International Door & Operator Industry

JUL-AUG 2013

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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Page 44 of 119

SaleS&MarkEting (continued from page 41) I'm sure there are other performance criteria that you can come up with but the point is to rate them and then ask yourself, are they making my job easier or more diffcult. Do I consider them a valuable part of our team or do I fnd myself spending a lot of time dealing with issues they created? Like employees, there are plenty of A+ garage door suppliers that can serve you well. Is yours one of them? Another example is a support professional such as your bank. Do you feel like you're working for him or her or do you consider them a valuable part of your team. During my tenure I've had both. What should you expect from your company's fnancial resource? Maybe more than you are currently receiving . Here's just a few that come to mind. • Howwelldoesyourbankercommunicatewithyou?Easy access? Quick answers to your requests? • Doesyourbankerproactivelycontactyouperiodicallyjust to see how things are going and to offer his/her services to your business? • Doyouhaveadedicatedaccountmanagerthatunderstands your industry? • Howarethefees?Doyoufeellikethey'renickelanddiming you or has your banker come up with creative ways to keep your costs low? • Whataboutideastoputthemoneyyoukeepinthebankto work? Has your banker phoned lately with some new ideas? • Doesyourbankerhavelocallendingauthorityforquickloan request turnaround, or does it have to go through layers of "committee approvals" before you can get a decision? As with the previous example, how would your bank rate? It truly is all about performance and that's how everyone on your team should be rewarded. Each year as we closed our books I would get a listing of all the company's vendors that received payments of any kind during the year. That was my opportunity to refect on their performances. My hope was to make a lot of phone calls thanking them for their superior service to our business that year. Occasionally however, the phone call was a bit more tense. Nevertheless, they heard from me each year and our expectations for their services were always clear. What about you? As the owner, president, CEO or whatever title you prefer, your staff, suppliers and support professionals get to ask the same about you. Are you making their job easier or harder? Yes, that's right. You have an obligation to those people that support you and your business daily. It's not just a one way street. What should they expect from you? The same amount you expect from them plus. Here's a partial list. • Areyouaccessibletoyouremployees,suppliersandvendors? • Areyourcommunicationstimelyandconcise? • Doyourespectthetimeofothersasyouwouldlikeyours respected? • Doyouinvestyourtimeandenergytoconstantlycreate an atmosphere of success where your employees can see possibility for advancement and favorable future for themselves by working for your company? 42 International Door & Operator Industry™ • Areyoudiligentaboutsettingtheperformancestandards and then applying them evenly across the board? • Doyouinvestinyouremployeeseducationwithacomprehensive training program in all aspects of your business? • Doyouputyourmoneywhereyourmouthis?Haveyou invested in an incentive bonus plan that rewards superior performance for all levels of employees? • Areyouconstantlylookingforwaystoguideyourteamto the next level of success? If so, do you share that with all of your employees and ask for their input? • Areyouagooddistributor?Doyoupromoteyoursuppliers product in your local market to increase share? Do you discount or pay your bills on time, every time? • Doyouofferconstructiveideasandmarketfeedbackthat may help your supplier build a better quality product? Ever volunteer to serve on a dealer council? We could list many more but the point is that this business of making someone's job easier or more diffcult applies to all of the people working towards the common goal of building a successful and proftable company. As its leader, making this job easier starts with you. Summary A business is like any sports team. No one position can carry the team to victory. It takes the coach or manager and all of the players in the various key positions, working together to make the plays needed to score points and ultimately win the game. If we consider a football team each position can make the next one easier or more diffcult. Take for instance the least glamorous position of center. He's in the trenches, doesn't hear his name called on the P.A. system and seldom does anything that gets applause. But without a consistently precise exchange of the ball between he and the quarterback not much good can happen. Clearly the center can make the quarterback's job easier or harder in a split second. The same applies to all of the various positions. Ultimately, the players doing their job impacts the coach's ability to do his. And if done effectively, the players load is lightened also. Dan Apple is president of The Apple Group LLC, a consulting frm located in Bonita Springs, Florida. His focus is assisting garage door dealers with proftability and marketing. Dan served as president of Apple Door Systems in Richmond, Virginia for 33 years which grew to a statewide dealership with eight locations. He was the frst president of the Institute of Door Dealer Education and Accreditation where he was responsible for creating the industry's frst national accreditation program in 1998. Dan also served as a director of the Door & Operator Dealers Association and the International Door Association from 1994-1998. For more information, contact him at 804.640.4253 or email: or visit the website at

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