February 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 18
By Ken Ryan
Oxon Hill, Md.—Notwithstanding a 10-inch snowstorm that blanked the Washington, D.C., area and delayed travel plans for some, retail members of Flooring America/Flooring Canada arrived here for conneXtion basking in the warm glow of a successful 2018 and confident the good times would continue throughout 2019.
Flooring America/Flooring Canada dealers have good reason to be pleased—as business increased an average 9.7% for the group in 2018 while its Floor Trader cash-and-carry division increased 46%.
Keith Spano, president of Flooring America/Flooring Canada and Floor Trader, cited several reasons why unaffiliated floor covering retailers should sign up today. “We expose you to a lot of things. We will find real estate for you, we will negotiate a lease. Whether your need is marketing, advertising or succession planning, we have a team in place. We will help you customize your business plan, which is a goal in 2019. When you join our group, it actually makes you more independent.”
Spano declared 2019 “the year of the sales professional,” a CCA Global initiative that means an increased emphasis on helping RSAs be more successful. It’s all part of The Retail Sales Professional Network, or RSPN. Spano told audience members a good sales professional “makes all the difference in the world.”
Nicole Harding, vice president of CCA University, said the average flooring sale is about $2,500, and a full-time retail sales professional brings in about $650,000 in sales per year for the business. “If you train and track that sales professional, you can increase that sale to $3,000 and the average annual sale to $780,000.”
Mosaic Marketing Suite
ConneXtion is never at a loss for new marketing and merchandising programs. To keep better track of these programs, Flooring America launched the Mosaic Marketing Suite, which, according to Frank Chiera, senior vice president, marketing and advertising, “is a byproduct of all the programs we have done over the years. Whatever it is you need, we have you covered with this suite.”
In an effort to deliver more productivity, and ultimately sales, Flooring America announced its newest business initiative called Drive, a lead building, lead conversion and lead nurturing suite of bundled marketing services to include a cloud-based CRM, custom email marketing, marketing automation, social media, lead scoring and 360-degree reporting. “We think it will rock the industry from a lead-generation standpoint,” Chiera said.
Spano added the Drive platform will lead to improved close rates for dealers. Flooring America’s goal is to see the majority of stores adopt Drive by mid-year.
New members speak out
After eight years of mulling it over, Stephanie Landers, owner of Austin, Texas-based Landers Premier Flooring, finally made the decision to join Flooring America and is now glad she did. “We were approached eight years ago by Flooring America, but at the time we did not think [Flooring America] was in a position to make the move. With Keith and his team in place we took another look at it. We wanted the collective smarts this group offers. We have some backing when things go wrong instead of being a lone wolf out there.”
For Bob Molsick, owner of FloorMasters, Wildwood, Fla., there was a full year of “courtship” leading up to his decision to join the group, which culminated in the fall of 2018. “There are a few reasons I joined, starting with the training that is offered. There is not enough training in the industry. We’re a single store but we do $8 million in business. My biggest issue is claims. There are more defective products out there today than in the past, and now, with this group, we have a lot more clout when it comes to claims.”
Deborah Burrell, who runs Floorscapes in Albuquerque, N.M., with her husband, Bill, said the company’s future factored into her decision to join. “We are looking to retire, and the succession planning was of interest to us. The other thing is, there’s no ulterior motive here, no hidden agenda. The Flooring America team is very passionate about their business, and they want us to succeed.”