Distributors Adopt CCTS for Training and More
July 2nd, 2008

July-August 2008

If you’re considering making the Certified Ceramic Tile Salesperson (CCTS) a big part of your company’s training program, you’re not alone. More and more industry leaders are coming to the same conclusion—CCTS offers the opportunity to quantify and demonstrate knowledge of ceramic tile products and installation. At a time when every sale is important and differentiating your company from the competition is key, developing and quantifying the industry knowledge of your sales staff can add real value.

Harold Yarborough, Vice President of D&B Tile Distributors, Sunrise, Florida, is hoping 35 employees take the test late this summer. “You can’t put it in a cash register,” says Yarborough. “But I believe the investment now will pay off later.”

John Zolman, Sales & Marketing Manager for Miles Distributors, Inc., South Bend, Indiana, believes the benefits are essentially two-fold. First, he likes the idea of offering industry education and the sense of accomplishment it breeds in his employees. Second, he recognizes it has a long-term impact in the industry. He points out that certifications in many industries, like kitchen and bath, carry a lot of weight with buyers and the public in general. CCTS may be new, but as more industry pros earn that designation, it has more and more value.

CCTS is about industry education
The Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) designed the CCTS program to deliver knowledgeable, professional service to the customer, to quantify the considerable expertise of the salesperson/dealer, and to promote quality manufactured materials. Certification distinguishes the professional and documents his or her expertise.

Any educational opportunity requires a big commitment, says Zolman, who also recognizes the sense of accomplishment of those employees who meet that challenge.

Yarborough is clear about what he sees as the value of industry education. “Our focus is always on educating our staff and our customers…I think that’s a big part of our success and our longevity.”

Making CCTS a company-wide priority
CTDA members are increasingly recognizing the impact the CCTS designation can have, particularly in their showrooms. Zolman expects to have twenty employees taking the CCTS later this year, including outside sales professionals, counter people and managers. Zolman, who has already passed the CCTS exam, has a few challenges in helping his staff prepare for the exam. Because Miles Distributors is so wide-spread geographically—from Bowling Green, Kentucky, to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—he says the candidates will work in study groups, then travel to one location for the testing.

Although group study is not for everyone, anecdotal evidence suggests that study groups are helpful to CCTS candidates. They allow participants to pool their knowledge as they work through various sections of the materials, sharing their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Everyone benefits from the “we’re-all-in-this-together” mindset.

One of the challenges of the program is learning to use all of the resources including the TCNA Handbook and applicable ASTM standards. (The CCTS exam is an open-book test.) For those who are not already familiar with the materials, it’s a process that’s often easier in a group.

The Next Step
CCTS is proof of the professionalism of your staff. They have been trained and tested and have the skills to best serve your customers. Now the question is—what are you waiting for? To learn more about the Certified Ceramic Tile Salesperson program, please visit the CTDA website at www.ctdahome.org.

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