This year may become known as the Year for Continuing Education. Why this should be so especially true this year isn’t exactly clear. The need to continually self improve—learn faster, better fabrication techniques; keep abreast of the latest product innovations; discover how to incorporate new design trends into room decors; sharpen sales skills; enhance networking; and improve business management skills at all levels from hiring to reviewing pricing and determining advertising schedules—have been repeated themes throughout the pages of Draperies & Window Coverings since Day 1 (and that’s as we now enter our 23rd year!).
Yet, the need for better-educated decorators, dealers, fabricators and installers
has never been greater. A closer look at the customer who just called or just
walked in might reveal part of why this is so. In many ways that customer is
a whole lot smarter than ever before. Chances are he or she is a member of the
Baby Boomer generation—now considered the largest, wealthiest and best-educated
generation in our history. They are mobile, probably self-employed, expect more
from everything and are more active well into later years than ever before. They
come with a wealth of information, too, from specialized periodicals, 160 satellite
television channels and the World Wide Web. Often, this also means they come
with the notion they can do it themselves.
All this adds up to a tough sell—unless you stay one step ahead of them.
Another quality of Baby Boomers is their insistence on making up their own minds.
They might not know the difference between an off-the-shelf, ready-made product
and a top-quality custom product, but they usually know what they want and when
the facts and benefits are presented to them, they will make their choice.
Fortunately, the opportunities to learn and improve every aspect of business
performance have never been greater, as well. Manufacturers, industry groups
and independent, third party consultants have produced training seminars and
materials covering everything from product displays to in-home sales techniques
to safety benefits. Take advantage of these opportunities and follow along with
D&WC in the months ahead—it’s the best way to ensure a better,
stronger and smarter 2004.