time for change“Changing in the cabinet industry is hard.” We can’t tell you how many people we’ve heard this from.  We remember when we first heard these words from a cabinet dealer owner years ago.  He was so afraid of changing things because he was worried his salespeople might leave and dent his already struggling revenue stream.  It was the beginning of the end for his business that shut down in 2011.

Luckily, we are now coming across many industry professionals who are embracing change because they recognize the opportunity for growth.

We interviewed Aaron Brock, one of 4 brother-owners of Brock Cabinets in Fayetteville, NC, on his insights into change and what it’s like to revamp your business. He recently implemented Equilibrium across four locations and over 40 employees.

Interview with Aaron Brock

Q:  It seems that some larger dealers still think it’s not worth implementing changes right now because salespeople are too difficult to change. What was your experience?

A: “Did salespeople get in their camps? Yes…fear camps did exist initially – or at least ‘highly concerned’ camps. Employees would start talking amongst each other and then they would start coming to these false conclusions and making false assumptions.  To put an end to it you have to make sure the salespeople have a real open communication with management.  They need to be able to get questions answered and resolved so that rumors don’t flare up.”

Q: Why do you think some salespeople tend to push back?

A: “It’s their nature.  They’ve got their way of doing things, it works for them, and their livelihood is based on that.  You’re not going to find many salespeople that are just going to say, ‘Hey, I need to find a new way of doing my job!’ They don’t want to upset that applecart.

However, you have to have someone in the company that has a bigger vision, who sees where salespeople can be more efficient; management has to force it a bit.”

Q: How did you decide to introduce your 40+ users to Equilibrium?

A: “Our game plan, which worked very well, was to bring in all of the departments (aside from sales initially) and show them the solution.  We went through all of their questions, and then the next day we invited in the sales team and we addressed them separately.  We actually had more questions and concerns from the other departments than we did from the salespeople.”

Q: So your sales team wasn’t as resistant as others?

A: “There’s nothing uniquely different about our salespeople.  They were actually pretty excited about it because of the way we approached it.    It’s one of those things where you see the program for the first time and you think, ‘Wow, this is powerful.’  We were able to get them to initially react with those starry glasses on saying, ‘This is really cool, I wonder how it’s going to be to actually use it…’

So then we were able to get into the actual process of training and learning the program with excitement behind us instead of dread.”

Q: When you finally began training the team, was the sales team still accepting?

A: “Our salespeople have really gotten on board – they’re happy with it. They love certain aspects of it and other parts are still new to them; but any transition takes time when you have four locations.

You just need to say, ‘Bear with us and be patient.  Be patient, but don’t be silent – if you’re silent, we can’t get things done.’

Salespeople will not all learn it right away, so you just have to get through that initial learning curve.  But no matter what size company you are, Equilibrium will take you to the next level.”

Q: What finally made you and your brothers decide you needed to implement Equilibrium?

A: “Our manufacturers were hitting us with a ton of price changes and we knew they were coming down the pipes; so our spreadsheets had to be majorly changed, and we didn’t really have anyone to do it.

It was going to be so complicated that we finally said, ‘What are we doing and why are we reinventing the wheel?  We’ve got to do this right so we can grow quicker and more profitably.’

So, that’s when we all sat down and became very interested in seeing what Equilibrium could do for us.”

Q: What does Equilibrium do for you?

A: “We have four locations … It used to be that I was pretty blind to what the other locations were doing.  Now I feel like I have a very clear vision when I visit those other locations.

I have a sense of exactly what is needed on a management level.  I know exactly what everyone should be doing and where everyone is in the process – and I never had that before.

Equilibrium gives us a wealth of information that is just out of this world – absolutely amazing.  There’s a unity within our four locations that never existed before. This is just going to take us to a whole new level of what we’re able to accomplish.”

Q: How have the first 90 days of your go-live experience been?

A: “As far as BreakFront, the support is tremendous.  Equilibrium can be customized to meet whatever our needs are. To me, the sky is the limit… I don’t feel like there are these limitations that we have to work around anymore. It’s very customizable to everything we need.”

Q: What is your advice to other dealers and remodelers when streamlining their operations?

A: “Back up, give your team a vision of what they need to do, and don’t micro-manage.  Unless your team has a vision of what you’re trying to accomplish as a company, they’re just going to kick against the bricks.  As soon as our team caught the vision, they started saying ‘You know what…I can do this…I think that’s going to be great!’

In my opinion, it all comes down to the owners and management team and their commitment level. You can’t limp in, you have to do it right.  You’ll have some hiccups and bumps in the road of course, but you’ll get through them quickly.  Once your employees see you’re committed and unwavering, they will be too.”