December '17

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42 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2017 T here used to be a local business in my area called Buddy's Carpet and, yep, he sold carpet and flooring. What he was known for was his adver- tising. Whether it was radio, TV or news- paper, his famous tagline he used to say was "Here at Buddy's Carpet we don't care about making money, we just loooooove to sell carpet." It always confused my young business mind as to why he would have a tagline like that, but assumed since his business was very successful that the ploy was working because he, no doubt, made a lot of money selling carpet. Years later I read an article where Buddy explained his tagline. He said that he truly did love to sell carpet, and that love out- ranked his desire to make money, there- fore his tagline was true. He added that he didn't care about the money part of it, because he knew the money would come if he pursued his first love, selling carpet. Do what you love and do your best at it, and you will be successful. FUN WITH NEW PRODUCTS I see a lot of this same philosophy in our industry. Shops, product manufacturers and distributors that focus more on the fun in the industry and enjoy what they do usually are the ones that are the most successful. However, that's not to say that our industry isn't, at times, cutthroat or, at the least, very competitive. Manufacturers continue to produce quality products that raise the bar and in many ways attract new buyers. In business we constantly ask questions, and here are a few I'll offer my opinion on today: • When a shop enters into an official (or semi-official) partnership to carry certain products, what should it expect from the manufacturer/supplier? • Also, what should the manufacturer/ supplier expect in return from the shop? • How often should shops re-evaluate relationships with companies and/or product lines, and how should those relationships evolve over time? • How do shops handle inquiries from their suppliers' competitors about switching brands? SEEKING SUPPORT When a shop brings on a new product, it is doing more than just introducing something to make money. Most shops are putting their reputation on the line when offering a new product. I know many shops, mine included, that are hesitant of being brand-specific because, long term, our customers do business with us because of who we are and not because of who we carry. We expect manufacturers/ suppliers to support us with tech infor- mation that we can give our installers, including a way to contact for tech support. We also ask for an updated, reliable application guide so that we can be sure to give accurate information. We would hope for good P.O.P. (point of purchase) or sell sheets, so that we can sell the product. Lastly, we ask that if any problems arise, they are resolved quickly and painlessly so we can both move forward. SUPPORT IN RETURN When a manufacturer/supplier offers a product that a shop is full-go on, then it should expect to see some results in the way of sales. If a shop is exclusive in a cer- tain area on a particular product and the sales volume is weak, good communica- tion is needed to let the shop know what is expected in the market to maintain its exclusivity. If the shop cannot meet or exceed those expectations, then the product should be opened up to other shops in the area. Again, good communication is the key! If there are issues with the product or distribution, then perhaps this is the reason 42 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2017 Think & Feel Think & Feel Do what you love and do your best at it, and you will be successful. Passion combined with smart decision-making keeps shops at the forefront. By Josh Poulson

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