12 Volt: KnowledgeFest 2012: The Playbook

The comparison of KnowledgeFest to a football playbook is clever. But I gotta give it up to Del Ellis of Del Ellis Sales Training for the best representative metaphor for our industry: “It’s warfare out there. Special ops (showrooming), black ops (transshipping), covert ops (manufacturers’ QR codes sending customers to another retailer); it’s all happening every day on our retail front.” Here are few tactical nuggets of wisdom we picked up from some of the seminars at KnowledgeFest:
Marcel Newell of Avidworx and Jody Culbertson of Visions, a Canadian retailer with 16 storefronts, talked about the process of creating a successful culture for your business.

Newell noted, “Probably one of the most interesting projects you can motivate your team with is to have them bring in a few of their favorite magazines. Then have them cut out a few photos that interest them the most. After a half-hour, you’ll have a collage of items that represent quality and passion.”

Next, he suggested, have the staff come up with a list of core values for your organization. Post these core values on the bathroom wall, so everyone can see them every day. They are the words to live by.

Culbertson also shared a great managerial technique—one that helped him empower his installers throughout Canada. “I was getting panicked phone calls every day from installation techs who ran into problems. I finally discovered the magic phrase: ‘What would you do?’

“At first, the installers got aggravated because I didn’t offer them an immediate solution. But ultimately, they appreciated where I was going. I was empowering them to make decisions and do the right thing for the company. Now my staff knows that if they call me, [they need to] have at least one solution ready for me that I can immediately hear. It may not be the right solution, but we can work through it. [And yet] most of the time, it is the right solution. If a panel is damaged, the right solution is to order a brand new one from the dealership, rather than try to patch up the old panel. Why? Just look to the core values of your business on the bathroom wall.”

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