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Dealers, Their Words!

My sales rep from Benjamin Moore just won some sort of “Sales Rep of the Year” honor for 2018. I’m happy for him! He’s a young kid, just starting out and so the pat on the back will hopefully keep him excited about his job and keep him working hard.

By saying that, what I really mean is: isn’t that MY effing award?

Come on; don’t look at me like that! If he had bought a winning lottery ticket with any of his bonus money from this award, we’d be in court already!

Last year WAS a good year for my stores in terms of sales and I’m glad that Derek got my just rewards! But what have you done for me lately, Derek? It’s almost April!

My goals for 2019 are different than others I have set in previous years. Of course, I want to sell more paint than last year; I have that goal every year! But this year I am adding something a bit different and not as easy to measure as “sell more gallons.”

One of my goals for this year is to use this blog and podcast platform to give independent paint dealers a voice.

Independent paint retailers struggle in my view from a lack of a singular voice. There are buying groups that speak for some of us, there’s the PDRA who is moving towards speaking for all of us but is not there yet and there’s even a Facebook group for some dealers to speak for themselves. But even if you add those all up, it barely gets to 1000 dealers! That means there are thousands more dealers out there with no voice.

Why is it so important that we find a common voice? Simple really: leverage!

Think of the seesaw. On one side sits you: a two store, couple of million in sales independent paint retailer. On the other side sits your vendor. Depending on what type of vendor (sundry supplier, paint manufacturer etc.) the other side is going to be a $50Mil-$18BIL behemoth that will leave you stranded: sitting high in the air crying for mommy!

But maybe you don’t need your mother? Maybe you just need a few more friends on your side of the seesaw?

Giving independent paint dealers a voice will make it possible for the manufacturer on the other side of the seesaw to understand us better and make programs more suited to our needs; which will make us all seem heavier individually.

Dealers that I have met have a tendency to think that manufacturers who program for dealers poorly, do so because they only think of themselves or their own needs, but I don’t find that to be the case.

In my experience the programmatic failures (and programmatic absence) that I have seen generally comes from a lack of information. Because it’s hard for a disparate group of independents to speak or act together, it’s hard for us to be heard together. Information from dealers that makes it to the top in Montvale, Pittsburgh or Cleveland is often just what the loudest or the biggest among us have to say. In-fact what is really needed is an understanding of what the largest number of us has to say!

It’s the dealers with one to ten stores that need the voice. It’s not that smaller dealers (I have two stores btw) can’t speak for themselves; we can! But because of our size, there are just not enough listeners. Larger retailers don’t generally suffer from this problem.

I am hoping to use this blog and podcast to further that goal of giving voice to independent paint retailers.

The attached episode of the Mark, My Words podcast features my short conversations with independent paint retailers direct from the floor of the AllPro show. Together these dealers represent in excess of NINE figures of total sales: yet until now they were for the most part anonymous!

During my time at the AllPro show, I worked hard to get vendors to sign up for my blog and podcasts and I had some luck doing it. Now, when dealers speak here, they are no longer anonymous.

And so that is what this episode is all about: independent paint retailers speaking here about their own needs, in their own words.

Using some modern day duct tape I strung these conversations all together for you to enjoy.

Whether you’re a vendor trying to better understand independent paint retailers or a paint retailer trying to better understand your own business and place in the industry this episode is for you! Click on the link below and enjoy episode 4 of the Mark, My Words podcast. It’s all: Dealers, Their Words!


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