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Guest column: Inadequate software can ruin your flooring business

March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20

By Kelly Oechslin

 

In today’s fast-paced business environment, data is increasingly complex and harder to manage. Without integration geared to the way you do business, no amount of staff meetings, afternoon appointments with the CPA or physical inventory counts will tell you the nitty gritty details of exactly what is going on in your business, and certainly not in a timely fashion.

Data is arriving from more sources, in greater quantity and more quickly than ever before. This makes speed incredibly important to flooring firms managing and using their data. That’s why a flooring-specific, fully integrated software system is needed. A lack of the right technology will put you well behind the competition, not to mention keep you spinning your wheels just getting through day-to-day business operations.

Selecting generic software will create immediate and long-term issues because it is not capable of providing the type of data needed to support the needs of flooring companies. No matter how easy to use a particular software is or claims to be, it must be relevant to operations and automate every aspect of your business. Alternately, investing a few hundred thousand dollars trying to retrofit a system to the way a flooring business works is a waste of time, money and resources, and ultimately unnecessary with the choices on the market today—RollMaster Software being chief among them.

“I’m going on 20 years with RollMaster,” said Tina Dias, owner, Advanced Flooring, Rancho Cordova, Calif. “I don’t see how I could really know my business or trust the accuracy of reports without RollMaster.”

Another costly mistake: Not integrating your accounting with the rest of your business. This leaves you with an incomplete picture of your overall operations. You’ll also have less control of your critical processes, such as inventory valuation, transfers between branches, purchasing and receiving, cost analysis, sales commissions and more. Why not have all that information at your fingertips?

Dean Culp, owner, Carpet Barn, Spokane, Wash., currently uses industry-specific software. “We’ve had a lot of success over the last five years with RollMaster. We’ve increased sales and we’ve grown our business. A good portion of that has to do with RollMaster making us more flexible in the way we write and account for business.”

A third consideration is how a flooring software company carries out implementation of the software. Employee training is essential, and on-site training produces the best “go-live” results, not to mention helping to effectively transition to post-implementation support.

Off-site training is not the best way to start using a new system, as it limits discussion of your specific business processes. You benefit most when your implementation is effective and the software vendor becomes a partner.

Lastly, the better flooring software vendors are continuously developing new and better ways for you to run your business. Your software should utilize Application Program Interface (API) endpoints that are designed to create analytics for you to quickly analyze real-time data and integrate your data with other marketing and business development apps. These tools and integrations must continually evolve so owners and managers can detect patterns, automate decisions and generate job-related communications.

If you truly wish to run your business, and not let it run you, make the time to research the best flooring software fit for you.

 

Kelly Oechslin, a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in marketing, has spent her entire professional career in the flooring industry. Her early employers were Floor Coverings International and Carpax Associates; however, the majority of her efforts and achievements in the industry have been with RollMaster Software.

 

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Guest column: Your next business opportunity awaits

February 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 18

By Lisa Niswonger

 

(Disclaimer: This is not an offer to sell a ProSource Wholesale franchise, but is for informational purposes only. No offer to sell can be made in any state that first requires registration or notice as provided by applicable law until compliance with such applicable law occurs.)

ProSource Wholesale redefined the flooring industry 28 years ago with the development of a business model focused entirely on supporting the needs of the home improvement trade professional. Today, 404,091 trade pro members trust ProSource with their clients’ projects from flooring to complete kitchen and bath remodels.

ProSource Wholesale has taken this same commitment and continues to develop ways to maximize the earnings potential of their 145 showrooms. “As a ProSource franchisee of six showrooms, I am in business for myself, but not by myself,” said David Fuerst. “ProSource understands what trade pros need and how our showrooms need to serve them. ProSource also discovered new growth categories beyond flooring such as kitchen and bath, and my showrooms have experienced huge sales increases.”

The ProSource business opportunity is designed specifically for entrepreneurs and investors looking to tap into the growing home improvement industry. ProSource franchise owner Tom Brewer and his family started out as a Carpet One Floor and Home owner, a sister brand to ProSource Wholesale. When they saw the success of the ProSource franchise model, they decided to expand their business portfolio. Today they own six ProSource showrooms as well as multiple Carpet One retail locations.

The Brewers opened their first ProSource showroom in 1997. One of the key aspects to their overall company success is the fact they were able to experience growth within the home improvement industry. “We were able to expand beyond retail and work within the commercial and wholesale business,” Brewer stated.  “Also, since we already had a good footprint of Carpet One retail stores, starting the ProSource brand and its members-only type of showroom allowed us to be the first to market in our area.”

With average showrooms sales at $5.3 million per year, ProSource continues expansion with eight new showrooms opening this year. ProSource, which doesn’t offer installation services or have accounts receivable issues, is built to save franchisees time and money. For those who choose to become a franchise owner, ProSource is there to provide a host of services, including support in opening stores, specialized staff training, results-oriented marketing and industry-leading products and merchandising.

To learn more and receive a free market analysis, visit franchise.prosourcewhole.com/free-market-analysis or call 844.729.4861.

 

Lisa Niswonger (Baker) is director of marketing programs for CCA Global Partners, which operates ProSource Wholesale. She has more than 24 years experience in marketing and advertising, including positions with franchises and buying groups. 

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Guest column: Attend markets, make some ‘dough’

November 12/19, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 11 

By Lori Kisner

 

The economy is booming, new home starts are strong and consumers are investing in home renovations—all great news for the industry. Why is it, then, that retailers are still feeling the pinch? More importantly, how can they grow their businesses and bottom line?

Flooring stores aren’t impervious to the issues that occur in other specialty retail industries. Let’s face it—specialty retail is a competitive business with increased competition from big box stores, other retailers in the area and the Internet—not to mention emerging issues such as tariffs on some imports.

The business of flooring can be tricky. That said, it’s now more critical than ever for retailers to attend events to find solutions that will result in higher profits. Regional trade shows and conferences such as the Flooring Markets in Atlanta, Dallas and Biloxi, Miss., feature exhibitors that offer opportunities for retailers to increase their bottom line.

“Attending markets and other trade shows is so beneficial to our company and sales force,” said Denise Heath, partner with Heath Flooring Concepts in Dallas, Ga. “We see new products and market direction, which allows us to invest in ways that will be profitable in the short and long term. By attending, we see the design trends for our geographical region as well as on the national level, and we use that to guide our clients in making smart selections.”

For dealers like Heath, these shows also provide networking opportunities with other industry professionals. “This helps us gain further knowledge we can use to separate us from the competition,” she added. “Plus, many vendors also offer special market pricing, which provides us with substantial savings.”

Everybody wins
Exhibitors at the upcoming flooring markets in Atlanta, Dallas and Biloxi, Miss., have an arsenal of special incentives that are offered only to retailers who attend.

“We use the Southeast Flooring Market to showcase our 2019 product introductions and new merchandising programs,” said Matt Wadsworth, general manager at NGF Distributors. “We also spend time collaborating with retailers on ways to help improve business through education. Many of our vendor partners are in our booth and meet with our customers to discuss product and job-site solutions. All of this helps our customers’ bottom line by keeping up to date with what’s occurring with product development in flooring.”

Following are some of the primary reasons to attend regional markets:

  • Access to market specials and discount programs
  • Opportunities to compare and evaluate vendors
  • Birds-eye view of product design trends
  • Ability to learn the latest innovations
  • Networking opportunities with other retailers to share best practices and valuable, cost-saving strategies
  • Source closeout products and pre-tariff goods

The 2019 Market Maker events are as follows:

  • Southeast Flooring Market, Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta, Jan. 8-9
  • Southwest Flooring Market, Toyota Music Factory, Irving, Texas, Jan. 9-10
  • Mississippi Coast Flooring Market, MS Coast Convention Center, Biloxi, Miss., Feb. 14-15

For more information, visit, flooringmarkets.com.

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Guest column: A comprehensive guide to managing your leads

October 15/22, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 9

By Jason Goldberg

 

What is more important to your business—lead generation or lead management? The answer: They are both equally important and, when used correctly, they build upon each other.

A lead is typically coming to you one of three ways (what I call the lead source): digitally—most commonly through your website forms; walking right into your store; and calling your store.

What caused this lead to come to you for questions or services is lead generation. I break lead generation down into four key elements:

Creative. This is the messaging and the visuals.

Delivery. This is how the prospect heard about you for questions or services based partially on how you chose to deliver the message.

Promotions type. This is the extra push giving the prospect typically a financial reason to select you for questions or services.

Spend. This is how much you choose to invest in generating leads.

It’s the combination of all four that help shape the circumstances that drive a consumer to select your company for questions or services—lead generation. Much of this information can be tracked automatically for digital leads. However, this is not automatic data for your phone call leads and your walk-in leads.

So how do you tie all this information together while doing what is most important—making sales? You use a lead management/customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Lead management, at its core, is the process by which you manage the leads trying to convert them to a sale. CRM software, which allows you to manage the relationship with the customer, includes things such as continuous remarketing, analytics review and, of course, lead management.

Going back to lead generation, let’s assume the following:

  • You spend $10,000 per month on lead generation
  • You deliver the creative via Facebook, paid search, TV and radio
  • You have a promotion within the creative for some sort of sale

How do you know how many leads were generated based on the above? How are you tracking it? Just because you spent money on digital content does not necessarily mean the lead came to you through a website form. Perhaps the prospect picked up the phone and called you or stopped by your location.

By that same token, just because you spent money on traditional content does not necessarily mean the lead came to you through a walk-in or phone call. Perhaps she just went to your website and filled out a form. (Bear in mind the prospect most likely heard about you through multiple sources.) Maybe she saw your TV commercial and was served an ad on Facebook. Maybe the prospect asked her good friend who she used when she purchased new flooring to rate her experience.

If she did an internet search for flooring dealers in her area—and you along with five others popped up on page one of the results—why would she click on your site? Do you have any name recognition from perhaps the traditional and digital content you have run over the years? Are you showing strong ratings from consumers who left reviews? Everything being equal, when I look at the results on page one I typically click the company I recognize with the strongest review rating.

Two of the main functions of lead management/CRM systems are determining how many leads were generated and how to track those leads. This includes all leads, not just the digital ones but the walk-ins and phone calls as well. This gives you the best data and best results to work with.

How many of those leads did you close? Were you able to monitor those leads through the sales pipeline so nothing slipped through the cracks? Were you notified when tasks were to be done and if they went past due? Again, this should be done with all your leads and not just your website leads. Managing all your leads through the sales process and being able to monitor that process is, in my opinion, the single most important aspect of lead management. Aside from maximizing closing opportunities this data provides training opportunities for you and your staff.

Of all the leads that your company’s salespeople are handling, how many of them actually are tracked in a lead management software? Why isn’t it all of them? The old excuse, “I cannot get my people to change or use modern technology,” is nonsense. The world is changing. People are naturally resistant to change, and it takes a driver and a teacher to help them overcome that fear.

For the leads that do get entered into your lead management/CRM system, whether automatically or manually, how many of them have the lead source, the “how heard” and the promotion information in them? How many have the products interested in and products sold data if applicable? Do you and your sales team understand the value of this data and how it can help you generate more leads?

Learning from experience
At one time, I was at the point where many retailers are today. I spent lots of money to generate leads for my retail business without having any method to manage them. Like most of you, I had no idea what my salespeople were handling, the source of those leads, how those leads heard about us, how many of those leads we were closing and so on. If I wanted to know what a salesperson was handling it involved digging through their desk or calling them in for a meeting. When a lead did come through the website it was simply forwarded to a salesperson and then virtually forgotten about. That is no way to run a business.

Things changed when I decided I grew tired of not knowing. I searched for the perfect lead management/CRM software for the flooring industry. When my search found no software that I felt was suitable for my company, I hired a technology firm and built one to my specifications. It worked so well for my flooring company that I spun it off into its own business, and Retail Lead Management was born. The flooring industry finally had a legitimate solution for lead management/CRM that is simple to learn and use as well as being cost effective.

We are moving toward the end of three years on the system and are up another 32% in retail sales this year with the same number of locations and a reduction in yearly marketing spend. (By the way, we were up over 30% in our retail division the previous two years as well.) What has been the difference over these last three years? It’s been the lead management/CRM system, Retail Lead Management, we implemented and made everyone use. Making them all understand the value of making more sales, monitoring the sales process, using the data to improve our marketing mix and countless other training and decision-making opportunities it has provided.

Here’s some valuable advice: Before you embark on lead generation, invest a little time and money into lead management first. If you are not currently using a lead management software, it will be the best money you have spent on your retail business in a long time. But be prepared to learn how to use it and then get your staff to use it as well. From there watch your sales grow and understand lead by lead why it is happening. Then use this data to improve your sales team and sales process while strengthening your lead generation process and results.

 

Jason Goldberg is the CEO of America's Floor Source and Retail Lead Management. a CRM software system designed specifically for the flooring industry. The company has sold more than 2,000 user licenses to flooring retailers in North America.

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Guest column: Why going ‘mobile’ in your flooring business makes sense

March 5/12, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 19

By Kurt Wilson

 

With the explosion of mobile devices in the last few years, many new software programs and apps have come on the market that are designed to be used by flooring professionals. That begs the question: Why should you get onboard the mobile train?

Answer: Mobility enables your sales, estimating and installation team members to be more productive. For example, sales professionals can use their cell phone or tablet to look up product pricing and availability from the showroom floor and even give their clients a proposal document before she leaves the showroom floor. Using a mobile application, sales professionals can create a quote with product quantities after they have used the app to draw the floor plan and estimate these quantities.

If your business employs dedicated estimators, they can use mobile applications to receive project assignments from the sales staff or management, then send the estimated project back to the salesperson within a work period. Consider the Measure Mobile and Mobile Order Entry programs from RFMS, for example. Tim Blanchard, district manager, Design Source Flooring, Lenexa, Kan., can attest. “Measure Mobile and Mobile Order Entry have significantly empowered our sales team to independently and professionally close sales calls without relying on office staff or after-hours legwork. We have also seen a substantial increase of greater accuracy in regard to floorplan layouts, providing an increased cost savings on material and labor charges to our clients.”

Blanchard is not alone. Andy Coomer, account manager at ProSource, Nashville, is also a believer. “After using Mobile Order Entry for several months, I am 100% on board. In my opinion, this is the best thing to come along since I have been at ProSource. I’m able to hand my customers a written estimate and email them a copy before they leave the showroom floor. I’m even able to check inventory on the showroom floor. That’s efficiency.”

As technology improves, the costs of deployment have significantly gone down. This means flooring dealers no longer need to pay large sums to purchase hardware and software. Today’s mobile devices are affordable, and many apps either have free versions or can be used on a cost-effective subscription basis.

Must-have tools
When deciding on what software or apps you use, consider the way the apps work together with your main business management system. This is important to prevent duplicate entries. Check to see if the software has features that allow remote access to your main database, real-time inventory checking, payment acceptance and posting, along with attachment of signed documents. In addition, the software should sync to your main database back at the office.

Mobile apps should also have the ability to use cell phone camera technologies to improve the way orders and quotes are created. For instance, many dealers use the camera feature to put together a project in the software and take photos of the product to attach to the quote to give to the customer. The warehouse can also use the attached photos to immediately confirm the receipt of the correct product when it arrives.

Bottom line: In today’s competitive business environment, it is vital that we take advantage of technology and use it to make us more professional and profitable. Mobile devices are here to stay. With our economy and business sector enjoying a very healthy and busy climate, it is critical that your business can keep up. By utilizing time-saving devices and apps, you can improve your profits and keep your staff current with their technology skills.

 

Kurt Wilson is the apps product manager for Measure by RFMS. His role entails working with RFMS’ mobile applications and their integration with the RFMS Business Management System. He can be reached at kwilson@rfms.com.

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Guest column: Managing a workforce across generations

January 22/29, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 6

By Matt Beaudreau

 

Many businesses today—including the flooring industry—have as many as five generations working together. That’s a phenomenon unprecedented in the history of the U.S. workforce. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge as businesses look for ways to improve communication and work processes across generational lines.

The first thing an owner needs to do is acknowledge there are fundamental differences in the way people learn, work and interact—something we think about in our heads but don’t always verbalize. Every generation has factors, whether it’s social, political, economic, etc., that shape or define who they are. It’s important to remember that generations don’t always fit into a box just because you were born into a certain age bracket. But there are clues and insights into behaviors we can glean from our experience in working with different generations.

Managing a multi-generation workforce begins with a paradigm shift. Owners who come from an older generation often feel their way of doing things is the “right way” and that all others are off base. That’s no longer acceptable. Managers have to understand that people see the world through different lenses. Instead of looking at those perceived differences as being a hinderance, I would suggest that owners shift their thinking to acknowledge all the strengths they have on their team. Once you embrace that mindset, you can begin to have open dialogues within your ranks and among your employees.

Second, business owners need to understand that different people respond differently when it comes to criticism, praise and so forth. Following my presentations to various groups I often get the questions: “What’s the best way for business owners to manage different age groups? Or is a certain amount of friction good for a multi-generational workforce?”

When we use the term friction, we automatically assume it means there’s going to be some problem. Or you can look at these situations as being beneficial, i.e., we’re a collection of individuals working toward the same goal. The key is honoring the individuality of the employee. It’s no longer acceptable to say, “Look, this is how we do it here; you’re essentially all robots, etc.” It’s about managing everyone differently but equally, but at the same time realizing that equal does not mean the same. For example, for some people to have a good work environment they need constant feedback and reassurance, and they need someone to check on them on a daily basis.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have people who basically want to be left alone. This is the group that says, “If you’re checking on me too frequently then I’m doing something wrong.” That’s how the older generation feels. But if you’re part of the younger generation, you feel you’re doing something wrong if the boss is not talking to you frequently.

But there’s also unhealthy conflict. In my business, I tell my people if you can’t get along with others on the staff then you have to go. Harmony in an organization only occurs when people are allowed to be themselves, when they’re working together toward the same goals and are allowed to have open communications about what’s working vs. what’s not working.

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Guest column: Is millennial marketing overrated today?

January 8/15, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 15

By Matt Beaudreau

 

The big question on the minds of many businesses today, whether you’re selling laminate flooring or Lamborghinis, is how do we reach this group that everyone is talking about—the millennials? For the purposes of this conversation, we define millennials as follows: those born between 1977 and 1995.

The long and short answer is retailers first need to look beyond the “category” of potential buyers—although millennials are emerging as a key demographic with increasing buying power. A recent Forbes article stated millennials in the U.S. alone spent $200 billion last year. By 2018, they will have the most spending power of any generation. Furthermore, the article stated social media is playing a huge role with 62% of millennials acknowledging that if a brand engages with them through various networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer.

Beyond just targeting millennials, retailers also need to change the way consumers in general are researching and shopping today. I’m a firm believer that technology has changed the science of retailing today, which means successful retail salespeople must adapt accordingly.

This is especially important when you’re talking about multi-generational businesses. The older generation says, “This is how we do it. The family does it this way, the business looks like this.” There’s so much of that mentality out there, but that doesn’t work anymore. Ten or 11 years ago, Facebook did not exist; YouTube did not exist. When you think about the cultural impact of those platforms alone, it’s astounding. The reality is more has changed in the last 10 years in retail than the previous 50 years.

Looking back over the years, retailers went from making sure they had a functional website to updating that site with content more frequently. That was followed by blogging. But in today’s world that’s still not enough to deliver customers to your doorstep on a daily basis. To be successful, retailers need to be targeting customers on various platforms with new tools such as video, podcasts, etc. The only way to survive is to adapt and never get too nostalgic or romantic about any specific way of doing business. You have to become a practitioner of what is working right now. For example, if your goal is to incorporate Facebook ads but nobody on your staff uses Facebook in that way, good luck with that approach. Same with Instagram. If you’re targeting people age 45 or under—and we’re finding a lot of people buying homes are falling in that age range—Instagram is where they are. But like Facebook, you better have someone on your staff who uses Instagram to understand how it works.

Salespeople will always require the knowledge of connecting with people on a one-on-one basis. While that’s still true, it’s more important to the growth of the industry to be getting the attention of the end consumer in the first place. In other words, where are their eyeballs? Right now social media has a greater impact with the consumer than a billboard or a traditional TV commercial.

 

Matt Beaudreau is a certified keynote speaker at The Center for Generational Kinetics, headquartered in Austin, Texas. He is a millennial who has a reputation as a thought leader amongst his generation.

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Guest column: Retailers, are you ready to service the shopper of the future?

November 6/13, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 11

By Wes Dillingham

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.24.38 AMI recently learned about a company called Enjoy, a 100% online reseller of consumer electronic products such as Apple TV, GoPro, etc. I know what you are thinking: another Amazon, right? The difference is Enjoy—which currently operates in New York and San Francisco—takes online retailing to the next level. When you buy a product from the company, they have someone deliver it in person, set it up for you (if necessary) and teach you how to use it. All this for the same price as buying the product on Amazon or at Best Buy.

Love it or hate it, this is a glimpse into the future of retail. Now, don’t stop reading because you think you aren’t ready. That’s OK—no one is entirely prepared for the future. But while no one can say with any certainty what the future will bring, there are things we can do to prepare and plan for the future.

Here is what we know about the future for sure: First, the population is changing; therefore, the way people shop and buy is changing. In illustration: millennials (those born between 1980-2000) will soon account for 30% of consumer spending. In recent months, millennials became the largest generation in the U.S., surpassing Baby Boomers and becoming a major force on the future of our economy.

Second, technology is changing the way consumers shop and buy as well as how businesses operate. This means having more mobile-friendly websites and a strong social media presence.

As a retailer you need to ask: Does my business accommodate for the technology expectations, shopping behaviors and communication needs of millennials? If not, it’s time to retool and learn more about this powerful demographic and how they will change the future of retail.

Following are some trends you can count on to change your business in the future followed by advice on how to “future proof” your business.

Adopt an omnichannel strategy. In essence this means combining all of the shopping channels your customers use into one integrated experience. For example, if they shop on your website they may want to buy online and pick up at the store. Or they may decide to research online, come into the store to purchase and then have the product shipped to their house. This means your online, mobile and in-store experience must be seamless for the consumer.

Data is king. Thanks to the Internet and the cloud there are numerous technologies capturing real-time, consumer and business data. Lucky for you, this information is more and more accessible to small businesses. More important, this information can assist small- to medium-sized businesses in making educated, real-time, strategic decisions the same way large companies have been doing for years. It used to be you had to buy this information from large research companies, but now you can get information from Google Analytics and other software programs right inside your store.

These programs capture valuable data to help you evaluate your business. A good customer relationship management system (CRM) will capture and provide valuable business data. This will allow you to monitor your business from anywhere and make key business decisions. Those who capitalize on this data have the ability to adjust to market conditions quicker than their competitors.

I suggest spending an hour or two each week Googling trends and learning about different business resources. This research will uncover key trends that will keep you in the know in terms of what is coming and give you ideas on a few things to implement into your business. Lastly, reach out to cutting-edge operations and leaders you admire, not only in your industry but in other sectors.

 

Wes Dillingham is vice president of customer success at Stock Systems a Cincinnati-based CRM startup. He writes frequently on matters related to online marketing and retailing.

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Guest column: The golden rule of software implementation

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

By Wes Dillingham

 

(First of two parts)

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when buying and implementing software is not approaching it as change first. It’s important to keep in mind that any software you plan to implement at your company is likely to present a major change to the day-to-day routine of your employees.

In other words, if you are implementing any type of software or any other type of change to your company, you need to first recognize it for what it is—not just new software or a new process but a new way of thinking and working.

When you are changing up the routine of your employees and asking them to implement any change that includes but is not limited to a new software program, you are likely going to experience resistance and you can expect your most tenured employees to fight the hardest, even though this may seem counterintuitive. They will also have the most ammunition in their arsenal. All of their experience and history with the company will likely be used to defend their position, especially if they have a proven track record of getting successful results.

According to Nikolay Bulava of Customer Think, the top reasons cited for resisting a CRM software implementation are:

  1. Fear of change
  2. Fear of visibility into one’s daily work
  3. Inconvenience of use

The following is a very simple and logical way to approach change within your organization. There are numerous change management concepts and processes you can Google to learn more, but I have found the “Switch” methodology to be a very simple concept to grasp. This concept comes from Dan and Chip Heath’s New York Times bestseller of the same name. In the book, the authors describe the problem their method helps to solve in the following excerpt: “For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your team…each has an emotional ‘elephant’ side and a rational ‘rider’ side. You’ve got to reach both, and you’ve also got to clear the way or the path for them to succeed. In short, you must do three things to impart the change you want:

  1. Direct the rider — appeal to the logical side.
  2. Motivate the elephant — the emotional side.
  3. Clear the path — the environment around them.”

Jonathan Haidt, a University of Virginia professor who originally proposed the analogy of the rider, elephant and the path in his book, “The Happiness Hypothesis,” describes it this way, “Our emotional side is an elephant and our rational side is its rider. Perched atop the elephant, the rider holds the reins and seems to be the leader. But the rider’s control is precarious because he is so small relative to the elephant. Anytime the six-ton elephant and the rider disagree about which direction to go, the rider is going to lose. He’s completely overmatched.”

In the next installment, I will delve a little deeper into the rider, elephant and path concepts. But in the interim, remember this: The successful adoption of a new software program is 80% preparation and 20% implementation—that’s the golden rule. If you do the pre-work, the actual software itself should be a relatively minor step in the process.

 

Wes Dillingham is vice president of customer success at The Lead Tool, a Cincinnati-based CRM start-up. You can connect with him directly on LinkedIn or via facebook.com/theleadtool

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Guest column: Flooring plays critical role in today’s training facilities

June 5/12, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 26

By Garnet Sofillas

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 11.28.33 AMToday’s health clubs look drastically different from the traditional gym of 30 years ago. In the 1980s through the early 2000s, mainstream clubs had it all: selectorized machines, cardio equipment, aerobics, group X, massage and tanning. Nowadays, functional training is the focus and many traditional gyms are eliminating equipment to create dedicated, functional training spaces.

“The focus is now on strength and conditioning—jumping, sprinting, throwing, crawling—things you would find in a collegiate or professional strength and conditioning program,” said Jim Launer, managing director of athletic operations at Spooky Nook Sports, Manheim, Pa. Opened in 2012, the $25 million, 700,000-square-foot facility—billed as the largest sports complex in North America—is part of a 14-acre site that features eight hockey pitches, 10 full-length volleyball/basketball courts, a 200m indoor running track and 14 batting cages, among other amenities.

In the past, Launer said, fitness facilities were focused on fitness alone, and the emphasis was on machines and how many owners could cram into a space. Fast forward to the present day where modern fitness facilities focus on training the body for activities performed in daily life. Functional strength tools common in health clubs today include suspension training rigs, racks for squats and pull-ups, battling ropes, kettle bells, medicine balls, sand bags, plyometric boxes and sleds.

Naturally, flooring surfaces have become an integral part in the design of these modern exercise facilities. With a new focus on members using their bodies, surfaces are of paramount importance. To that end, facility/project managers and designers are seeking flooring products that satisfy several basic criteria: safety, comfort and ergonomics. All of these requirements must be taken into consideration when selecting a floor in order to protect members’ bodies, ensure they have an optimal experience and to keep neighbors content. These include those working out in classes in adjoining spaces or tenants situated below the exercise facility.

Of course, any flooring material selected for use in an exercise facility shared by thousands of people on a daily basis must be relatively easy to clean and maintain. “If you are truly going to train on a floor, the surface will need to be cleaned daily,” Launer said.

Durability was another requirement that’s high on the list for the Spooky Nook Sports facility, which not only features a functional weightlifting and training area, but also a turf field, sled lane, running track, infinity spa, three pickleball courts and an “American Ninja Warrior style” course. “The floor needs to be able to handle heavy weight drops, ropes, medicine ball slams and jumping…and still provide a surface that is comfortable.”

Lastly, the surface needs to be visually appealing and appropriate for the application. In Spooky Nook’s case, the sports flooring product it chose featured bold, blue colors as well as custom logos and pictures. “The right look and color help to motivate and train people,” Launer said. “Our customers expect us to provide them with the best surfaces possible.”

 

Garnet Sofillas is the communications and public relations manager for Centaur, which provides performance flooring solutions for commercial applications. With a background in journalism, she has both agency and corporate PR experience.