Steve May, CFI, retired CEO and president of LP Innovations (DTT), has been recognized by LPM for excellence in partnerships.
“I started my loss prevention career working for my father’s small family loss prevention security business,” said May. “This was a great learning experience, providing an opportunity to work in a variety of retail, wholesale, distribution, and manufacturing environments. I learned very quickly that as a service provider, customers could be very demanding-but also very fair.”
In 1988, May moved to J. Baker, which he considers the most important move in terms of personal and professional growth. Spending ten years with the company, he climbed the career ladder to eventually become first senior vice president. In 1998, he became a president and CEO at LP Innovations (LPI). After running LPI for over twenty years, he offers some advice for up-and-coming solution providers.
“Never assume,” he said. “Solution providers must actively engage with customers on the value of our service, whether or not we’re meeting expectations, and what we can do to help exceed expectations. Always ask how you’re doing, provide customers different ways to comment on their experiences, and act quickly on their recommendations. Most customers genuinely appreciate efforts to raise the bar. You have to believe that the services provided will help them become a better, more profitable business. Rather than simply trying to sell a product, focus on being a genuine partner. Execute, act on their behalf, and become a vital part of their success.
“Being a vendor is not a dirty word. You need to believe in your bones that what you’re providing is critical to your customer’s success. It’s your obligation to become a vital part of your customer’s team. You need to be engaged with your customers, recognized as a trusted advisor, a source of information, a problem solver, a professional colleague, and most importantly, a friend.”