January 5/12, 2015; Volume 28/Number 14
The International Surface Event offers the most comprehensive education program in the industry. With the flooring sessions sponsored by FCNews, the courses cover everything from product and installation to digital marketing and business improvement. Here are just some of the highlights.
TU01 How to Create (and Stick to) an Effective, Efficient Marketing Budget
Most local business owners confuse marketing with advertising, fixating on how to buy the most eyeballs or ears for the lowest cost. But marketing in today’s multi-dimensional media world is about a lot more than just advertising. It’s about coordinating and planning multiple activities on many platforms to achieve the goal of acquiring customers. And every good marketing plan begins with a budget. This special workshop will teach a step-by-step process for creating a realistic budget that fits a business’ size and goals, as well as helping retailers avoid the common mistakes made by business owners.
TU04 Carpet Cleaning Methods: What’s New and What Should You Recommend to Your Customers?
This session will include hands-on demonstrations to learn about the latest residential carpet cleaning methods and processes, what to recommend to customers, and how carpet cleaning can affect the manufacturer’s warranty.
TU05 Design Generations – What’s Trending Now, at Any Age
With so much discussion, so much confusion, it’s hard to pin down the design desires and needs of each generation. Attend this interactive session to explore the differences between the generations, the surprising similarities and the design preferences of each group. Boomers, millennials, TekGen—they’ve all got something to say about design and trends, and it’s important to know how to respond.
TU06 Growing Together, Not Apart—How Installers and Retailers Can Work Together to Be More Profitable
Installation services are the DNA of many retail floor covering stores, which is fueled by a host of talented installers. This session will explore how retailers and installers can work together to increase the likelihood of a successful installation and a satisfied customer.
TU09 Culture Clash: Understanding Generations at Work
Generation Y is here, boomers aren’t going anywhere and Gen X is stuck in the middle. The better you understand each generation, the better you will overcome challenges and be more productive. The clash of generations is heating up, and this session will help attendees cool it down.
TU11 Building Your Brand Locally: Strategies and Tools for Differentiating your Business from the Competition
Your local brand can be just as powerful in your hometown as worldwide giants like Wal-Mart and Home Depot. But to do so you have to take a page or two out of the big guys’ playbook. This interactive session will teach many of the mega-competitors’ secrets and how to apply them.
TU19 Watch This! How to Create Digital Content that Increases Sales and Your Google Rankings
Statistics show 17% of people spend less than four seconds on a website, but they are willing to spend 2.7 minutes watching a video online. Video is powerful. Attend this engaging session to learn how to create content that gets views, and how to turn those views into more sales.
TU20 Accountability—Getting People to Do What You Need Them to Do, When You Need Them to Do It
If you have people you have people problems. One of the biggest complaints in the workplace is lack of accountability. Some don’t seem to care nor do they even seem to want to care. While there are many causes of this behavior, the solutions are very similar. In this interactive and fast-paced session, participants will learn why people resist being held accountable and discover ways to get them to actually look forward to being held accountable.
TU23 Game On! Solving Marketing & Sales Challenges
This session teams up participants in a competitive format to address various marketing and sales challenges via typical scenarios. Participants will learn how others would tackle the same challenges and be able to compare their team’s solutions to others.
TU24 How to Create New Customers and Set Yourself Apart from the Competition
The cost of customer acquisition through traditional means and advertising alone has become more fragmented and cost prohibitive than ever before. This interactive session will focus specifically on the lost art of prospecting for business and creating new customers. Learn the secrets of identifying and qualifying repeat customers outside of the normal retail channel.
TU25 Your Customer is Changing, Are You? – How Distributors Can Excel in the Face of New Threats and Opportunities
This interactive session is designed for wholesale floor covering distributors, manufacturers, retailers and contractors interested in understanding the impact of industry changes on the distribution channel. Identify and explore new threats and opportunities facing today’s flooring distributors, including changes in consumer buying patterns, supplier consolidation, imports and government regulations.
WE04 Get Found Online! Tips for Making Your Website More Visible
A retailer’s website is the digital equivalent of his showroom. A website is often the first touch potential customers have with a business. This session will look at how to evaluate a website from a search engine perspective and how to optimize it for potential customers and search engines.
WE06 Tackling Retail’s Toughest Issues
This panel session, moderated by Jim Gould, president of the Floor Covering Institute, will offer insight from some of America’s most successful flooring retailers on important issues challenging specialty retailers today. The topics will change depending on questions from the audience, but will include topics such as “Competing with the Big Boxes,” “Selling and Communicating with Today’s Diverse Consumers,” “Using Technology and Social Media to Engage Customers” and “Staging Stores to Inspire Customers.”
WE08 Luxury Vinyl Tile—What You Need to Know to Select the Right LVT for Your Customer
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is one of the fastest growing flooring categories in today’s market. With so many different installation options available, it is important to understand the features and benefits of each and what differentiates one LVT from another. This session will also explore the right environment for each product, installation issues and challenges that an installer must be aware of, such as acclimation and floor preparation.
WE09 The “Other” Shop – the Customer’s Home: How Installers Can Make or Break Future and Referral Business
Installers are usually the last people to have contact with a customer on any project. Therefore, what customers think of the installation crew is often the impression they are left with for the entire operation. Installers are invited into people’s homes, and with that invitation comes an expectation of social respect and behavioral responsibility. During this engaging session both the panel and participants will share their experiences, challenges, failures and innovative new ideas.
WE11 Generation Squared – How to Sell to Four Different Generations
There are significant differences between buyers who are seniors, boomers, Gen X and millennials. This is the first time in history that we have significant customer numbers in four different generations. Each has specific beliefs and shopping habits. This session will explain how to tackle cross-generational selling situations.
WE12 Identifying and Installing Today’s Carpets
The materials installers are working with today are changing at a rapid pace. Even the best installers must educate themselves on the changes taking place with carpet today. This session will explore the latest products flooring professionals need to know about before ruining a job.
WE13 Walk/Talk Tour: The Hot, Must-Sees in Surfaces – Up Close and Personal
Join Mark Woodman, a dynamic designer, writer and speaker with vast design and color consulting experience, as he leads an exciting tour of the show floor to highlight products he personally selected to illustrate current and forecasted trends.
WE14 Three Secrets of Negotiation That Will Dramatically Increase Your Closed Sales
You may think you are providing good service, but in reality you may be setting yourself up to get beat up on price and lose customers to “cheap price” competitors. These and other negotiating mistakes cause sales to slip through dealers’ fingers. During this session attendees will learn three secrets of negotiation that will help avoid “sales killers.”
WE18 Develop a Compelling Customer Experience in Your Showroom
This session will encourage dealers to look at their businesses through the eyes of a consumer. Attendees will learn about the current and future wants, needs and desires of consumers. During this interactive session, retailers will work with a small group of peers to develop a “perfect showroom shopping experience.”
WE19 The Best Ways for Retailers to Capitalize on Consumers’ Use of their Mobile Devices
The number of global smartphone users is expected to reach over 2 billion by 2015. Mobile is the way retailers must interact with their customers today and in the future or risk losing them forever. This interactive session will explore the three key areas retailers need to focus on in their mobile strategies: mobile marketing, mobile commerce and mobile operations.
WE21 Selling Today’s Changing Fiber Systems
You can’t judge a carpet by its fiber alone. Attend this session to learn more about the existing and new carpet fibers and technologies in use today. Participants will explore it all, including recycled content; shapes, styles and coloration; unique performance characteristics of each fiber; construction and style influences; how carpet and fibers are tested; the tests employed, and why and how small changes can mean vast increases in performance.
TH01 Dealing with and Avoiding Flooring Complaints
Wood flooring turning up at the edges, sheet vinyl lifting off of concrete substrates, carpet tiles emitting foul odors—failures in floor covering occur daily around the country, plaguing flooring retailers/dealers, contractors and end users. In many cases, the failure—and the huge costs and losses associated with it—could have been avoided. This session will provide knowledge about the most common complaints associated with each flooring product and how to avoid them.
TH02 How to Provide Killer Customer Service that Will Improve Your Bottom Line
Many businesses spend lots of time training salespeople but little time on customer service training. Follow up and great customer service can make or break sales. Moving beyond the in-store experience, this session will also explore how customer service extends to social media as well. Learn how to turn all employees into customer service superstars.
TH04 Is Dad Always Right? A Father/Daughter Team Share their Insights on Successfully Managing a Family Business
What makes a family business successful? See how father and daughter perspectives come together as they discuss how their generational (and gender) gap becomes their advantage. This highly interactive course will delve into the unique hurdles a family business must face, including effectively handling professional vs. personal issues, the development and advancement of the company, and when it is time for responsibilities to change hands.
TH05 Heart and Mind Selling – Making Customers for Life
It takes logic to win the sale, but it takes love to win customers for life. Attend this session to learn more about the four characteristics of peak-performing salespeople and how to implement the strategies of each characteristic within yourself or employees. Also learn how to build trust with customers and create an obligation in them to buy.
TH06 Design and Color Trends for 2015, 2016 & Beyond!
Victoria Redshaw, lead trend forecaster and managing director at Scarlet Opus Limited, will give full details of the key macro design trends for interiors for 2015 and 2016, including a brief look at the process of trend forecasting. She will focus on color, pattern, materials, textures, shape and styling for interiors and how these trends translate into flooring and wall products.
TH10 Marketing Strategies to Quickly Skyrocket Your Retail Cash Flow
The best ways to increase cash flow are 1) increase closed sales, 2) command higher margins, and 3) increase average ticket size. But even though we’re seeing economic recovery, dealers still feel intense pressure to slash their prices, and many are not seeing a big increase in sales. This session will explore low-cost marketing strategies that can be implemented to compel repeat and referral business.
TH11 Sales Management Reinvented—Fresh Strategies to Drive a High Performance Sales Team
Managing today’s flooring sales associate is remarkably different than it has been in the past. This new-age employee is motivated by goals, requires detailed systems and procedures, craves constant feedback and needs to feel as if he/she is an important ingredient to the success of the business. This session will illustrate effective techniques for setting realistic goals and provide guidance on what data needs to be tracked.
TH14 What You Always Wanted to Know About Wood, Bamboo and Cork Floors But Were Afraid to Ask
This session will give participants the opportunity to ask questions of wood flooring professionals with combined experience of nearly a century in the industry. The panel of experts will field questions in a facilitator-led format directed toward educating retailers, architects, designers and installers. This is an opportunity to gain understanding of floor failures and how to prevent them, best application and procedures, and how to maximize sales while minimizing claims.
TH17 Own a Business, Sell Your Job
When you retire, will you be able to sell your business? If you can’t, you don’t own a business, you own a job. Why give your heart and soul to a business in which you have built no equity? A business can have tremendous market value if true equity is established during ownership. Attend this session to learn how to prepare for selling a business and how to maximize its equity.
TH20 Recruiting, Hiring, Training & Retaining Exceptional Talent
When store owners and managers hire the right people, the organization benefits from employees who have a high appreciation for the culture and an increased understanding of the benefits and pay they receive. Learn how to invest the time and attention necessary to develop “Human Capital,” realizing better all-around value for dollars spent.