Industry veteran offers advice on managing through a downturn
After the economic crash of 2008-2009, retailers that successfully weathered the storm may be tempted to breathe a sigh of relief. However, John B. Heroux, president of Colonial Lumber Management in Bedford, N.H., and 48-year veteran of the wholesale building materials business, warned managers not to let their guard down.
It may seem like the worst is over, but Heroux cautioned against what he calls “‘we made it through the worst, everything’s fine’ syndrome.” Instead, Heroux advised that sales managers continue to evaluate the performance of their salespeople, particularly when it comes to seeking out new businesses off the beaten path. Thinking about ways to keep salespeople motivated, especially those who may be underperforming, is key, according to Heroux: “How many new accounts have your salespeople opened? Do they treat their territory like a series of bus stops, and make the same calls every day? … If so, motivation needed.”
Investing in IT upgrades may not be the first thing on anyone’s mind in these economic times. Still, Heroux suggested that in addition to evaluating and motivating salespeople, it is important to keep in mind the IT system and its ability to provide information about whether all products are being sold.
Above all, Heroux suggested that managers continue to actively ask themselves a number of questions about their company’s performance, and how sales might be improved: “What do you do with the salesperson who can’t sell an account in his/her assigned piece of geography? Is this an account that your firm has never sold? How do you get that customer to at least listen?"
Failing to ask such questions, and growing complacent when it seems as though things may be looking up, should be avoided at all costs. “We’re not out of the woods yet by any means,” Heroux said.
Mold Armor announces patents on delivery method
W.M. Barr, the maker of Mold Armor, said the company has acquired the rights to the patented delivery method for hose end products that feature a bleach-based formula.
“Since its introduction, the Mold Armor hose end business has grown faster than we could have ever imagined,” said Wendy Groover, senior brand manager for Mold Armor. “Acquiring the patent will protect this important piece of our business, and we’d like for retailers to be aware of this new directive so they will have every opportunity to alter their purchasing and stocking practices.”
The exclusive rights apply to Mold Armor’s E-Z House Wash and E-Z Deck Wash.
Founded in 2008, Mold Armor introduced the hose end products to the market in an effort to provide customers with an easy way to clean their home’s exterior surfaces.
Sears inks deal with military exchanges
Sears Home Services has entered into agreements with three branches of the military to provide delivery and installation services for merchandise sold through their stores in the continental U.S. After success with initial pilots, Sears began the nationwide launch on June 8, at various Navy, Army, and Air Force Exchanges that sell home improvement services such as siding, windows, cabinet refacing, kitchen remodeling, roofing, carpet, and upholstery cleaning, air duct cleaning and garage door installation and repair.
The agreements involve separate contracts with the Exchange (previously known as the Army and Air Force Exchange Services) and Navy Exchange Services (NEX).
Sears Home Service, the nation’s largest product repair service provider, employs more than 8,600 service technicians and delivers a broad range of retail-related residential and commercial services across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.