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David Romano sells Benchmarkinc Recruiting

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 11.05.45 AMWichita, Kan.—Earlier this year, Bradley Cotlar, former vice president and CFO of Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet of America franchise group, and his wife, Jennifer, acquired Benchmarkinc Recruiting, the recruiting division of Benchmarkinc Consulting, from David Romano, founder and well-known consultant, trainer and author. The division is one of the leading job recruiting firms in the flooring, disaster restoration, window coverings, home furnishings, electronics and home improvement industries.

“David Romano and Benchmarkinc have a strong reputation and are the leaders in recruiting, consulting and training in the industries they have serviced,” Cotlar, owner and chief matchmaker, said. “Their proven practice and systems made it an easy decision to pursue this opportunity.”

With this acquisition, Cotlar will be able to leverage the company and systems Romano created and continue on his legacy of providing clients exceptional, hassle-free service by quickly finding and placing top-notch candidates into their companies.

“We were adamant our successor understood exceeding client expectations was as important as profitability,” Romano said. “We considered many proposals and believed Brad to be the most capable of carrying on our legacy, because his ethics are impeccable and he understands the industries that we serve. We are grateful to all of those who have allowed us to be part of their companies and feel supremely confident the new version of Benchmarkinc Recruiting is poised for even greater success.”

Since the acquisition, the office in Raleigh, N.C., has been moved to Wichita, Kan. The Benchmarkinc Recruiting name will remain.

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Dear David: Creating an exceptional customer experience

November 21/28, 2016: Volume 31, Number 12

By David Romano

Dear David:

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.15.31 PMRecently I was talking to a fellow WFCA affiliate member who was a previous manager at Home Depot. She told me that during her training she was presented with a story about a customer who went into Home Depot to return a set of tires, although, obviously, they don’t sell tires. She went on to tell me that Home Depot took back the tires and provided store credit. Do you think this is true? If so, do you have some examples of what you have seen that has blown you away in your many visits to flooring companies?

Dear Enlightened Owner,

Although the HD story seems far-fetched, there must be some relative story that over time morphed into a set of tires being returned. Regardless of the accuracy, they are using this story to instill a sense amongst their trainees that superior customer service is the goal. Now, I don’t advocate that you allow the return of unused boxes of tile, a carton of unused hardwood or a half bag of grout. I do advocate that you create an experience that is both disarming and provides a lasting positive impression.

Here are some practices the consultants from my company, Benchmarkinc, teach our clients when it comes to creating an unforgettable customer experience:

  • (Disclaimer: If this suggestion violates your morals or ethics, please ignore.) Offer your customers a glass of wine or beer. Customers are guests to your store, just as friends who come over for dinner are guests in your home. Offering dinner guests a drink is customary, so why shouldn’t you do the same for your shopping guests? You will be amazed at how relaxed your customers become because your sales associate is now viewed as someone who cares and not just someone trying to sell a good or service.
  • Have fresh baked cookies available. Eating a delicious chocolate chip cookie is sure to bring back wonderful childhood memories that reduce the stress of making such a large purchase. In addition to the cookies, have some healthy alternatives like fruit or nuts.
  • Throw away your Keurig machine and replace it with a real cappuccino machine or a Nespresso unit. Additionally, have some hot tea, soft drinks, juice and bottled water.
  • Have a place for the men to chill as their wives spend a fortune on their new wood floors or their bathroom remodel. Provide comfy couches or chairs, a television showing continual highlights of the Dallas Cowboys or CNN and access to beverages and snacks.
  • Create a sanctuary for the kids. The best example I have ever seen is a store in California that had an arcade with ‘old school’ games like Centipede, Galaga and a few pinball machines. There is also a flooring company in Montana that has a separate room for the kiddos equipped with Xbox, cable TV and a chalk wall.
  • Provide lunch or dinner. If you schedule an in-store appointment with a customer at noon to close the deal feed your guest and watch how fast the ink flies out of the pen. If a mother is in the store at 6:30 p.m. with her 7-year-old daughter and you know it is going to take at least another hour to select product, have the receptionist order some pizza or sandwiches. It is amazing what $10 and a gesture of goodwill can do for your company.

These little things, coupled with great products and prices, are what separate the standard from the extraordinary. A small price of providing these amenities and attracting referral business is a lot less than what you spend on ads to draw customers.


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WFCA, Benchmarkinc team up on business insight survey

BOD_CircleGraphiCThingDalton—Having unfettered access to inside knowledge and financial information on specifically what sets you apart from your competition might sound like a pipe dream. However, through an arrangement with Benchmarkinc, the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) brings its members full and free access to the latest 2016 Benchmark Survey.

Now in its third year, the Benchmark Survey, with a new design and interface, will show users what differentiates the best performers in the flooring industry.

With hundreds of retailers at all levels participating in past surveys, the exclusive benchmarks revealed in this year’s report will gauge a dealer’s performance against the national average, top performers across the country, the best in your region, and market leaders in your segment—whether retail, commercial or builder. The report is only available through Aug. 22 and once the submission period closes the survey can no longer be accessed.

Registration and input for the survey can be found at

All shared information resides on a proprietary, exclusive server and no information other than the tallied results will be shared.

If you are not a WFCA member, survey participation costs $99. If you choose to join the WFCA, the survey participation fee will be waived and you will receive a $500 professional educational scholarship reimbursement.

Beginning Sept. 1 the complete Benchmark report will be available for download.