Two of these programs are Quest for Excellence and Discover. Together they reach 60 markets nationwide and work to provide a complete approach to building and improving the window coverings retail business.
On a Quest
Quest for Excellence is a full-day, intensive seminar for groups of 200 or more. When presenting Quest in the 40 major markets that we do each year, we rely on the powerful network of Hunter Douglas fabricators that spans North America from Los Angeles, CA, to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. These fabricators individually sponsor the Quest presentation in their territories.
Since its inception in 1992, more than 17,000 window coverings retailers and decorators have benefited from the program by honing their skills, increasing their knowledge, building their confidence, and positively effecting their bottom lines. Every 18 months Quest takes on an entirely new format, so each time the program passes through an area it provides recent business and product information as well as innovative industry trends.
As director of the Hunter Douglas Customer Education and Development Group, I've seen Quest evolve over the years from a lecture presentation format to an interactive, multimedia production. At the end of each seminar, we collect evaluation forms and record suggestions and comments, using them to revamp the program accordingly.
A New Direction
Entitled New Directions, the newest format for the Quest program offers insights and solutions to managing the many details of running a successful business. It will be launched in Kansas City, KS, on March 5, 1997. Hunter Douglas created New Directions to offer a balance of business, product and design information for the discerning audience.
Rather than listening to lectures, participants learn through case studies, role playing and a panel discussion. We have designed six new, realistic in-home settings as well as taken advantage of the latest technology to develop an innovative multimedia show. A two-screen video presentation enables attendees to visualize real-life working situations encountered in everyday business.
After attending New Directions, participants should be able to create a personal action plan to help bring their businesses to new levels of profitability. New Directions teaches how to better prioritize tasks and make effective use of time while also helping participants understand the competition and target potential customers. They also see first- hand the latest fabric, product, color and design trends as well as sneak previews of the most recent Hunter Douglas products.
Team of Experts
The very best presenters -- internationally-renowned business consultants, design professionals and product experts -- were sought out for the program.
Donna Keeler, manager of training and education for the program, joins me in representing Hunter Douglas and providing product and professional information. Jo Ann Brezette or Nancy Hoover, both retailing and design authorities, provide insight into business, while either Lisa Ford or Melanie Mills examine the relationships retailers and decorators have with customers and how to make the most of them.
In 1996, we expanded our educational efforts to complement the success found with Quest for Excellence. Entitled Discover, the new program has an emphasis on product training in a small group environment.
Enhanced by informative speaker presentations and videos, Discover provides product information and trouble-shooting techniques in an interactive half-day format. The approach is hands-on and the atmosphere bustling! We've limited attendance to a maximum of 75 and seat participants in teams of eight or less at round tables. To further maximize the hands-on experience, each table is given its very own window frame in which products are interchanged throughout the day.
Updated constantly with the latest product information, Discover enables window covering professionals to get a feel for the entire Hunter Douglas product offering. Participants also learn how to solve many of the dilemmas they may encounter on jobs, such as mounting bracket and installation options, matching the right product to specific customer needs and techniques for closing the sale.
The seminars are presented by senior training specialist Lisa Zenner, who was involved with the initial development of the program. She is assisted by Scott Swift, previously of Bytheway's Mfg. in Sacramento, CA, and Dan Debuhr, who has been with the Broomfield, CO-based Hunter Douglas Window Fashions Division for nine years.
Where, When and How
If one or both of these programs are exactly what you need to move a step ahead in your professional life, there's bound to be a seminar in a city close by. Following its launch in Kansas City, the New Directions seminars are scheduled to be held in Salt Lake City, UT, on March 13; Sacramento CA, on March 21; Santa Clara, CA, on March 25; Spokane, WA, on April 1; Portland, OR, on April 8; and Minneapolis, MN, on April 15 with dates soon to be confirmed in Seattle, WA; Chicago, IL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Atlanta, GA; and Denver, CO.
The schedule for the Discover program will be announced on an ongoing basis as the program travels throughout North America.
Ron Spies is director of the Hunter Douglas Customer Education and Development Group. For the times and locations of seminars or to register, contact a Hunter Douglas fabricator or call Hunter Douglas direct at (800) 937-7895. Written registrations can be sent to Quest for Excellence/DISCOVER Registration, One Duette Way, Broomfield, CO 80020.