The below articles are full versions of the articles found in Connections, our weekly newsletter for all DPHA members. These articles contain member news, industry thoughts, sales tips, new member spotlights and lots of other great content.
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I recently bought my wife a shirt that said, “Marty, whatever happens, don’t ever go to 2020!” If you just read that line in Doc Brown’s voice, you’re forgiven. The last couple years have taught us all one valuable lesson. No matter how in control you feel, you’re not. Is that a bad thing though? As Dr. Randy Ross pointed out at our 2021 DPHA Conference, perspective is everything. Here’s the quote, “Perspective is the only thing in the world that can radically transform the results you get without altering a single element of your environment.” I love that! What has been your perspective of 2020 and 2021? Maybe it’s been scary, or stressful, or overwhelming, or sad, or any other number of crazy adjectives.
Changing someone’s mind is one of the most difficult tasks for showroom owners, sales professionals and designers. Everyone wants to convince others to see it their way. Showroom sales professionals and designers want to convince prospects that their showroom and skill set is the perfect combination for their new dream kitchen or bath. Manufacturers often want to convince showroom owners to change their lines and select their product and services. Small children want to change their parents’ minds so they can eat more sweets or watch more television. In politics, one side always wants to convince the other side that their position is the right one.
Our world is spinning with controversy, Covid will not die, business is terrific and our customers are always asking for just a bit more. This consistent intensity is affecting us both in business and at home. We are all tired. It is a good tired, but we are tired nonetheless. And this fatigue might affect us and our team going into the final quarter of the 2021. What’s a growing business to do?
Historically, significant economic changes have been followed by the emergence of new design trends. Following the Great Depression, design favored bright, bold colors, sexier silhouettes and fun elements. Coming out of the 2007-2009 financial crises, we saw the advent of ruffled miniskirts, low-rise jeans, and rhinestones seemingly everywhere.
Earlier this year, Ikea decided that it is no longer going to publish its iconic catalog after 70 years of success. Why? The company claims that shuttering its catalog aligns with its new vision to become more digital and transformative. Who is to argue with success? In 2020, IKEA’s online retail sales increased 45%. Plus, not producing a catalog that takes a year to compile and print and distribute 200 million copies in 50 market and 32 different languages is going to save a boatload of cash.
Business is great, YEAH! Delivery times are awful, UGH! The slow-moving elephant in the decorative world is that our supply lines for vendors are fractured, causing deliveries to showrooms and their clients to be painfully sluggish with no end in sight. There are a lot of frustrated vendors, showrooms, tradespeople and homeowners who had planned to complete their projects by the holidays. Some will write, voice and post those frustrations, so let’s prepare as best we can.
It had been 453 days; 1 year, 2 months and 28 days since my last work trip before COVID shut down the world. Oddly enough, my last trip was to Salt Lake City, UT where I would now be heading back to. And man was I excited! For many of us traveling sales managers, we thrive on the energy from interacting with our customers, many of whom have become friends. We love the challenge of a sales call with a new customer who isn’t a believer in your product/category or sells a competitive brand.
While I was participating in a round table recently, a discussion came up about competition within markets with multiple showrooms and how they are dealing with it. My thoughts went to a concept I developed some time ago when thinking about major markets and how a concentration of showrooms compete in those markets. Many dealers believe that the fewer showrooms there are in a given area, the better for our margins and partnerships with our vendors. In the past 25 years, that belief has been stood on its head.
The pandemic has become a part of our everyday lives in 2021. Stores, arenas, and restaurants are open and have adapted to serve as many as they can. People are traveling, and luxury homes are being built and remodeled at record rates. This is a special time to be alive and we can profit from this in the decorative plumbing and hardware industry!
A homeowner accustomed to buying top-of-the-line products walks into a showroom accompanied by a nationally recognized designer. For many showrooms, these are dream clients in terms of purchasing power, but can also be extremely difficult because they are used to getting exactly what they want. That’s why the showroom owner often insists that they meet with the showroom’s top DPH salespeople. This professional knows the decorative plumbing and hardware world as well as any and has worked on some of the finest homes and designers in the market. The three players in this scenario are at the top of their games and they know it. Who takes the lead and why?