Leadership Letter
March 1st, 2007

March-April 2007

Coverings, CCTS and strategic planning add up to a full agenda

Coverings is just around the corner, April 17-20th. Many of you may be reading this while you are attending the trade show and conference. Others may be reading this before you leave for Chicago or while you are still deciding whether to attend. Trust me. This is one industry event you do not want to miss.

Coverings is much more than a trade show with more than 1,200 exhibitors from over 65 countries. It offers a packed seminar schedule with offerings designed to suit the varied interests of the 33,000+ attendees who include architects and interior designers, builders and remodelers, distributors and retailers, fabricators and installers.

As it has for the past several years CTDA—a Coverings sponsor—was instrumental in developing the seminar track for distributors and retailers. It includes top names like keynote speaker Bernard M. Markstein, III, director of forecasting and assistant staff vice president, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), who will be discussing the new housing market and how it will impact sales of tile and stone; Ed Hudson, also from NAHB and its Research Center, on “Navigating the Softening New Home Market;” Jonathan Trivers will offer two sessions: “Internet—It Must Be in Your Future” and “Floorscape—What She Knows When She Walks in Your Store.”

Other presentations intended to help sharpen marketing and business operations skills include “Merchandise Your Showroom for the Ideal Customer Experience and You Will Sell More Tile” and “Are You Leaving Money on the Table.”

CCTS is a reality

CTDA’s Certified Ceramic Tile Salesperson (CCTS) program continues to grow. Thanks to successful pilot testing last fall, additional testing at the CTDA Management Conference and at Surfaces, the program has already certified 53 professionals. Testing is planned for Coverings and Neo Con in June. Additional testing opportunities are being identified as I write this.

Why CCTS? For individuals, certification provides professional recognition of your industry knowledge and technical competence. For employers, certification promotes your company’s expertise and differentiates your company from the competition. For your customers, certification demonstrates your commitment to providing them with the industry expertise they expect. CCTS is a win-win-win for all participants. I encourage you to pursue the only certification program designed by and for Ceramic Tile Salespeople.

Refining our focus

Strategic planning is something we do annually at my business, as I’m sure many of you do at yours. I believe it helps us refine our focus. We insist on measurable goals, so we know what we’ve accomplished and where we need to go next.

CTDA’s Executive Committee, Committee Chairs and staff have accepted my challenge to engage in long-term strategic planning for the association. I believe strongly in the value of a collaborative effort to define not only our long-term goals, but also the short-term goals to help us reach them.

We are planning an all-day workshop with a professional facilitator in March. We expect this Strategic Planning meeting to result in a long term goal, five to ten years into the future. To achieve that goal, we expect to break the long-term goal down to more manageable intermediate goals for the next three years, and then into more immediate annual goals. All of these goals will be focused on our mission to “provide educational and networking opportunities for distributors of ceramic tile and their suppliers to further the consumption of ceramic tile.” All of this is designed, of course, to bring more and better benefits to you, our members.

I look forward to sharing the outcome of these meetings with you here in the May/June issue of TileDealer.

There has never been a better time to be a member of the CTDA. If you are already a member, you know how your CTDA relationships encourage networking with industry manufacturers and distributors. It’s easy to leverage this networking into better business relationships for your company. If you aren’t a CTDA member, I encourage you to stop by our booth at Coverings, learn more about CTDA, and join.

See you at Coverings!

Doug Miles

CTDA President

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