My daughter spent her second semester of her junior year attending the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Sydney has been on my bucket list for many years. We took my daughter's semester abroad as an opportunity to visit the great land down under. Sydney did not disappoint. The city, its sights, attractions and citizens are fantastic. During our trip, we experienced an extraordinary act of customer service.
A half marathon was slated for the Sunday we were scheduled to depart Sydney. The roads around our hotel would be closed until 5 p.m. Our flight from Sydney on the day of the race was scheduled to depart at 10:20 a.m.
Recently, someone made a plane reservation for me on American Airlines. The ticket was under the name of Tom Cohn. When I noticed this the day before I was scheduled to leave, I had a scary thought. I do not have any identification that shows my first name as Tom. My license, global entry card and passport reflect the name my parents gave me, which is Thomas. Was that a big deal? I'm not sure. Certainly, I did not want to get into an argument with a representative of the Transportation Safety Administration. I logged into the American Airlines website to see what I could do to avoid a potential problem. The website advised me that my reservation could not be modified online. I was instructed to call reservations.
If you have a sales team, they need to be managed, and that responsibility generally is assigned to your showroom manager. And, did you know that half of all sales managers hired by the 100 largest manufacturing companies do not last more than three years. That statistic reveals that for large companies with dedicated HR teams and well-defined recruitment processes indicates one of two issues: effective sales managers are difficult to hire, or the hiring process for sales managers is broken or maybe a combination of both.
Most kitchen and bath showrooms don’t have dedicated HR teams that are responsible for attracting, vetting and retaining best-in-class talent. The hiring process is typically delegated to the owner. The key to hiring a showroom or sales manager involves the following:
Experiences matter. Momentum, an experiential marketing agency, recently surveyed 5,000 consumers around the world and concluded that people value experiences more than they do products. Consumer expectations have changed significantly in the last five years. In 2014, consumers wanted brands to deliver experiences that provided them with something useful, that made their lives easier and delivered a healthy dose of happiness. Today, those experiential requirements remain, but consumer priorities are shifting. Now, consumers desire experiences that provide connection.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." Dickens iconic introduction to A Tale of Two Cities frequently resonates in family businesses. Most business leaders confront the best and worst of times, and how both ends of the spectrum are dealt with often determines success or failure. In family businesses, conflict is taken up several notches, and that conflict can destroy personal and professional relationships. That's one of the reasons most family businesses do not survive to the third generation.
Josh Baron teaches a class in family business conflict at Columbia Business School. He relates to his students that both too much and too little conflict have equally adverse effects on a family resulting in limited growth, poor decision making, competitive disadvantages and in the worst case the sale, split or demise of the company.
Here are a few amazing statistics from the Luxury Institute:
Let’s translate the loss of up to 90 percent of luxury customers in a given year to kitchen and bath showrooms. It’s not a hard stretch to state that most showrooms have the potential to lose up to 80 to 90 percent of referrals from existing customers in a given year if they fail to deliver an experience that their consumers expect from a high-end showroom. The Luxury Institute points out that there is a tremendous upside opportunity for high-end retail. Customers who have a genuine relationship with a sales professional typically will buy double from that brand and be loyal to that brand for a longer period.
Robb Best told us at a recent BKBG Conference that the human brain is only capable of choosing between two options. If you present too three or more, customers' brain will shut down and refuse to make a decision. That's why 30 percent of people who come to a showroom will walk out for the simple reason they have been given too much information. That's why Robb claims that a wall of faucets promotes sensory overload and is one of the worst ways to display products.
Sensory overload is a compelling reason for a customer to buy from a brick and mortar showroom versus purchasing on the Internet. If you searched for a farmhouse sink on Houzz.com, you would have more than 77,000 choices. How can anyone confidently make a decision when there are more than 77,000 options. And therein lies a brick and mortar showroom's competitive advantage. Curation is a competitive advantage not available online. Showroom sales professionals and showrooms can appeal to a customer's five senses and have the opportunity to determine the best option (not the least expensive) for each client.
By the end of this year, there will be an estimated 5.6 billion email accounts. That helps to explain why email is the dominant medium to market and communicate. Think about how many useless emails that you receive daily. The people who you are trying to influence likely receive just as many. How do you stand out in a cacophony of claptrap? Avoid these common email mistakes identified by Hubspot:
How do you make a great first impression? You need to project warmth first and then competence and be perceived as having both writes Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy in her new book Presence. Most people erroneously believe that competence is more important than warmth. Let's face it, when a prospective customer walks into your showroom, they want to feel confident that you have the skill to design their dream bath or kitchen. However, Cuddy claims that warmth or trustworthiness is the most crucial factor in creating a positive first impression. If a prospect does not trust you, there is no chance you will win the contract regardless of how talented you might be.
What are the keys to becoming more productive? According to a recent survey of nearly 20,000 readers of HBR.org, they are: