Scores of BrandSource members’ finest sales experts were honored at the buying group’s 2019 Convention & Expo at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas on August 26.

By Alan Wolf

The select staffers, dubbed Heavy Hitters, were chosen by their respective businesses to attend the Convention courtesy of vendor sponsors, where they received special sales and product training and certificates to applaud their sales acumen.

The retail academy was launched at last year’s Convention to further hone these top performers’ skills and to enable them to share their learnings and insights with their sales teams back home.

The program was highlighted by a special awards dinner hosted by motivational speaker Paul Long, who offered innovative approaches to maximizing workplace and personal fulfillment.

Other inspirational speakers included Claude Ward, General Manager of Famous Tate, who spoke of the “thrill of the retail sale”; recounted his own first customer close – inadvertently charging $200 below cost; and reminded the audience of their importance to the community.

“You’re in a position to save a Christmas dinner, to change people’s lives,” Ward said. “Where else with minimal education can you earn an above-average income, travel a little and meet some great people along the way? It’s a career, it’s what we do, it’s how we feed our kids and send them to college, and I’m very grateful.”

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Heavy Hitter Bob Kardos of Don’s Appliances shares best practices with his peers.

Other Heavy Hitters events included a best practices workshop in which Chad Evans, AVB’s GM of Merchandising, asked attendees to consider challenges they face at their stores and to share the solutions they’ve devised. Among their suggestions:

  • Service departments should keep sales staffs apprised of known product issues;
  • Document conversations with customers to avoid later disputes over returns and restocking fees;
  • Listen to your customers and keep your promises to them;
  • Send your customers a thank you email at the end of the day; and
  • Whatever the complaint, make it right and you have a customer for life.

Heavy Hitter Bob Kardos of Don’s Appliance, a 10-store chain based in Pittsburgh, said his company conducts a similar exercise, in which the dealers’ 37-member sales team meets once a month. “We get to hear a lot of information, we brainstorm, and we learn what’s going on at each of the stores,” he said.

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.