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Editor’s Note: Fresh perspectives and hat tricks

By / August 10, 2018

A few weeks ago, my son’s first season of traveling soccer was nearing its end, and he had yet to score a goal. That’s okay unless, like my son, you’re used to scoring the occasional goal. As the season wore on, and the scoring drought persisted, I could see his passion begin to wane. In the hope of snapping him out of his funk, I found a local soccer coach to do a few lessons. At the first game after his first lesson, the opposing team scored early with two quick goals. Then, my son exploded down the field and scored his first goal of the season. Minutes later, he scored his second. On the sidelines just before halftime, with the score tied 2-2, he asked the coach if he could go back in and give our team the lead. She said sure, so that’s what he did. He scored a hat trick—his first three goals of the season—the day after spending just one hour with a trainer.

Coincidence? Maybe. But I think not.

It doesn’t matter what our job is, gaining a fresh perspective makes us better. For my son, the difference wasn’t in the technical skills he’d just been introduced to (and has yet to master). Instead, it was about thinking differently about his potential. It’s the same for you and me, and everyone on our teams. If we simply go to work each day, encounter the same obstacles, and battle them the same way, then we’re as good as we’re going to get. But…once we’re removed from our comfort zone, then we’ve got no choice but to see things differently.

That’s what my friends Bill Lee and Rick Davis do so brilliantly in their monthly columns. Through years of hard work and study, they’ve earned the gift of viewing situations from different angles, and from other peoples’ perspectives. In fact, Rick’s inaugural three-part series for LBM Journal is all about approaching sales from a radically different perspective. If you haven’t read “From Product Peddler to Sales Concierge” (parts I and II in June and July, and the conclusion in this issue), here’s your homework: Read it, and have your sales team read it. Then get together in a room, close the door, and discuss it.

Many dealers in many markets are having record years. There’s as much business as they can handle—more in some cases. When business is so strong, one may ask, who in their right mind would take a break, even for a couple of days, from a red-hot market?

To me, the answer to that is simple: those who want their companies to be prepared, and to have an edge when the market softens. Which it always does.

At last year’s LBM Strategies Conference, Rufus Duncan, CEO of Higginbotham Brothers, a gentleman and an astute businessman, said this: “You need to get out of the rat race and get some ‘big picture thinking’ going on. This whole thing was ‘big picture thinking’.”

Whether it’s the upcoming LBM Strategies Conference, or your buying group or co-op’s event, I urge you to take a few days this fall to physically remove yourself from your business, connect with other smart dealers, immerse yourself in some ‘big picture thinking,’ then go back to your company and put your fresh perspectives to work. When you score the business equivalent of a hat-trick, drop me a note and tell me about it.

Rick Schumacher

Rick Schumacher is the editor and publisher of LBM Journal, and has more than 25 years experience covering the industry. [email protected]