Headline: The World is on Sale and your Profits are Down!
This is not a real headline but it is a real problem!
I as a manufacturer I have been handling many phone calls from dealers out there complaining about excessive margin erosion from competition. I realize Mr. and Mrs. Gotrocks think the world is on sale with the incentives that are given in other industries. After all, the Government gave anyone that wanted a new car $4500 for their old one. They are also giving money away for new appliances that save energy. Most retail clothing stores have been selling clothes at 50% off (even Tommy Bahama) and you can but a new TV for less than my electric bill. All this said I don't think there has been bailout money allocated to remodel a bath! SO why cave in to the pressure from the end user for discounts beyond the norm? I realize no one wants a sale to walk out the door but at what expense. If margins don't stay up then expenses need to go down. Well most of us have already cut what can be cut so next is what? Your wrist?
This thing is taking longer than anticipated and may take a little longer still but don't give away your farm yet. There is money to be made you might as well be the one making it!
In order to maintain a Happy Selling mentality everyone needs to rejuvenate themselves. Stress brings on a Not-so-Happy Selling attitude and with all the issues going on in the world today such as the economy, natural disasters and of course the housing market, it is easy to lose focus on our day to day business. Some recharge by playing golf, sitting down with a good book or if you are from Spain you simply take the month of August off! No matter how you make time for YOU it is a must, not only for yourself but for your co-workers, friends but most importantly for your family!
Although I travel quite a bit I also work from home the majority of the time I am not on a plane. I find it very difficult to separate home from work and work from home. It is not uncommon for someone “telecommuting” to have many of the same issues. These are things we don’t even know we are doing like not knowing when to turn the phone off, not knowing that you hold onto your Crack berry even when you are supposed to be watching a movie with your wife or telling your kids “in a minute” when they want to show you the lizard doing pushups on the window. My wife points these things out to me sometimes and I discount it that she just does not understand. Recently I realized she understands better than I do. She lives with it, with me and sees not only the good but the bad as well. She finally convinced me that this is not normal even though it was normal for me or fair for my family. So I decided to try to change. It is not impossible but it is necessary. I never wanted my kids to grow up without a dad but that has been what has been going on. I think just because I am in the house I am there but really I was not. I was with all of you, answering calls, checking emails coming up with exciting new programs. I love doing all that stuff but I love my family also. I am not going to quit my career but I am going to embrace my family. I am not going to divorce my wife but I am going to separate work from home.
I just read a book called Tuesdays at Morries and I loved it. Now understand I don’t read. If it is not in KBB, KBDN or our newsletter chances are I never heard of it. But this book opened my eyes to my thoughts above. It makes you realize that you need to live while you are alive and not regret what you didn’t do when you are dying.
I however love to travel (vacations not work travel). This summer my wife and I traveled for our 10 year anniversary to our great state of Alaska (No Palin sightings, but we did see Russia!). It was by far the most amazing place on Earth I have ever been. I cant even explain the sheer mass of this incredible place in which the entire state should be a natural wonder.
I am thrilled to present the first issue of the Sonia America Innovation’s newsletter. There are many great things to talk about and share with our dealers, sales organizations, and extended Sonia family, including the architect and design communities. We felt that this format would be a fun and informal way to communicate our company’s news, additions and even industry events. Each quarter we will be producing an updated version of this newsletter. At times we may be requesting some feedback, contributions, or even a fun industry story you want to share. I will be sure to provide my two cents every now and then!
Why Happy Selling?
So much of what we do in business (and just about everything else in life, for that matter) has to do with our attitude and how we approach each day. I realized a long time ago that my attitude and personality in dealing with people would be instrumental in my success throughout life. My excitement and enthusiasm radiated to my friends, customers and fellow sales associates in a way that motivated them to either purchase or sell. But most important, my motto was and continues to be, enjoy what you do, have fun while doing it and just be happy, so I started using the expression, “Happy Selling!”
If you are “happy selling,” then your customers will be “happy buying!”
Happy Selling sounds corny, but it works! Your attitude is contagious. If you are in a bad mood other people around you will be in a bad mood. If you are excited other people will feel your enthusiasm and will be excited with you. When I am giving a presentation I try to entertain first, and sell second. I try to grab the audience’s attention and attempt to make them laugh within the first few minutes. It breaks the ice; it lets them know you will not bore them and makes them want to hear what you have to say next. Happy selling includes being honest and straight forward. People want to know that you can relate to their personalities (and business philosophy) and if you are happy, it will make it so much easier for them to relate to you and allow you to get your message across. Treat them like a friend and they will trust you like one. Treat them like prey and they will run and hide.
Heading up Sonia America sales and marketing efforts allows me to be exposed to our industry’s best of the best in terms of dealers and sales agents. It is truly a pleasure to be able to work with all of you to partner and build our business together. And that truly is the essence of what I am preaching.
When I thought about the theme for this issue Happy Selling column I thought about the upcoming time off I will be having for the holiday season. Naturally one of my favorite times of year since I get to spend some much needed time with my family (Sonia America will close as usual from December 23rd until January 2nd). Thanksgiving is a great day in my home. The day starts with cinnamon buns straight out of the oven setting the mood for a day filled with Macys Thanksgiving day parade and football and smelling good old Tom in the oven. But this year more than ever I have even more to be thankful for. This has been a tremendous year for me personally, but more so for our company. Sonia is experiencing a record growth year in an economy which is considered down. No doubt this is due to the amazing media coverage we have had, our family of independent representatives and a group of people internally that just can’t help but try to take customer service to a level of nothing short of great!
I am truly thankful for being part of a family of companies that empowers me to lead them in this country. Where our products bring out emotions and are not a commodity. I am thankful for our dealer partners who not only believe in the products Sonia produces but in my ability to lead the sales to support their needs. We have a tough road ahead of us the next few years and would like to thank all of you for your continued support.
Have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season. From our family to yours… Happy Selling!