Building connections

Rick Schumacher

As I write this, LBM Strategies Conference 2019 is in the rearview mirror. Many of our industry’s leading thinkers—and doers—were there to share their stories, to learn from other industry pros, and to connect with others who do what they do. It may not sound that impressive, until you consider the street-level impact of what happens after the event.

•    Two dealers who connected at the event both learned that the other has found a solution to a particularly tough challenge. They’re planning to visit each other’s yards and share their strategies.

•    One seasoned dealer shared with me the pages of notes taken during the event, and was anxious to immediately implement some of the gross margin strategies learned during a session by Bill Lee, Lanny Moore, Jr., and Jim Sobeck.

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•    Rick Davis, our industry’s leading sales trainer/consultant, launched a pre-release version of his latest book, “Sales Economics.” His presentation focused on the main themes from the book—which represent fresh thinking that’s sure to deliver bottom-line results.

It’s appropriate that this year’s event coincided with LAT’s Dealer Roundtables, which were held at the same facility. After all, whenever smart dealers get together, whether it’s at an association event or a high-level networking conference, amazing things happen. I’m a big believer in connections, because I’ve seen how dealers who make time to connect with other dealers tend to outperform the competition.

Grant Leavitt summed up the basic math behind this concept in his presentation. “If two dealers give each other one dollar, they each still have a dollar. However, if two dealers give each other an idea, they each have two ideas.” People in our industry must know this intuitively, because how else to explain the open sharing of ideas to help others succeed?

Every issue of LBM Journal, and for that matter, everything we do, is focused on the sharing of ideas. The simple fact is that if you and other readers weren’t willing to share, there’d be no LBM Journal.

I’d like to close by sharing something I posted to LinkedIn after our event: “Back in the office after spending last week in Austin, Texas for LBM Strategies Conference 2019, I’m feeling very thankful. Thankful to the 100+ LBM dealers who took time away from their companies to attend. Thankful to the 20+ presenters and panelists—mostly LBM dealers themselves—for sharing their insights and experiences. Thankful to the sponsors whose financial support makes the annual event possible. And thankful for my colleagues—the LBM Journal team—who are, without question, the best in the business.

“When I joined the LBM industry back in 1990, I knew nothing about lumber and building materials—and had no idea of the depth and strength of the LBM community. Today, I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

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