Scouting Report - September/October 2015

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Getting to Know our New EVP, Two Strikes and You're Out, Vertical Blinds and Other Options for Patio Doors, In-Store Demos Sell, and more.

Text of Scouting Report - September/October 2015

  • An ALLPRO Publication SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2015

    by Scott Morath

    During last years StockholderMeeting it was announced thatJoe Poliseo would be retiring asthe Executive Vice President ofALLPRO in 2016. It was alsoannounced a transitioncommittee had been formed,which was comprised ofALLPROs current president, vicepresident and past twopresidents.

    The purpose of the committeewas to seek out, evaluate andultimately recommend a potentialsuccessor to the board. Thecommittee set about their taskand by June of this year, aftervetting several candidates, madetheir recommendation. Not longafter, it was announced thatMichael Beaudoin had beenselected as the next ExecutiveVice President of ALLPRO.

    Many of us are already familiarwith Mike. His career in the paintindustry began in 1995 when hetook a job with Harvey GerstmanAssociates, a rep agency that stillservices industrial and contractorsupply product manufacturers.Mike initially called on HomeDepots and a handful ofindependent accountsthroughout New England. In1997 he was relocated tometropolitan New York where heserviced area paint stores andlocal distributors. It was herewhere Mike developed a passionfor the business. As he puts it,

    I developed close relationshipswith key personnel among mymanufacturing clients as well asthe customers I called on. It washard work but very rewardingand Im happy to say I wassuccessfully able to expand shareof our product lines andcontribute to a growing agency.Mikes dedication and hard workdidnt go unnoticed. By the timehe left the company in 2007 hehad become a Territory SalesManager responsible for a teamof six representatives and over$30M in sales.

    Mike left Gertsman Associates totake on the role of National SalesManager for Portland basedPurdy Brush (newly acquired bySherwin - Williams). As aNational Sales Manager whooversaw a team of threeregional managers Mikequickly acquired a deeperunderstanding of the paintindustry on a national level. Hedeveloped relationships withwest coast based paintmanufacturers, hardware co-ops in the Midwest, and keycustomers and chainsthroughout the U.S. andCanada. Mike and histeam traveledcontinuously from2007 through2009, in aneffort todevelopbusiness

    and capitalize on any opportunityto offset the prevailing economicrecession.

    Once again, tenacity paid off andin 2009 Mike was promoted to aDirector of Sales position withPurdys parent company,Sherwin - Williams.

    This role took him to Clevelandwhere he oversaw sevenregional/national sales managersand over 20 manufacturingrepresentative agencies, as wellas multiple brands like Purdy,White Lightning, Bestt Liebco,and Pratt & Lambert. About hisrole as Director of Sales Mike

    Getting to Know our New EVP

    (Continued on page 4)

  • 2In 1984, Wendy's introduced astunningly popular televisioncommercial that featured agrandmotherly old womannamed Clara Peller. The tag lineof the commercial - delivered ininimitable fashion - was,"Where's the Beef?"

    Bet you remember it.

    The TV spot, which vividlyillustrated a short-livedcompetitive advantage, led to arecord sales year for Wendy's asrevenue jumped 31 percent in1984 and 19 percent in 1985.But by 1986, Wendy's was introuble, according to (then COO)James Near.

    Breakfast was failing and therewere big shifts in the marketingdepartment, stated [Wendys]franchise owner Bob Goodrich.We were floundering and didntknow where to go. In addition,the quality in some of therestaurants had declined,because the original owners hadsold them to people who did notoperate them personally or careabout the companys standards.By the end of the year, companymorale was sinking and one inevery five Wendys franchiseswas in danger of bankruptcy.

    A bad strategic move AND badcustomer service?

    By 1986, the company teeteredon the edge of bankruptcy,requiring a major reorganizationand a new president. There area couple of invaluable lessonsinside the Wendys story:

    First, it illustrates the power ofhighlighting a competitiveadvantage, and doing it theright way.

    At the time, Wendy's had morebeef in their hamburgers thantheir two main competitors(McDonald's and Burger King),so they chose to emphasize thatpoint in a humorous fashion thattargeted the competition without naming names.

    Imagine if the commercial spothad said this, Our burgers have50% more beef than theother guys.

    Interesting? Vaguely.

    Memorable? Not so much.

    Companies tend to rely on thesame worn out phrases whenthey describe what theymistakenly believe arecompetitive advantages: Wehave great quality. Our service isunmatched. Our products areinnovative. Weve been inbusiness 50 years.

    Who cares? Everyone and Imean everyone says exactlythe same thing. So, howdifferentiated are you in themind of the customer?

    Second, this story forcefullydescribes the results of failing to really take care ofyour customers.

    The most powerful competitiveadvantage imaginable can besquandered if you don't deliveryour product or service well.Nowhere is this more easilyillustrated than in a restaurant. Ifthe food is good and the serviceis poor, what do you tell othersabout the restaurant?

    Even if you admit the food wasfine, youre enthusiasm will betempered by the poor service.Ultimately, your recommendationwill be to try someplace else.Sure, you might give therestaurant a second chance, buttwo strikes and theyre out.

    There is no such thing as threestrikes when it comes tocustomer service.

    A couple of thoughts to ponder:

    Can you describe your company's competitive advantages? Before you say "great products" and "great service," or something equallynebulous, think carefully. Which one of your competitorsdoesn't claim to have great products and great service?

    Quantify your competitive advantages and you can truly differentiate yourself from yourcompetitors.

    Are you delivering your product or service according to the standards that customers demand? Do you pay attention to detail? Do you follow-up in a timely fashion? Do you respond to your customers' needs? Do you communicate effectively?

    Clearly, ridiculously good service can be a stunning

    Two Strikes and Youre Outby Kelly Riggs

    (Continued on page 4)

    "There is no suchthing as threestrikes when it

    comes tocustomerservice."

  • 3Vertical blinds are a classicsolution for covering patio doors.They are a perfect fit for very talland very wide spaces and can bepulled open for maximum light orclosed to darken the room. Thevanes on vertical blinds can alsobe tilted for a partial view to theoutside while blocking the sunsglare, or shielding your homefrom the gaze of a nosy neighbor.They offer terrific flexibility in lightfiltering too.

    One great benefit of verticalblinds is their ease of use. Thevanes can be swept aside quicklywith a wand control or a cord forclear access to the outside patio.There are even options for pullingthe vertical vane stack to eitherthe right side, the left side, or splitdown the middle. It all dependson how much space you have,the size of your door opening,and your personal preference.

    In the past, there have been someconcerns about the functionalityand style of vertical blinds, butthese have largely beenaddressed by the manufacturers.For instance, to prevent vertical

    blinds from blowing aroundnoisily when positioned over airvents, a hanging chain can nowbe added to the bottom of thevanes (upon request) to keepthem steady, quiet, and still.

    In regards to style, vertical blindshave also been updated to featurea wide range of on-trend colorsand beautiful materials. Widewindow and patio doors can nowbe covered with natural wovenwood, solar shade or cellularshade material; or fabric, vinyl,wood, or composite vanes.

    Another unique variation is sheervertical blindsopaque vanesencased in sheer fabric. Theseprovide both room darkening andlight filtering properties whilesoftening the look of the blinds,making them aesthetically similarto drapery.

    Vertical blinds can alsocomplement other windowtreatments in your home, such ashorizontal fabric blinds, woodblinds, or solar shades. Mostmanufacturers offer the samecolors, styles, and materials formultiple sizes of windowcoverings. With vertical blindsthat are an exact match to other

    windowtreatments,a visualsense ofharmonycan becreated inthe home.

    Asmentionedabove,cellularshades canbe verticallyoriented forlargewindowsand patiodoors.

    Cellular verticals shades differfrom the other options since theydo not have vanes to tilt to controlthe light. Instead, they are offeredin light filtering, room darkening,or blackout opacities. A keybenefit to this cellular option istheir honeycomb cells, which aredesigned to add an extremelyeffective layer of insulation tolarge doors and windows, thussaving on energy bills year round.Since the product is also cordless,it is also a safer alternative forhomes with small children.

    Finally, sliding panels are anoption to cover patio doors. Thesepanels are vertically aligned sheetsof solar or natural shade materialthat slide on channels within theheadrail. The consumer can selectfrom two to five panels,depending on how completelythey would like the windowcovered. Sliding panels can beopened and closed with either awand or cord control, allowing foreasy access to the outdoors.

    As a window and door to theoutdoors, there are a number ofways that customers can coverpatio doors. Consider carrying theproduct lines mentioned in thisarticle to meet those needs especially the latest in stylish,versatile, and functional verticalblinds.

    At Springs Window Fashions, ourblinds, shades, and draperieshave helped people enhance theirenvironments and achieve theirdesign dreams since 1939. Visitour website atwww.graberblinds.com orwww.springswindowfashions.comto see f