Have I mentioned recently how much I love the showroom segment of our great industry? It's true - I have a passion for showrooms and what a wonderful revenue opportunity they can be. I've always set high standards for myself and others - just ask my poor wife and four kids! But you know what, you'll never convince me that setting high standards (as long as they are achievable and reasonable) is a bad thing. Maybe that's why I'm feeling so much frustration as I sit down and write this article.
The real key to success is the people who work there.
About five years ago I began doing some consulting work for a medium size wholesaler who had one showroom at the time. They were doing about $3.5 million in sales and had five showroom salespeople. The gross profit margin on sales was in the 27% range. The company treated the showroom as a profit center and at the time was barely making a profit.
Well, I've stirred up a little bit of a controversy - and we need your (the readers') help to resolve it! I'll summarize the situation for you - but if you really want all the facts, refer to my article on manufacturers reps in the SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES December 2005 issue, page 71. Then dig out your January 2006 issue and read the letter to the editor from Bill Freeman, president of AIM/R (Association of Independent Manufacturers'/Representatives).
Hopefully you've absorbed Part One of “Keys to Selling Success” (January 2006 SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES, page 168). If you've followed my articles in the past, then you know there are several topics pertaining to showrooms that I'm passionate about. Teaching and learning selling skills is one of them. Learning how to produce gross profit margins of 35% and more is another.