Longtime Supply House Times columnist and National Kitchen and Bath Association Hall of Famer Hank Darlington was the keynote speaker at NKBA’s recent Chicago Mid West chapter meeting hosted by Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based Banner Plumbing Supply.

Darlington talked to an overflow audience about the importance of proper selling skills. “Sales fuel every business I know of,” he said. “You can sell volume and you can make money and have fun while doing it. Sales are the fuel that drives the business engine. If you have no sales, you have no business. The basics of selling have not changed. It’s everybody’s responsibility to help your customers become better. Make teaching and learning sales skills a priority.”

Darlington said emphasizing value points is critical for a salesperson. “Learn how to toot your own horn without blowing it,” he said. “Every time you throw out a value point, you are making the Internet and the competitor down the street less important. And every time you add value, you make price less important.”

Gross profit margin, a staple in Darlington’s teachings over the years, also was a key talking point. “Sales are important, but gross profit margin is just as important,” he said. “Go home and raise your margins 1%. Make an improved gross profit margin a priority.”