging from accounting and tax to compliance and legal concerns, all of which affect most members in some way. We are supporting candidates and maintaining close relationships with government officials who are closely aligned to the same issues we are.
AED has taken a leading role in Washington on the Highway Bill reauthorizations and similar initiatives. The AED Washington office is your watchdog!
Then there are some real "meat and potato items" that AED brings to the table such as:
As hard as it is to stimulate membership involvement, it is even more difficult to get members to volunteer their thoughts, ideas, and suggestions for what is important to them and their company. The more information we have, the more precise we can be in our offerings. If you are a distributor or are in the world of construction equipment distribution in some capacity, there is something meaningful for you at AED.
- The AED Foundation's Workforce Development program, a model for other associations that has made huge strides. And more and more dealers are reaping the rewards from this program.
- A vast array of educational seminars, courses, training and certifications from the Foundation's AED University
- Our various printed products including reports such as CODB, Employee Compensation, Product Support Handbooks, Dealer Protection Laws
- Huge networking opportunities via our Annual Meeting, the Executive Forum, Industry Round Table and Future Leaders programs
- Plus, provocative and meaningful information from CED magazine
- AED Authorized promotion
- And the list goes on.
Happily, and hopefully due to our retention initiatives, separations (terminated memberships) in total are down over the last several quarters, but more important, they are way down in the category of "could not establish value." I am proud to say that your Board of Directors spends hours debating and discussing what new values, initiatives and products we need, what new focuses our resource agenda should address, and how we should best communicate our value proposition to each segment of our membership. In other words, how can we be more meaningful to you and your business daily?!
AED is growing and changing every day. You can be certain that the association is working on your behalf, and we will reach our true potential and maximize our effectiveness because of you! Never has it been more imperative to speak your mind, ask questions of your own and tell us what is important to you and your business. I am available via cell phone or e-mail 24/7. The future of AED is bright - make sure you are a part of it.
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