Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Reasons Why Associated Sales Was Named 2016 Representative Agency of the Year

The DPHA Representative Agency of the Year Award recognizes firms for their: 
  • Training programs
  • Customer service
  • Involvement and support of the industry
  • Professionalism
  • Demonstrated ability to create value for lines and showrooms

In each of the above criteria, Associate Sales has excelled.  The agency's staff spends countless hours training designers and builders about the products they represent, which in turn enables those designers and builders to be well versed when they come to DPHA member showrooms.  Associated Sales takes care of the little details - helping to assure displays are current and installed properly, and conducting product knowledge sessions after these new displays are in place.  They also tailor their training so that it can be customized for an individual or for a group. 
Associate Sales also has both inside and outside personnel to better service their showroom partners.  Obtaining information for RGAs, products, technical requirements, quotes and order tracking is only a phone call away to Associated Sales, and this most certainly helps in saving showrooms both time and hassles.  The agency is extremely active in the industry.  It participates with ASID, NKBA AIA, and NARI, while helping to train remodelers which results in additional support for showrooms.  Associated Sales also conducts CEU events with dealers and are actively involved on the Board level with industry organizations.  Few requests are out of bounds, in fact, Associated Sales once drove a sink from California to Arizona to help a showroom out.  
Testimony to the quality of service provided to both manufacturers and showroom can be seen by the longevity of Associated's customer relationships.  The agency has represented four of its major lines for more than 20 years and has repeatedly helped their clients improve their marketing efforts and outreach.  The staff of 10 professionals are passionate about what they do every day and they take great pride in their ability to exceed both manufacturer and showroom expectations.  DPHA is honored to have Associated Sales named as its 2016 Representative Agency of the Year.

A Long Overdue Thank You to Our Education Committee Connections' Authors!

We know from the numerous feedback our readers have given us that most of you look forward to reading the various articles in our weekly issues of Connections, but did you know that over the past three years many of these articles have been written by members of our Education Committee?  It's true!  Since the beginning of 2014, the Showroom Spotlight articles, the 5 Things You May Not Have Known articles and the Helpful Hints articles have all been written by various members of the Education Committee.  So during this final issue of Connections for 2016, we would like to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude to those committee authors who have contributed over the past several years to your reading enjoyment.

  • Garvin Boyd (Designer Hardware and Plumbing)
  • Kate Brady (General Plumbing Supply)
  • Cynthia Carter (Next Generation Marketing)
  • Tony Carter (Carter Hardware)
  • Traci D'Antoni (D'Antoni Sales Group)
  • Bobby Dean (ACS Marketing)
  • Fred Fedewa (Steamist)
  • Fred Felder (Simon's Supply)
  • Kim Frechette (ThermaSol)
  • Cary Hergenrother (LIXIL Brands)
  • Darryl Jones (QuickDrain USA)
  • John Matlack (Level 5 Sales & Marketing)
  • Kaye Powell (Chown Hardware)
  • Jim Van Landingham (Purcell Murray)
  • Kymberly Weiner (Best Plumbing Tile & Stone)
  • Jerry Williams (WMS Decorative Resource)

Thanks again to everyone above for their past articles, and we look forward to more of your entertaining and educational input in Connections in 2017!

Why We Deserve Your Support in 2017

DPHA dues notices will be issued during the first week in January. We are confident that we will continue to deliver the return on your dues investment that DPHA members expect and deserve. Here are just some of the things you can look forward to from your DPHA membership in 2017:
  • The industry's best conference where you not only obtain guidance on how to make your business better, more profitable and rewarding, but also network with the best minds in the industry.
  • The industry's only program that offers formal recognition for decorative plumbing and hardware professionals while boosting staff morale, helping team building and providing defined careers paths for your sales teams.
  • Sales guidance, industry developments and new product announcements weekly in the industry's best weekly eletter, Connections.
  • Updates to existing education program manuals that you can use to train new team members and refresh the skills of existing ones.
  • New/revised education training manuals to help expand your team's skill and provide opportunities to increase merchandise categories.
  • A Product Showcase which is the only venue to reach the leading DPH decision-makers in North America while seeing the latest products offered by trend-setting and market-leading manufacturers.
  • The best network of decorative plumbing and hardware minds in the world.
  • A series of regional meetings that bring networking and practical education to the local level, allowing your team to bond to their industry and learn from peers.
We are confident you will agree that retaining your membership in DPHA provides a return that you will be hard pressed to achieve elsewhere.

This is Not a Bah, Humbug - There is a Star Amongst Us!

Although many of you may think you know Brad Stone of Snyder Diamond (second from the right) fairly well, were you aware that he is also a thespian and singer?  Brad played the lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge in Santiago Canyon College's recent musical production of a Christmas Carol, entitled "Bah, Humbug!"  The reviews from Tinseltown are pouring in, and to say the least, the reactions to Brad's performance have been glowing.  Who knew?  Congratulations Mr. Stone on a job well done!  One thing though - make sure you record the music instrumentals on your smartphone for some of the songs you sang during the show, since the rumor going around the Association now is that you will be giving an encore performance of sorts this June 4-9 during the Jack Fase Annual Fishing Adventure in Mexico.  And that is most definitely not something to be bah-humbugged!

Going to KBIS 2017? Make Sure Your Tour Includes DPHA Manufacturers

If you are going to KBIS, January 10-12, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, please make sure that your tour of the exhibit concourse includes the following DPHA members:
  • AMBA Products - S6068
  • American Standard - W1547
  • Aptations - W1044
  • Artisan Manufacturing Corp. - W1287
  • Berenson Corp. - W1481
  • Brizo - W1928
  • Delta Faucet Co. - W2129
  • DXV by American Standard - W1547
  • Elkay - W355
  • Everpure - W1683
  • Fairmont Designs - W929
  • Franke Kitchen Systems - W2185
  • Grohe - W1547
  • Hardware Resources - W1157
  • Infinity Drain - S4464
  • Kallista - W2000
  • KWC - W2185
  • Lenova - W143
  • LIXIL Water Technology - W1547
  • Native Trails - S4608
  • OMNIA Industries - S5218
  • QuickDrain USA - S6030
  • Richelieu Hardware - S5220
  • Robern - W2000
  • ROHL LLC - W1149
  • Ronbow Corporation - W371
  • The Galley - S4644
  • Top Knobs - W1157
  • TOTO USA - W1329
  • Valley Acrylic - S6007
  • ZEN Design by Solua - S4567

Friday, December 23, 2016

In the Spirit of the Season!

It's that time of year again when we anxiously await St. Nick's arrival and spend time with our family and friends while celebrating the holiday season. Traditionally, we usually publish Connections this week and then skip next week, but yours truly has decided to reverse things this year because:
  • This Sunday is Christmas Day and Saturday is the start of Chanukah, which probably means many of you have already become distracted and won't be opening this issue until sometime next week.
  • Tomorrow is Christmas Eve eve (my personal unofficial designation), which also means most of our readers' places of business have shut down by now, are in the midst of an office party, or you are frantically scrambling to finish up your holiday shopping.
  • Most importantly - I have been informed by my wife of 40 years that giving her more tools for Christmas (I thought varying the colors was a nice touch, but apparently that doesn't matter), appliances for the kitchen or another vacuum cleaner are unacceptable if I want to celebrate the holidays again with her next year, so I guess I too have some last-minute emergency shopping.
So look for the regular issue of Connections next Friday, December 30.  In the meantime, the entire DPHA staff wishes our readers the happiest of holidays and best wishes for a healthy and profitable new year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Triple Dog Dare You!

Many of our readers are under the impression that the DPHA Education Manuals are for people just starting out in our industry. Although that is certainly the target audience for many of our manuals, newcomers are not the only audience or the only demographic that can benefit from the content, sales tips and technical guidance offered in DPHA Education Manuals.

The manuals help showroom sales professionals become better. Taking a second or even third look through the material helps jog memories that make you a better and more trusted advisor to your clients.

The DPHA Education Manuals are also the source for the DPHA Recognition Program, which recognizes DPH showroom professionals for their product knowledge and sales expertise. The program is available only to DPHA members. Each Recognition Program exam is based on information contained in the DPHA Education Program Manuals, and each exam relates to an individual product category (e.g. lavatory faucets, tubs, cabinet hardware, etc.). To be recognized in each category, participants must answer 100% of the questions correctly. DPHA issues certificates to those participants who successfully pass all of the plumbing, hardware and general knowledge programs electronically. For more information on the DPHA Recognition Program, visit the member's side of

So how about trying something during a few of those "kick back" moments during the holidays? Several people (both members and non-members alike) have tried taking our Recognition Program sample test over the past several months, and no one has come even close to passing the test, which includes one question from 21 of our current 22 Recognition Program tests. Needless to say, the results have been entertaining, fun and informative. So go ahead and click here, and see how you do.

As long as you enter your email address correctly, you should get an email almost immediately letting you know your results, and you may take the test as often as you like. The results will be known only to yourself and me (Jim Babbitt), and I know how to keep a secret. On the other hand, if someone successfully completes the sample test on their first attempt, I will be sure to announce that fact in an upcoming issue of Connections.  So sit back, grab another cup of coffee and see how you do. We triple dog dare you!

The Reasons Why Infinity Drain Was Named 2016 Customer Service Department of the Year

The DPHA Customer Service Department of the Year Award recognizes a customer service department based on responsiveness, courtesy, knowledge, their ability to go above and beyond and overall performance.  In his book, Hug Your Customer, former DPHA Conference keynote speaker Jack Mitchell relates that every time a mistake is made it actually represents an opportunity to exceed your customer's expectations.  That mindset is pervasive among the customer service representatives at Infinity Drain.  The dedicated crew has countless stories of customers with problems caused by installation error, missing parts and other problems that Infinity Drain uses to turn lemons into lemonade.  Need a custom solution to fix a problem?  It's not an issue for Infinity Drain; their bottom line goal is to make sure their customers are always happy.

A pillar of Infinity Drain's customer service is that whoever answers the phone can resolve most technical questions they might be presented.  Everyone who works at Infinity Drain understands the technical performance of the company's products, from the comptroller to the warehouse manager, and they are ready to assist if needed.  This serves two purposes.  It reduces wait time for customers - in fact, rarely will anyone be put on hold.  Second, it provides a level of service that most competitors can't match.  The Infinity Drain team has a unique ability to explain technical concepts simply, efficiently and effectively.

Another factor contributing to the success of Infinity Drain's customer service team is the diverse backgrounds of team members.  They come from the showroom, manufacturing and representative sides of the industry.  As such, they have walked in the shoes of many of the customers who call or have had to address customer complaints, and subsequently understand how frustrating it is for someone who has purchased a product that is not functioning properly and can't find a solution.   Infinity Drain has received numerous testimonials from customers who express their heartfelt appreciation after dealing with a company that above all else cares.  It's just another reason that Infinity Drain was recognized as the 2016 DPHA Customer Service Department of the Year.