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Shhhh....I'm Trying To Listen!!

(Due to some sort of technical problem, I'm aware that MANY/MOST of you did not get the notification of this post going live. If you got this previously, I apologize for crowding your inbox. But I know many of you were waiting for the second episode with Dan and I wanted to get word out that it had been posted). Mark

There’s a lot that I don’t know.

At least that’s what my daughter and fiancée like to remind me (with an annoying frequency). They like to say that unless we are speaking about tennis or paint, I should listen more: speak less.

Thankfully tomorrow when we wake up, we are making our way to the AllPro show. For me that is five straight days when I get to the do the talking and my family gets to listen! I wonder what my fiancée will think when she sees my lips moving for the first time since the last show? As long as it’s about paint, I guess she won’t see it as a problem.

Still though, while I love the opportunity to exercise my jaw, I find it’s best to do more listening than speaking. My third favorite aspect of these shows (right after the free food and free drinks) are the opportunities to listen and learn.

It’s not that I can’t hold my own on the speaking side of a conversation. But I go to these shows to learn and that never happens when my lips are moving!

What am I listening for? Well for starters, I’m listening for ideas that will make good blog posts. Another dealer’s experiences can easily substitute for my own and make for excellent reading. While we call ourselves paint retailers, we are also entrepreneurs and a great many of us are very successful. In a world filled with Home Depot, Lowe's and Sherwin Williams, independent paint dealers hold their own. We do a great job differentiating ourselves in our markets and so when I’m in a room full of dealers, I can learn a lot just by shutting up.

I like to listen to the vendors too! To man the booths on the floor of a large show, vendors bring in reps from multiple markets (often the ones closest to where the show is being held). Perspectives changed by geography are different from the ones I get from my local reps. Another opportunity for me to listen and learn. There is experience and knowledge in the heads of the reps and other industry employees that orbit our universe with us. If I zip my lip long enough, that experience will spill out and make me either a better dealer, writer or podcaster. I’m OK with any off those outcomes!

Not only do these shows increase the number of dealers I interact with, but it also makes those interactions more intimate: you’re not as likely to share your secrets to success with a local dealer as you are with a dealer from 1000 miles away!

And so for me, it’s all about the listening.

At the end of this blog post is an opportunity for YOU to learn while listening. And you don’t have to travel 2500 miles to participate! Click the link at the bottom of this post to be taken to the second episode of the “Mark, My Words” podcast with Dan Calkins. You can listen now or hit the download button and listen anytime you like.

As you know from listening to my last episode (you DID listen, right?), Dan is the CEO of Benjamin Moore. In our first episode together, we spoke about his career path that lead him to taking on the role of CEO. He also shared his vision for the future of the relationship between Benjamin Moore and their dealers. It was a compelling listen.

This episode, Dan and I spend our time speaking about topics that matter to us all, but often don't get as much attention as the hot political topics. We speak about the approximately $24,000,000 a year they spend on color tools (yeah…you read that right, $24MIL) as well as Store of the Future, new product development and policies regarding their reluctance to share your shelf space with certain other manufacturers. These are important issues that effect all Benjamin Moore dealers.

Again, I found Dan honest and willing to share more than we are used to hearing from a Benjamin Moore CEO. I hope that this newfound openness lasts: it makes us all stronger. Including Benjamin Moore.

Over 500 dealers listened to the first episode Dan and I did together! Soon, all Benjamin Moore dealers and employees will be getting an email from Dan asking them to listen to both that first episode as well as this new one which I uploaded with this blog post. If you’re reading this blog in response to one of Dan's emails, please sign up for my blog so that you get updates as I continue to add more content. I’ve got a lot planned for independent paint retailers, on this site.

If you work for Benjamin Moore or another company dealing with independents, YOU should sign up too. Following me here will give you an understanding of the unique challenges that independent paint dealers face. And from that, maybe we can all work together to find solutions to those challenges?

In two weeks, I will have additional podcast episodes available: industry leaders and independent retailers will begin telling their stories on my podcasts. I’m excited for you to listen.

If you see me walking the floor at the AllPro show this week,stop me and say hello. Better still, give me a great idea for what you’d like to hear more of. I’ll be there listening.

Click the link below or on "podcasts" in the menu bar and thank you for listening.


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