Hardware Retailing

FEB 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | February 2018 48 The proper attitude for a candidate is also a tough fit because, as both Arnold and Brookhouse say, the position requires confidence and resiliency in equal measure. A top candidate cannot get easily discouraged by rejection, but also must pursue leads doggedly and expect success. Often, Arnold will gauge a candidate's attitude and possible future choices by intentionally slipping "mistakes" into the interview process. Such methods, like intentionally using the incorrect name for a candidate in an email and seeing how they react, can offer insight into future client relationships. Being able to continue building a relationship without allowing small errors to derail the interview process is a plus. "You need to be knowledgeable and able to run scenarios with them to see how they will react," Brookhouse says. "Otherwise you could be hiring someone who represents you in a way you don't want." Managing the Team Once an outside sales team is assembled, it falls to management to create the kind of environment that fosters success. This is true for any employee in a retail business, but developing an outside sales team can have unique factors involved that aren't found in other areas. Training and support play major roles in determining the success of a retailer's salesforce. Training not only encompasses the details of a retailer's business and what a trainee will be selling, but the essential sales tactics that each employer wants its people to use. The importance of training is at the center of Florence Hardware's introduction program, which Arnold has developed and improved over the years. Through his experience in the industry and in sales, he's built a training program that he feels best takes a new outside sales candidate from just entering the industry to closing deals. Koopman Lumber and Hardware maintains a significant outside sales presence. The business has built a strong infrastructure around its outside sales team that offers support and helps its salespeople maintain client relationships and bring in sales.

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