• Forward Thinking

    by Karen Erstad January 2007

    When you experience the four seasons, you're reminded almost daily as you step out the door that change is inevitable. That's a good thing to keep in mind as you shiver through January. The changing weather, however, is but one of the many elements that affects your business. Evolving technology, design trends, consumer buying patterns and today's changing workforce also...

  • Breakout Branding

    by Thomas Fuller and Matthew Jorgenson January 2007

    Happy New Year! Time to make this year's resolutions. Here's one: Become a breakout brander. Branding is key to building lasting success. It is also a large and often misunderstood field, with many paths. This article offers ideas to start you today on the right path and hopefully inspire you to further grow your skills in this critical field.

    Branding can increase your customers' perceived value of your products and services. When you think of Lexus and...

  • Pattern Prognosticating

    by Kirstin Pires January 2007

    Distressed tile, exotic fish and ocean life, ancient mosaics, pebbles or abstract ripple patterns: Creating compelling visual design concepts is only half the task of producing new vinyl-liner patterns each year. In addition to the graphics, designers have to consider color trends, the properties of the inks used to print on vinyl and the capabilities of the current...

  • Promoting Portables

    by Barrett Kilmer January 2007

    Portable pools, whether supported by a framework and straps or not, offer many benefits that consumers are attracted to. Chief among these, according to Jim Newman, vice president of sales and marketing for Splash SuperPools, are durability and the fact that consumers can set them up with little or no help at all, then easily move them should that be necessary.

    Some dealers, however, say they've had difficulty selling them alongside traditional steel-walled...

  • Ready For Your Close-Up?

    by Karen Friedman January 2007

    There is a sign that hangs in my office. It says: " I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. " As a reporter for more than 20 years, I interviewed countless intelligent, articulate people who had a lot to say but didn't always know how to say it. They spoke out on behalf of their companies and organizations but frequently talked about what they wanted people to know...

  • The Seattle Effect

    by Jon Gordon November 2006

    Walk into any office or company; ask people if they would like more energy and you'll get a half-smile and a resounding "yes!" There's no doubt that today's employees as a whole are overtired and overstressed. If you're not convinced just try to eavesdrop on a water-cooler conversation. You won't hear anything because they're not there. They're hovering around the coffee pot or in line at the corner coffee shop.

    People are clearly searching for...

  • Top 10 Sales Urban Myths

    by Paul DiModica November 2006

    As the economy rolls on, sales myths still permeate sales forces trying to hit their forecasted goals or sales quotas. Like urban myths, many of these business beliefs just continue to proliferate without identified authorship or business validity. Often salespeople just use the same method of selling that they have always used. This "auto-selling" approach makes them feel good because they stay inside their comfort zone, but in reality, it reduces their...

  • Shooting for Cue Sales

    by Barrett Kilmer November 2006

    Sales managers and their employees are all aware of the fact that simply setting up some spas on the showroom floor and sitting back waiting for orders to roll in is a recipe for quick failure. Selling spas requires knowing the product, knowing the customer, and knowing how to bring the two together. Does the customer want a spa for relaxing, hydrotherapy or a bit of...

  • Get With The Program - Why sell a product when you can sell a system?

    by Becky Strauss September 2006

    It's impossible to walk into a spa dealership without noticing the rows of matching products meant to take the mystery out of keeping the spa water sparkling clean. There are sanitizers, clarifiers, balancers and so on. If you really look at the packaging, all the products lined up next to each other look an awful lot like personal-care products — coincidence?


  • Room For Growth

    by Barrett Kilmer September 2006

    As a casual furniture retailer, you do your best each season to make sure your customers have a good selection of outdoor dining sets, sofas, settees, etc., at a variety of price points. High-end stuff will set you apart from the mass merchants, while a less-expensive line will keep you in the running for sales that would otherwise be rung up at a Target or any of the...