PODCASTS

Best practices for marketing and selling to architects and designers

Best practices for marketing and selling to architects and designers

Kip talk to Larry Lane President of Lane Sales Incorporated about Best practices for marketing and selling to architects and designers.

 


 

 

Podcast Participants:

Graham Waldrop: Product Director Concora

Kip Rapp: CEO Concora

Larry Lane: President of Lane Sales Incorporated

 

Graham:

Hello folks. And welcome to the Concora Corner, a podcast dedicated to bringing you interviews with people working in the AC and BPM industry. I’m one of your host Graham Waldrop, a director of product here at Concora. Today on the show we’re talking with Larry Lane. Larry is the president of Lane Sales Incorporated and exclusive manufacturers, representative company of quality floor covering products. And they’re pretty much across the entire Eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine. They’ve taken over and they sound like a heck of a company based off this interview with Larry. Larry talks with Kip in a very in-depth manner about his sales process including how to make sure your product stand out on your site, approaching each client in a unique way and how a one-size-fits-all approach with your clients. It’s not the way to do things, it’s a recipe for disaster and has gone the way of the dinosaur. We hope you enjoy today’s interview with Larry, but before we begin, here’s a quick word from our CEO Kip Rapp.


Kip Rapp:

I wanted to thank everyone again for listening to our podcasts. And if you’re interested in knowing more about Concora, we help building product manufacturers get specified and purchase more by providing a great web experience that’s bolted onto your website. It makes it easy for your architects, engineers and contractors to do business online with you. We sum it up as three things. It’s providing a good web experience, good content and good tools. And we have some great tools such as metals, sustainability, project showcases or anything else needed by your design community to specify purchase products. We’d be more than happy to show you a quick demo and you can go to concora.com, concora.com to learn more, read case studies and see how other customers have grown sales with our partnership.

Well, thanks Larry for joining our podcast. I really appreciate it. I know we talked a few weeks ago about some of the interesting things that we could tell our listeners. And definitely fascinated about what you do and your company and how you have a fairly, I wouldn’t say it’s like rare approach, but it’s definitely a special where you focus on your buyer’s needs and their solutions and their problems, objectives and your fascinating kind of business model where you just represent a very particular vertical. And we’re able to really be an expert in that area because even where… My world, Larry, the more advisory and the more trust and substance you have with people and the relationship, it’s a wonderful thing, right? It’s the hardest thing to find people that you can trust and they know what they’re saying. So I was looking forward to hearing your story and what you guys do. So, what we can start off Larry, just introducing yourself, your company, what you guys do, what makes you different?


Larry Lane:

Great. Well, thank you so much for having me on and I’m Larry Lane. We have a company LSI Flooring and we completely focus on the flooring segment. Our business is divided into two divisions. We have a group that calls on thousands of flooring retailers to the trade showrooms, flooring contractors. We highly believe in the value of authorized dealers but that’s very heavily skewed towards residential work both in-stock product as well as made to order as well as custom and more mainstream commercial work. And then we have a separate division that calls on architects and designers and we work to get our product specified for hospitality and commercial applications. And I separate the two because hospitality goes to market one way. Typically, very often is purchased on a direct basis by the hotels or hotel purchasing entities. Unlike all the other segments which generally go out to bid and have an authorized dealer intricately involved in handling the project and ultimately installing products for the end-user.

I didn’t really reinvent the wheel but I did take a different approach. And I would say first, we believe that the concept of selling in the traditional old style is gone. Like is just not successful in today’s world. We believe we’re consultants. We’re here to help, we’re here to guide. A very different kind of approach. And then the second part is that, unlike a direct manufacture representative, where a designer or architect comes with a scenario that needs to be solved, a manufacture representative is going to try to ram that situation, if you will, kind of a circle into a square hole and make sure that something that they have in their bag is going to fit that project.

We don’t have to do that. We represent 14 different manufacturers. We’ve spent almost 19 years accumulating manufacturers that give us access to different types of products, different constructions, different YARN systems, different manufacturing techniques to create this kind of broad range of product. So that when someone comes to us for a project, we can find the right product that will really answer the need. But even more so, we can even create a value engineered scenario where we could do a good, better, best if you will, depending upon what their budgets are and when they need material. So it’s a little bit of a different approach. And the last piece is that thankfully we were already pretty electronic oriented before COVID and the market certainly was moving in that direction but in a slow manner, COVID just put the whole thing on steroids.

And so, the electronic component today in my opinion, is literally vital. I literally feel entities will not survive in this environment long-term if they’re not really quite electronic oriented and we had a great website before. But in the next 60 days, we’re launching a brand new website, which will take this thing to a whole new level. We can talk about that separately. But we were already posting on seven different social media platforms and we were already very actively e-blasting our key accounts with products, with information, with real things that they need today. The fact is that it was helpful that we were already part of the way there.


Kip Rapp:

Well, that’s good stuff, Larry. You said a lot of great things are from the manufacturers you represent, the trusted advisor and kind of the consultative approach and that traditional way of selling is, as you pointed out, dead. The manufacturers that you represent, is it fairly, as you mentioned, custom work? Are they able to be very agile with the solutions you provide or do you have like a standard template that you can figure? Or how does that work?


Larry Lane:

Well, what’s nice is that we don’t have a standard template. Probably our standard template is the key questions that we need to ask upfront as far as the actual application. So we can figure out the level of traffic, when they need material, what the budgets are. We really delve into a series of a half a dozen key questions which really apply to any project. And then, we let that guide us to where we need to go. I believe in focus but a lot of the representatives that I’m aware of typically are very narrow in their focus of product. They may have Solution Dyed Nylon or they may just do higher-end wool products where we have the total breadth within the umbrella of flooring products.

So it really allows us a lot of being able to be agile and kind of flow where we need to, based on what the project needs are. And I’d love to tell you today more than ever, a lot of times a project may start out at one level and by the time you get to the end of the project and ready for something to be purchased, the adoration has changed. Maybe even multiple times. Maybe the budget got lower. All too often, the budget doesn’t seem to go up, it usually goes down. That type of thing. When they need product, we have access literally to thousands of in-stock products. Area rugs alone, we have like 35,000 rugs that we have access to. I let the client and the project guide us.


Kip Rapp:

And so with what you’re saying, are you balanced between residential and commercial, or do you have a majority of one area?

Larry Lane:

No. We really are pretty heavy in both categories. Needless to say, on the residential side, it’s probably a higher quantity of projects that are smaller. Where on the commercial and hospitality side, it may be fewer projects in the course of the year but they tend to be much larger projects. Larger dollars, larger square footage or yardage involved.


Kip Rapp:

Yeah. And as you mentioned with representing the 14 manufacturers, how did you know that that was a great way to go where you become, I’d say deeply consultative in one vertical, versus the traditional model that you were saying with either with manufacture representatives or working with distributors or other, maybe a little different type of business model?


Larry Lane:

I would say a twofold. One, is that I looked at some of the flooring categories that are actually not that old, like machine tufted carpets and rugs. Relatively speaking, of all interior finishing products, is a newer product. I looked at some older, more mature industries. I have some friends that are in tabletop and gift items and some other segments. And I found that unlike in the flooring industry, they deal with a kind of individual sales agent representative working out of their garage or car, was gone and that it had all moved to much more sophisticated professional sales agency groups that had much more depth. And so that’s why I said earlier, I haven’t reinvented the wheel. I looked at what some more mature industries have done.

And I basically copied what I was seeing. That said, I think that I fell into this concept more as a natural extension of my own personality than anything else. And that’s that I really never been that hard push sales person. I’ve always tried to be more consultative and try to fit the needs. Well, once you even attempt to go down that road you literally can’t do it in my opinion, if you’re only representing one company or even just two or three companies. You really have to have the right bag of tools. I just realized that if I was really going to live and breathe this and if our company is going to be able to live and breathe it, then we need to cover… If we’re going to be in the flooring business, we need to cover the flooring segment and then therefore start the search.

Okay. We need a company that works in wool, a company that works in Solution Dyed Nylon, a company that has lots and lots of in-stock products. But then I need flexibility and within flexibility, I break it into two categories, made to order and custom. Made to order is you have an existing product and some companies don’t offer anything other than what they have but they’re readily available immediately, right? So, that has a positive. But then you have other companies that will allow you sure, you can take any of our products and we can do a custom color and I call that made to order. You’re not changing the structure of the product; you’re just customizing it by the color. I call that made to order.

And then you have situations where we need to build something custom. We need to do a special pattern and we need to meet the needs of the application, the level of traffic and we actually need to maybe change the art system. I get shown by the design community, a product that they love for a particular application. And it’s a gorgeous, beautiful product but it’s wool and silk and its hand nodded and it’s quite expensive and it’s going to take nine months to make. They love the look but it’s not going to fit their needs. So having access to what we have is, I can now take that and offer it in different options where we can make it in a construction that’ll be appropriate for the application. Give them the same or similar design intent and meet the needs but ultimately giving them a product that’s completely constructed differently.


Kip Rapp:

Do you lean towards, made to order versus custom?


Larry Lane:

I really don’t. I guess I would say that, while we’re happy to sell something that’s off the shelf, we love doing custom and we love craving something that really answers issues. It’s something we enjoy. It’s therefore, something we seem to do a lot of. I think it makes going back to what sets us apart. It’s like the designer asks the representative, can you do something custom? And yes, absolutely sure, no problem. But meanwhile, they do two custom jobs a year and it’s not their real house. Where with us, we’re doing it every single day. We have multiple custom projects in old, from a variety of manufacturers in different constructions and different YARNs that we’re doing all the time. And so it’s something that we’re very comfortable with.

And I think that the designers that work with us, we make it easier for them. And if you want to talk about, the world we live in today, everybody is busy. There is more to do in a day than anybody can get accomplished. So what do we look for? We look for, how can we get speed efficiency, accuracy and use the least amount of time? What my hope is, that people will come to LSI because where we can help navigate this for them in an easier smoother faster process.


Kip Rapp:

Yeah, that’s awesome. And it certainly sounds more enjoyable to do custom because even with some of the other people I’m talking to Larry, architects have a mind of… Or designers have a unique and a way to advise on the project and creating, I guess, their brand. On top of that, being able to work with people like you, that can… Not only say they do custom and just show them one thing but you can really tailor an advice to their particular objectives or challenges with the litany of manufacturers that you have. So it seems very organic to what they’re looking for. How do you choose manufacturers when you work? Because obviously they’re partners with you and they have to be flexible customized too. I’m sure there’s some retooling involved in, and that may be hard for some manufacturers. So how do you choose that?

 

Larry Lane:

So we have a large checklist. And thankfully today, we’ve got a lot of the main bases covered, so we’re not… In the early years, we were really searching for mills now we’re pretty solid and it has to be something really special and unusual and something that we don’t have. But you go down a checklist to see how financially sound the mill is and tap into references and talk to people that are working with them. And then you go down the list of what kind of stock do you have on the stock products? Not just, oh yeah, we have stock products. Oh, well, that’s great. But do you have one roll on the shelf?

Do you have two rugs sitting on the shelf? Or do you have 30, 50 rugs on the shelf and 10 rolls on the shelf that type of thing. So we go down this whole checklist. It’s just amazing when you run down that checklist, how many don’t cut the mustard. We turn down mills on a regular basis just because they don’t even pass that first list. I feel a responsibility that if I come into a client and I say, we represent X, Y, and Z, that we’ve done our homework. That we’re not bringing them a fly by night company. We’re bringing them a company that we have vetted in a strong way. They are relying that LSI has really done its homework and that we’re not just desperate and just grabbing any manufacturer that wants to hire us but vetting it out and narrowing it down.

Now, once we got past the first initial group of mills, then it started to be a process of, okay, what are we missing? Well, we need carpet tile. So let’s find someone for that category. Or, we need a really strong custom X minister manufacturer. And so we focused on that. And so that’s the last few years we really were focusing on filling out that range of categories. Like I said earlier, trying to get access to more YARN systems and machinery and that type of thing. And then, to the point we are now where pretty much… Anything outside of actual, like stone tile, we’ve stayed away from that one category because that’s kind of a different installation and has different needs. But after that, all the other hard surfaces from wood LVT, laminates, solid wood, engineered wood to all of the carpet categories, to all the area rug categories. And then we even have an understanding of the ancillary products. Like we represent for panning manufacturers, carpet and rug panning companies so that we can fill those needs as well.


Kip Rapp:

I’ve talked to other people, Larry, and I guess they have a fuller control of the supply chain. And it sounds like you have certainly a demand of the supply chain with working with the manufacturers and representing them but do you also do the marketing and the selling and the distribution or do you work with partners for that?

Larry Lane:

I never referred to us as just a sales agency and I never referred to us as sales representatives. I always refer to us as an agency. So yes, I guess we’re involved with the sales process and I try to delineate the word agency because we have 14 representatives and there’s more depth to the company. But I also always refer to the marketing side and this is also one of the winning out processes. If a company, a manufacturer is coming to us, then they really need to be coming to us not only because we understand the sales process but because we will offer them a level of marketing that they just are not going to find from other agents that might be an option for them. We mentioned a little bit earlier, we do all of these electronic things.

These are not activities that the normal just representative or independent agent is going to be doing. For example, we are posting on seven different social media platforms on a constant basis. There are some platforms like Instagram that we’re literally posting every single day. We have a very strong client list and we actively send email blasts to our customers but we’re very targeted. So, we do put out a monthly newsletter but we actually do four newsletters because we tailor it to four different groups, four different segments. Again, people don’t have time. So if they’re going to open up your newsletter, it needs to have content that they can connect with and that’s going to be helpful for them. So we have four different newsletters. We’re about to have a fifth newsletter.

And then we do very targeted email correspondence as needed but specifically targeted. Whether it’s on new products or products that have changed or it may be a blast solely focusing on made to order products or focusing on custom products that type of thing. And then the website is really key. It seems like such a simple thing to me but it’s amazing. We currently have a website, lsiflooring.com, which we get compliments on all the time, which seems to be superior to any of the sales agencies that are out there or agents that are out there. We have a better site than probably half of our manufacturers or more, yet we’re going to be publishing this new website that’s going to be significantly more superior.

It’s amazing how many representative sites will list the mills that they represent but there’s no actual product images on their site. We will have all of our mills images and specifications on the new website. So if a designer is looking for product, they may currently go to multiple sites, go to a mill’s website, search for what they’re looking for, they don’t see it, they got to leave that site. Go to another mill site search, what they’re looking for. Then they have to do that multiple times. With us, they’ll be able to search product from among the entire 14 mills that we represent. We do have the ability where our customers can order swatches 24/7, anytime they want from any of the mills that we represent. So these are just some of the things but we definitely have advanced where we’re going. Again, just to make things easier and faster for our customers to get what they need.

 

Kip Rapp:

Well, that’s awesome. And I appreciate the marketing strategy that you have as being a sales and marketing channel of your manufacturers. Plus, it makes it easier for your customers to do business with you, as you mentioned, with having product information, pictures, being able to order things, having specifications on there. So, that’s good. And it certainly… Talking to others is a challenge because if you’re representing multiple manufacturers, then you have to create that ecosystem of providing good content, right? That changes quite a bit. So how did you figure that out? Because I remember last time you were talking, you have a partner and then you’ve worked hand in hand with your great relationships with your manufacturers to create this partnership. Then it promotes a digital experience that then your end, either commercial or consumers can go there and really get what they need to do business with you.


Larry Lane:

I think the difference is that a lot of people are not electronically savvy, right? And they don’t know how to navigate the world we’re in. So they hire, let’s say a marketing company to do their social media or they hire a company to do their website. And I fell into that same trap. That was at one time what we did but then I spent countless hours trying to get them to understand the nuances of our business, of our industry, of flooring, of design firms, A&D firms’ specifications, all the nuances. And I was very frustrated because we were not giving the content and we were not getting the responses because it wasn’t the right content. It could have been the wording was just off.

What I came to realize is, those companies are very valuable, particularly if you’re not e-commerce oriented for the technical side but not the content side. So we tap into some marketing entities, like we are working with a company to develop the new website but what I found is we needed to do the content. I needed to do the content so that it was the right content for our clients. What they’re looking for, it was using the right terminology, the right wording and would be current to not only the general timeframe we’re in, but like the day. What’s hot right now. What are people really interested in, this week, this day? And so we booked that on and wow, did it make a difference? We’ve won awards two years back to back from constant contact who we use for the e-blasting and the newsletter because we have such an incredibly high open rate. We over the national average and an incredibly high click-through rate.

So, you might send out an e-blast and be happy with 3% open, 5% open. Oh my God, we had 8% open. These are the kinds of numbers that typically people are okay with. Where we get 40, 45, 48% open rates which is just unheard of. And then, click-through, you might be happy to have someone click on something when they get the email, and so you have maybe again, a 2, a 3, a 4 or 5% click-through rate. We get 25%, click-throughs, 27% click-throughs. So, that tells us that we are giving them the right content. And so when we took that on and even like the website, a lot of the content, the wording is really guided by us. We have the tech person, the marketing expert on how to make it happen. But we’re the ones that are driving the content. So we make sure it’s what people need to access.


Kip Rapp:

Yeah, that’s great. It’s kind of a division of the machine of marketing, right. As you mentioned, having really good people that can just manage the email and those campaigns. And then there’s the heart of marketing or the message of marketing called product marketing in a way, right. Where you’re trying to have content that obviously with your consultative type of background and passion, it comes across in your content and where logically, as you mentioned with your high open rates, it’s appealing, it’s attractive. So is that something that you do Larry, or do you have someone that does that for you or yeah. Who does that?


Larry Lane:

Frankly, the content part of it is all me right now?


Kip Rapp:

Well, that’s awesome. That’s definitely a very hard thing to do. And let’s say for our listeners, if they’re struggling with like a 3% or 5% open rate, what would you tell them as far as, hey, if you want to improve this, because you obviously have a method that’s worked in your industry and for your company. So is there like a top one or two things that you would advise them on?


Larry Lane:

The first thing really makes a lot of sense is that the list that you’re working from the distribution list that you’re sending these blasts out to, you have to spend time and energy. It has to have a priority and an importance. We spend a great deal of effort making sure that for every customer, we have the right key contact and we have their correct email address. But we take it a step further. I found that a lot of companies, they’re going to email the resource person at the A&D firms. They’re accustomed to kind of the old gatekeeper type concept. But what I found is, when we took the time to get the names and the emails of the designers and very often we drill down further. If there’s support, hey, let’s put them on the list as well.

So what we’ll do is when we’re emailing a firm, we’re not just emailing the one key contact. We’re emailing as many people as make sense at that company. And I find that a lot of those people are ignored and they never get this information. And so they’re actually happy to be recognized and to get the information. We’re able to see a lot of information on who’s opening our email, who’s clicking through, that type of thing. And I find that that group, they’re so key and important but yet they’re often ignored. So the very first thing is your list. A lot of companies, I think also just do a shotgun approach. They’ll buy a mailing list and it’s so generic and they’re just blasting it out to all these people. And 80% of them or more, just have absolutely no interest in your content.

That’s just never been our approach. We take ownership of our database and we have worked hard over the years to have as good a database as possible so that we’re sending to the right people. It is just 101, the first most important thing. The second thing is you really have to think about your audience. For example, like I said, we do four different newsletters because we’re tailoring it to specific groups of people and the content is different for each one of those. Yeah. There might be half of the newsletter, maybe content that everybody can tap into but then there’s a whole another half where it’s tailored to that particular segment. The old days of a shotgun approach of one-size-fits-all just doesn’t fly anymore.

If you want people to open your email and to look at your content yet, let alone to do it repeatedly. As you keep blasting once a month, you want them to continue to open your newsletter or your e-blast, you’ve got to give them content that they can relate to. That helps them in their everyday business. And I think that we try to focus. I keep talking about speed. People want things easier. They want it to go faster. So we’re always focusing with that angle in mind. Now, the last thing I’ll say is, I see a lot of companies that will overdo it and we’ll just be blasting and blasting and emailing and emailing. And that is not being respectful. I think they view it as just the way you have to do it. But I find that today, sending an email is no different than walking up to somebody to have a conversation.

And you wouldn’t walk up to someone and have a conversation and then talk about something that they had absolutely no interest in. Or and constantly interrupt them and constantly look for those conversations without keeping them in mind. And that’s how I view what we’re doing. And I take it even into our website, are you making it… I keep talking to our web developer, how do we make less clicks to get people to where they need to go? How do we give them an ability if they’re reading something that they want to action on, create a link or something right there? So they can get right to where they need to go faster. This is just the world we live in, whether you like it or not. And I try to tailor our marketing with those. Those are like the three biggest keys.


Kip Rapp:

That’s awesome. Yeah. So good list and think about your audience with targeted content that they want to read and learn and don’t abuse them with too many things, right. It’s fascinating. I agree with all that. And when you’re talking about really giving them content that they want to read, are you saying that that’s fairly about educational in that sense then?


Larry Lane:

Yeah, you could say educational but I think more in terms of practical. Practical to what they would need currently. Though I do find that we are very often emailed with a question, right? They’ve got to issue a project, whatever, and they’re replying to one of our email blasts, one of our newsletters. They’re not sending an independent email to us. They’re like, let me go back to LSI flooring’s newsletter. And then they reply to that with their question.

 

Kip Rapp:

So what’s an example of practical?


Larry Lane:

One certainly key is, we’re in a fashion business. You could just typically grab images, installation shots that you just kind of grab and have, right. And maybe it’s something that you’ve used 20 times before and it’s actually an image from eight years ago. We really look for as current imagery as we possibly can.

We’ll put in new designs that the designers at some of our mills are putting out. We’ll look for current installations. And frankly, I was frustrated how difficult it was to get product images on current new products. So we basically went out and purchased the equipment to have our own little mini photo studio. I needed us to take our photographs of new products ourselves because we just weren’t getting that from the manufacturers. And that has made a real difference. So, you might have someone else that waits for the mill to come out with that imagery, which could be six months, eight months later. Where we get a new product, we’re photographing it the next day and it’s in our social media or in our next newsletter immediately.

If they’re looking at your content and its old designs or old colors, or not fresh they’re less likely to want to gravitate to it. Conversely, if they see that you’re putting out lots of very current content and here’s a product that was introduced on Monday. And it’s in an email to me by Wednesday. I think they’re more apt to say, all right, you know what, that LSI flooring, I want to open the content that they’re putting out.


Kip Rapp:

Well, that was great, Larry. I really appreciate. You seem highly creative and your knowledge and just kind of innovative thought of how to make right for your customers with what they need in the language they have, in the frequency. And then, even if you have these traditional barriers, like you’re mentioning like maybe the manufacturers aren’t able to provide you what you need for the customer, then you’re going out of your way to really make that difference. So that’s really amazing and-


Larry Lane:

Thank you so much.


Kip Rapp:

Yeah. It’s differentiating and you can tell based on your background, you have that kind of very do right by the customer and consultative type of viewpoint and that frames everything that your company does and how you market and how you sell, the manufacturers you select the process you have. And certainly, probably the employees they have, right. I would imagine all that is very culturally based, right?


Larry Lane:

I certainly hope so. It’s certainly my goal. I basically say that most of our group are corporate renegades. We’ve all worked for big corporations and had taken that route but got to a point that we wanted something different. And so we’ve got a really eclectic or co-leader of groups.


Kip Rapp:

Lean and mean and fighting machine for your customers.


Larry Lane:

I think there’s a lot of focus by other companies on the sale process. And sometimes I think that’s not received as well by the clients. I think, I really believe today, they’re looking for people that are going to help them, be consultants, guide them and not push them towards what you have. And there’s still a lot of those types of salespeople out there that just push product. So I think that our approach is so much more disarming and at the end of the day I think they recognize that we are trying to actually help them. And we’re going to help ourselves in the process. We’re going to benefit by that in the long run by not looking at just selling this project today. There are times, luckily rare, that I’m asked about a project and I say, no, this is not something I can help you with but here’s who you can go to.


Kip Rapp:

It’s definitely certainly an evolved process, empathetic and as you were talking about it, you may have characteristics or people are just kind of pressure selling or they only have one product to sell. So they try to fit everything in there. And I’m sure that some of it but then the other bit is just kind of the empathetic approach that you have, which is very good, right? Because then you always genuinely care about who you’re trying to help and solve their problems. And as you mentioned, it disarms them. Part of the team… A lot of people don’t get that, right. If your potential customer like, hey, everyone’s out to get me. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m trying to buy stuff and people are just selling me their stuff. But they may not care what I’m trying to do and I know that’s kind of extreme but I really like your approach to that. So I appreciate it.

 

Larry Lane:

One or two examples pop into my head. One of them would be that a lot of manufacturers I find are trying to bypass the flooring dealers. And I think, they think they’re doing something good. That people want something cheaper and they think if you cut out the middle person, that that’s a good thing. But I often have conversations with designers where they’re trying to push to buy direct from the manufacturer and cut out an authorized dealer. But when you drill into it and say, do you have a place to actually receive this type of merchandise? Let’s say it’s a roll of carpet, to open it up, inspect it. Do you have someone that’s going to be able to bring it to the job site? Do you have someone that understands how to properly measure the job site?

You may have a product that has a pattern in it, do you have someone that’s going to understand that there’s a pattern repeat and how to properly calculate the yardage and where the seams are going to be located? Where are the optimum spots that you can get the right installation but not pay for extra yardage either that understands floor conditions et cetera. There’s just a whole host of reasons why it is so worth working through an appropriate authorized flooring dealer. So that we support these people. We believe that it’s not so much that it’s the dealer, it’s the end-user. The end-user is going to be happier and have a better finished product by working with someone that understands the whole installation process and what’s all really involved.

And I do find that 99.9% of the time, once you start to talk about all the nuances of what’s involved in the project, they immediately realize, there’s no way that we want to take on that liability. We’re not those experts. And yes, it has value to purchase this product via that source. So that’s important. And then the other side of the equation is that we call on a lot of A&D firms that, traditionally are doing commercial type projects but during COVID everyone started to focus on the home. And residential interiors have absolutely exploded right now Many of these design firms have gravitated to doing some residential projects just to get through COVID and we didn’t take the approach and say, oh, no, we’re only commercial so you’ll have to find someone else for those projects.

No, absolutely not. We have all those residential products. We traditionally weren’t working with the A&D community. Really with them or if we were, it was in a very small way and then having the business go through an authorized dealer. But many of these A&D firms are doing residential projects. So we’re helping them. I’m sure it’s just temporary, they’ll probably go back as business goes back to normal, back to all commercial projects. But right now we need it to help them get through COVID. And if getting through COVID is that they have to do some residential design work and we can help them with the products for those projects, why wouldn’t we?


Kip Rapp:

Yeah, well, that’s very noble and it’s certainly a theme of the commercial side struggles a bit because of COVID and then if that’s how they can keep their business in balance and you as a trusted partner, that certainly speaks volumes to the relationship in the future too. And appreciate that you’re able to accommodate to do right by not only the home owner, but your customer. And so that’s great, Larry. So I do want to thank you for your time. And if people wanted to get contact with you or your company, how could they do that, Larry?

 

Larry Lane:

They can certainly go to our website which is lsiflooring.com and they also can certainly email us directly at info@lsiflooring.com and we would be more than happy to help them or guide them in any way that we possibly can. We have expanded. We were originally a kind of core New York tri-state area. We then grew to the Northeast, Delaware to Maine and we have now certain mills that we are representing for all of North America. And we’ve also opened up another sales office in Florida. So we have offices in Long Island, New York. We have a sales office in Manhattan and then we have another sales office now in Pompano Beach in Florida for the state of Florida. And then we have begun putting on salespeople throughout all of North America.


Kip Rapp:

Wow. So you’re ready to conquer the world there.


Larry Lane:

You know why? If there’s the need, I’m happy to fill it. And luckily for us, there seems to be a need. There just seems to be a need for what we’re offering. And of course, as thrilled as can be, that we’re able to grow and help more people.


Kip Rapp:

Well, good stuff. Well, thank you again, Larry. I appreciate your time. And this was a great conversation. I know our listeners will love it. And again, thank you for your time today.


Larry Lane:

Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.


Graham:

All right folks, that wraps us up for today’s show. So you can find our podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify and SoundCloud by searching for the Concora Corner. And if you’d like to, we’d love a rating and a short review, if you listen on Apple, any feedback is appreciated on any of our shows that are coming out or just the show in general, or if you just want to say hello. You can find out more about Concora and our services at www.concora.com. We’re on Facebook at facebook.com/ConcoraLLC. We are on Twitter @concora and you can find us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/Concora. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

Concora is the Web Experience Platform for Building Product Manufacturers.