Live and in-person

There’s no question about it: our reality is far more “wired” than ever before. The internet is a formidable tool that has transformed virtually every area of our lives. Search engines give us immediate access to unprecedented amounts of information, and email and text messaging enable us to reach others quickly and easily. Yet, as expedient as these technologies are, their convenience places them a distant second to face-to-face conversations and actually touching and testing new products and materials.

That’s why the internet is a great resource to research products, but it pales in comparison to a physical, bricks-and-mortar showroom for letting builders and homeowners experience a product, live and in-person. And that’s why tens of thousands of residential construction pros leave their homes behind and travel to the International Builders’ Show (IBS) each year. Because not only do they get to see and touch the latest products, they get to learn about them in face-to-face conversations with the manufacturers.

One interesting fact about IBS is that LBM dealers from across the U.S. regularly take advantage of this once-a-year event. In fact, this year more than 3,000 of the 67,000 attendees were LBM dealers. If you haven’t attended before, it’s a great opportunity to see what’s new—and possibly discover a product that’s just what you need to serve your market in the coming year.

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Whether or not you made it to Las Vegas, February 19-21 for this year’s show, I encourage you to peruse our annual roundup of Hot Products from IBS, which begins on page 44. Since space restraints limit the number of products we can include in this issue, watch the Product Picks pages in upcoming issues of LBM Journal for even more notable products we saw at this year’s show. And you may want to mark your calendar for January 21-23 to be in Las Vegas for the 2020 International Builders Show.

While products are a big focus of this edition of LBM Journal, here are some other highlights:

•    Real Issues. Real Answers. The Production Builder Question. In our monthly survey addressing a reader’s challenge, hundreds of readers share their insights and experiences regarding this high-volume customer segment, beginning on page 30.

•    The Invisible Inside Sales Rep. Columnist and leading sales training guru Rick Davis gives an eye-opening assessment that may make you rethink the people in your organization who fill this critical role (page 20).

•    Go Big or Go Home. In this month’s column on page 26, Russ Kathrein, president and CEO of Alexander Lumber examines the leadership role and challenges the way we view commitment.

Speaking of “live and in-person,” both Rick Davis and Russ Kathrein have signed on to share their views at the LBM Strategies Conference 2019 this September 18-20 at the Sheraton Austin. While IBS is the place for new products, LBM Strategies is the place to be when it comes to connecting with other dealers and learning how to improve your business. Register now at LBMStrategies.com to lock in the lowest rate.