CHATTANOOGA, TENN.—Floor covering is a relationship-driven industry. Whether it’s retailer/ supplier or customer/salesperson, the success of a business hinges on the strength, or weakness, of those relationships.
Question: What do you do if your business grows to where you no longer know all of your clients the way you once did? The answer for Alliance Flooring is to hit the road.
Earlier this year Ron Dunn, president and co-CEO of Alliance Flooring, and his wife, Sandy, purchased an RV and have hit the road visiting member stores across the country. “In our earlier years I knew every member and had been in all of our stores,” Dunn said. “Once our member count surpassed 250 this dynamic changed. At our last convention, as we focused on what owners and managers can do to drive business every day, it occurred to me I could not picture half the stores represented. I knew it was time to drive to their cities.”
Since hitting the road in May, the Dunns have visited more than 70 stores in 14 states and are currently visiting members through the Pacific Northwest.
“We have developed a nice three-part rhythm to each stop: Meeting staff, touring the store, learning how each business evolved; then reviewing key products, suppliers, new marketing initiatives and growth opportunities; and then, as a recent addition, we interview the owner and staff for a best- practices networking piece we are producing,” Dunn explained.
Members had nothing but positive reactions to the visit. Tracy Regan, owner of More Than Tile in Boiling Springs, S.C., aid, “Ron and Sandy asked questions and listened to my answers. I feel like I matter just as much as the largest dealer in CarpetsPlus Color Tile, and I have felt that way from the day I joined.”
Duke Karns, owner of Carpetland USA in Lafayette, Ind., said, “Everything they said was positive. They talked to each employee, from the warehouse to sales. In fact, that positive attitude rubbed off on everyone. We had one of our biggest up- months—70% in retail. Now we’re up 38% in retail for the year, and I believe the Dunns’ visit contributed to that.”
How many states and stores do Ron and Sandy plan to visit? “Every member!” Dunn said. “Every stop has been insightful and invigorating. This will probably extend over the next two years, but in the end we will step foot in every member’s store, hear their story and then share their insights, experiences and success.”
For more, call 800.261.6456.