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Moving on

by Warren Tyler

As a retailer, I focused on getting to know the leaders in flooring to learn as much as possible about the industry. Markets are the best venue for doing this. Most industry executives show up for these events. At one time there were several shows twice a year. Today there is but one giant market, Surfaces, which is not to be missed. In addition, there are dozens of regional markets, meetings and conventions that are important to attend.

One of the benefits of my exposure was whenever I entered a showroom or market space, I was afforded more attention from suppliers than my size as a retailer would indicate leading to better pricing, benefits and more especially, unfettered advertising money. Continue reading Moving on

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Contrarianism revisited

by Warren Tyler

I first wrote on this subject last November and then again in February and can’t stress enough the importance of the concept.

My contrarianism even ran to underlayment. I never wanted to carry what other dealers offered. Years ago, bubble rubber held sway, but it was loaded to one degree or another with clay that dried and crumbled. Then came rebond. It sold because it was cheap and actually felt good, but it was only as durable as the worst piece of foam scrap in the product. It also seemed much of the density relied upon the adhesive within. We settled on densified foam, which was produced with new materials and protected us from other stores copying because it was a more expensive product. Continue reading Contrarianism revisited

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Things you do to survive

CLARIFICATION:  The Salesmanship column that appeared in the April 30/May 7 issue of FCNews misstated comments made by an Armstrong representative during a presentation in 2011 titled “How to Compete Against Large Discount Retailers.” When referring to inferior products or materials that are not usable, the speaker was not targeting the Bellawood line from Lumber Liquidators. Rather, he was talking about some promotional items sold by large retailers as traffic drivers that can be made of B grade or off-good materials which could lead to higher-than-average defects in a box.

by Warren Tyler

Just as consumers are desperate to save money, retailers are desperate to sell.

The big boxes—Costco, Empire Today and Lumber liquidators—have a leg up as they already have a reputation as fearsome price cutters. One look at these stores or Empire’s TV ads only enhances the feeling these giants can undersell the floor covering specialty stores by up to 70%. Continue reading Things you do to survive

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Closing the first time in

by Warren Tyler

There are many ways to close a sale depending upon what it is you’re trying to get a commitment on. Because the big boxes are negligent in their training, they use a psychological ploy. They know, like some of us more knowledgeable people, once a shopper passes any amount of money in most cases, she will stop shopping.

This is the reason they charge to measure. It is a huge commitment to invite an unknown person into your home. This is why Empire is so successful because it gets this commitment. The average retail salesperson should be at least able to get a commitment to measure if the clerks at the boxes can do it—and charge for it. I’m not arguing this method isn’t effective especially if you haven’t learned to sell the first time in. Continue reading Closing the first time in

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Contrarian selling

by Warren Tyler

As a retailer, I was always a contrarian. That is, whatever other retailers were doing, I wanted no part of it.

I learned early on conventional wisdom is always wrong. For instance, conventional wisdom tries to dictate the smaller the room, the smaller the pattern that should be used in decorating—absurd.

Conventional wisdom dictates the use of beige in new homes and rentals. I would guarantee builders and property managers if they let my people select and use color in their properties these would be the first units to sell or rent. Continue reading Contrarian selling

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FCNews columnists at Surfaces

If you have not yet reviewed the 80-plus seminars, mini-sessions and workshops that comprise the Surfaces educational program, now is the time. Cosponsored by FCNews, the programs are divided among eight tracks focusing on today’s most relevant industry topics, including business, marketing and sales. Continue reading FCNews columnists at Surfaces

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Whew, what a year: 2011 most difficult ever

by Warren Tyler

The economy is the major factor in all of our lives and we thrash this around daily. We’re stuck with it for quite a while so to survive we must adapt. Last year, many specialty stores actually showed increases. But this year, the count of those operations seems to be way down.

I fight the same battle in my own business. Right now, when dealers need me most, the question many owners have is, “Do we bring Warren out for a day or do we pay the utility bill?” What I hear from flooring retailers is the lack of education available to deal with the economy, even through the groups. Retailers either get nothing or it’s the same ’ole same ’ole. The groups have to step up. Continue reading Whew, what a year: 2011 most difficult ever

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Hug your installer

by Warren Tyler

As much as I disdain the insincere hugs and vacuous kisses we experience in this vapid society of today, I feel a little real love would go a long way to improving business.

The fact is installers are the last people our customers see on any project. Therefore, in many instances, what customers think of our installers is the impression they are left with of our entire operation.

Many retailers combine a holiday dinner and party with company awards each year. Installers and crews are also included by progressive dealers. Owners often hire me to give an end-of-year rah-rah speech and sometimes to hand out the awards.

As an installer was given his award, I would ask why he was chosen and whether he was most technically proficient. The answer was usually a few were just as good, but he received better reviews. Why? “Because my customers liked him.” Continue reading Hug your installer