This year I clocked in dozens of dealer visits and the data is clear: kitchen and bath operations are pretty much the same as they were before the market crash.  It seems that although the world has changed dramatically, you guys pretty much use the same hammer with the same bloated back offices.

Below are my top ten reasons dealers’ sales figures haven’t really changed all that much in 2012.

  1. You’re an accounting dealership.  Unlike a sales and marketing focused dealer, you rule your organization with an accounting fist.  Everything must adhere to your accounting systems’ rules and procedures, despite the loss of selling time for your employees.

  2. You think sales is still a numbers game.  Until you level up your sales and marketing know how, it doesn’t really matter how many people you plow into the showroom.  Each month that goes by requires more and more “numbers” to make your number.
  3. Processing a job takes too much labor.  With bloated back office staff and paperwork climbing out of everyone’s noses, even a ridiculously small kitchen is avoided by your sales team because processing it eats up too much of their day.
  4. You manage by sales using call/activity logs.  Your answer to sales management is to have showrooms and salespeople report activities and log calls.  Of course the data is highly unreliable, but your rocket scientist Excel spreadsheet still convinces you that your “tough” sales culture exists in more than just that head of yours.
  5. Your marketing sucks.  You still can’t describe the differences between marketing and advertising and your answer to doing something different in marketing is to hire an SEO firm to redo your website for the sixth time.  This time will be different, right?
  6. You control and monitor the wrong things. You think social media needs to be controlled so you make sure none of your computers can access it at the office.  Of course they still have cellphones…
  7. You haven’t innovated much – if at all.  Your idea of your salespeople being mobile is to tell them to use their car to drive back to the office to do their paperwork.
  8. You still let salespeople order!  You have more than four salespeople and you still make them do their own purchasing, despite the fact that most dealers abandoned this approach in 2009 because of intense margin loss, not to mention the loss of selling time.
  9. Faxing and scanning hell.  You centralized your order processing, but each of the locations still send their jobs to you via fax.
  10. Your website looks like my niece’s cluttered toy room.  You’ve never visited your website on a cellphone or tablet like the iPad, despite the fact that at end of year 2011 over 50% of Americans owned smartphones and 74% of them made purchases online.