The kick-off of TISE 2023 in Las Vegas this week means show season in the flooring industry is in full gear. As entrepreneurs and business owners, hopefully you are taking full advantage of everything these shows have to offer.
Personally, Surfaces has long been the go-to event for me. As a former retail store owner—and now as an author and full-time industry consultant—I always looked forward to the experiences, information, contacts and opportunities gleaned from attending the show.
Here are some of the many reasons why you should attend:
Source suppliers. What a great time to interview suppliers and let them compete to earn your business. It’s also an opportunity to find out who has a unique product that can help you beat the competition with design, style and color. Do they have a beautiful new display that grabs your customer’s attention? How is their inventory? Delivery? Overall service? Shows like Surfaces provide a great opportunity to build your inventory at a great price with great terms.
First dibs on new stuff. Can you start selling something new, such as countertops, kitchen or bath remodels? One of the greatest ways to significantly grow your business is adding related categories that suit your customers’ needs.
Marketing tips. Shows like Surfaces provide a valuable opportunity to meet experts in the flooring arena who know how to bring you the business. This is a great time to interview several and find out who will work best for your company.
Access to technology. Interested in new operating systems or software? Get a demonstration and estimate from several companies who are fighting to earn your business. See how their operating systems work for you with live demonstrations.
Tools of the trade. Surfaces is great to not only see all the new and unique tools that will help your installers be more efficient and do a better job, but it’s also a good time to participate in demonstrations of those new tools and sundries.
Education galore. The educational sessions offered at Surfaces provide a great platform to learn and improve your skills in a variety of disciplines. These include but are not limited to: marketing, sales, hiring and managing employees.
Networking. Remember, there are people who are just like you at the show, and we all love trading war stories. You need to make a point of meeting and talking to people who are either fighting the same battles or people who have survived the same battles as you. I’ll be there and I would love to meet you and hear your story and help you find ways to profit now in the flooring industry.
Learn/share best practices. Do you realize how many people had sleepless nights thinking they couldn’t make payroll or pay their supplier? What did they do? How did they survive? How are they attracting installers? What are they paying them? Some flooring dealers are planning new showrooms. How did they get the displays? How did they promote it? How do they manage the new location?
No matter which show or event you attend, industry conferences often represent the best way to grow your flooring business and improve your individual skills.
Jerry Levinson, a former retailer, owns Profit Now 4 Flooring Dealers. He provides sales training, processes and systems for flooring dealers to help them grow their business and profits while working fewer hours. He also runs the Flooring Dealers & More group on Facebook.