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Decorative Showroom Executive Message

Jeff MacDowell Executive Director, LPG

Are You Ready for EXPO?

Every year at the LPG Expo, I see a good number of our members who come prepared for every meeting and have a binder full of information, so they have compelling meetings with our supplier partners and try to grow business together. I also often see many of our members walking around without a notebook just going from meeting to meeting without purpose.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to take this time right now and get ready for Expo. Our supplier partners invest many resources to come to this meeting and be in the group in hopes of growing business with you. The very least you can do is come with information and tools to be successful.

Every member should come to the meeting with historical data of the past year’s purchases from every supplier they are meeting with. I would even suggest going back to pre-pandemic numbers to compare how sales have changed. And at the very least you should know who your rep agency is and give an evaluation of how that rep agency has performed for you throughout the year. Yes, these meetings are only 15 minutes long, but it is amazing how much you can accomplish if you have the right data in front of you.

Lucky for you, on the LPG portal, there is a tab called resources and if you scroll down there is a group of forms called supplier assessment tools which can help you prepare for the meeting.

The most important one is the supplier scorecard which is an excel form and looks complicated but if you go to the master tab, you can load all your information in bulk, and it will print off individual sheets for each one of your meetings. It has you enter prior year sales and purchases, so you can show historical growth and gives places for you to evaluate the performance of the supplier and the performance of the rep agency.

The next form is the LPG supplier action plan which is a much simpler form, and we will allow you to at least list some talking points where you and the supplier can both act on a few simple things to grow business.

The other form under this tab is a supplier rationalization form, which is simply a checkbox form and helps you decide what suppliers are right for you if you were going to change out an existing supplier.

There are also some other useful forms under resources such as an annual marketing planner. This planner will help you set up a simple printable form that will give you action items throughout the year and create a compelling marketing campaign.

Many of you ask about managing co-op dollars and getting more marketing funds from your supplier partners. If you have the data in front of you at these meetings, and if you actually have an actionable plan that demonstrates you can give the vendor some return on their investment, chances are you will get above average funding for any activities you want to run as long as it is compelling and organized. Just simply asking for dollars for giveaway junk is not enough anymore. As a showroom you must run events and draw in people who are influencing the sales such as designers, builders, plumbers and Realtors.

If you need help with figuring out any of these forms, or if you need help with advice on how to set up ideas for a marketing campaign, Jeff and Peter at LPG are more than happy to help you if you pick up the phone and call or email to make an appointment. Nothing is more important to us than the success of your showroom going into 2024 and having you use as many LPG supplier partners as possible.

It is especially important to us that you come prepared, ask the right questions and see what is important to that supplier for your mutual success. You will get so much more from a supplier when you are genuinely trying to help them grow their business.

Another suggestion I have would be to review all rebate reports and make sure that your sales are getting reported and you are getting a rebate from those suppliers. So often during the year I get a phone call that a member is not getting a rebate from a supplier, and they have not looked at their report in years. Please take the time and understand your reports so you can have an intelligent conversation.

The last suggestion I have would be to understand which supplier partners offer you FBI funding, so you can send additional staffing to the Expo. It is important to have as many of your team members at this show so they can learn about products and meet the teammates from our suppliers. It is also important for them to attend the Expo to get best practices from other showrooms and do their job better.

There is no excuse for you to come in unprepared and not maximize your return on investment and maximize your rebate dollars. You have plenty of time to plan and attend every one-on-one meeting.

This year, if you do not attend a one-on-one meeting that you are scheduled for, there will be a financial penalty. I just want to give you a heads up in advance that blowing off meetings is not acceptable.

LPG promises to make this the best event for both our supplier partners and our members, and we have never been more excited about the future of LPG than right now.