Subscribe to our newsletters & stay updated
The Luxury Products Group has launched Concourse, an exclusive web-based platform designed to give showroom owners access to important resources to become even more competitive. This is the latest in an ongoing series of new leading-edge programs and benefits designed to strengthen Luxury Products Group members’ positions in their markets.
The multi-level Concourse solutions gives owners a confidential platform to connect with each other and top-line resources to help them maximize the effectiveness of their leadership, business planning and marketing efforts. It also offers well-constructed templates and guidelines to help owners explore critical areas like coaching, financials and vendor engagement in greater depth — but with a refined lens.
What Is Concourse?
Concourse is comprised of three aviation-themed categories with multiple segments that provide a broad reach through nearly every facet of showroom businesses. Most segments are now available, and several more will be introduced in 2021.
The Jetway is a private space for owners to connect with each other. It includes The Executive Lounge, which is a discussion forum for owners. A Kiosk of suggested reading materials, including favorites from LPG Executive Director Jeff MacDowell and Marketing Director Francesca Anne Messina.
Airspace offers support for business management and finance including The Art of Buying or Selling a Showroom, Sales and Marketing Resources and a Business Planner.
The Air Traffic Control section focuses on human resources and hiring with tools to support Coaching Employees, Hiring Employees, and Compensating Employees.
Showroom owners can access free and paid coaching assessments through Concourse. They are encouraged to consider the tone of their communications with their team and to have more conversations than just annual employee reviews. Instead, Concourse helps owners discover how they can provide more consistent and constructive feedback, motivation and support.
That is especially important since Millennials, who will soon make up the largest generation in the workforce, perform best in a culture of openness with frequent positive and constructive feedback. It builds a sense of mutual trust and respect and the empowerment of employees — which can help them think outside their comfort zone and lead to innovative ideas that will improve the business’ performance.
Concourse shares guidelines for writing employee reviews, as well as several review templates. It also includes links to four different personality and assessment tests that owners can use for both new recruits and veteran staff.
As Kevin Castelo, general manager of Ultra Design Center in Denver, and Luxury Products Group advisory committee member noted, “The Employee Coaching section of the Concourse will be valuable and impactful to our business. We are a people business and we live and die based on the capabilities of our team. Finding and hiring great people is a start, but then they must be continually encouraged to grow and become the best version of themselves.”
Castelo added that he’s eager to see the Employee Compensation section when it launches.
“It’s hard to benchmark and determine best practices since compensation is such a sensitive subject,” he said.
Perhaps one of the most essential segments of Concourse is the Business Planner, which includes multiple tools that owners can used to create a written business plan. The platform encourages every showroom to have a written business plan and identifies several essential reasons it is so important including the following:
• Previously unstated/hidden assumptions can be brought to light when assessing each element of the plan.
• It reduces the risk of investing in the wrong opportunities that don’t align with the plan.
• When necessary, re-positioning the business can be done more easily by rewriting the plan with strategies to deal with changing market conditions.
Francesca Anne Messina, responsible for marketing at training at Luxury Products Group, was heavily involved in the development of the Concourse solution. “It was very important to us that this be a private resource for showroom owners,” she said. “Executives long for opportunities to have exclusive confidential conversations with their peers, and Concourse gives them a dynamic platform to do that.”
She also noted that continual evolving changes in the market in recent years have made the showroom business more competitive than ever. One of the trends she is seeing among LPG members is a return to focusing on their local markets and hyper local marketing initiatives to drive business.
“Concourse is a great tool for owners who want to develop marketing plans that will attract and touch local customers rather than trying to cast a wider net and compete with online retailers,” Messina added. “During this pandemic there has been a very vocal push to ‘shop local’ and it’s important that showrooms capitalize on that opportunity. The products and services luxury showrooms offer are in a completely different category than the massive e-tailer websites.”
As she described, success — profitability — really comes down to ROI. And that can be boosted with Concourse’s tools that gauge and measure a variety of marketing efforts. There are templates for traffic logs, financial terms, standard checklists, vendor assessments and score cards, social media content options and an annual marketing campaign planner.
Castello believes utilizing Concourse will be instrumental in helping owners develop even more strategic leadership to guide their businesses in the years ahead.
“The decorative plumbing industry is constantly evolving and our businesses need to also evolve to remain relevant,” he said. “As an owner and manager it's easy to get drawn into the minutiae of everyday processes and issues. Concourse provides not only a reminder of the need to think systematically about a business strategy, but the resources to put it into practice. Without implementation, it doesn't impact or improve on the business.”