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Culture-Building, Service Excellence, and Sales Skills Development Intertwine to Create a Competitive Edge for Capital Lighting & Supply
Culture-Building, Service Excellence, and Sales Skills Development Intertwine to Create a Competitive Edge for Capital Lighting & Supply
Culture-Building, Service Excellence, and Sales Skills Development Intertwine to Create a Competitive Edge for Capital Lighting & Supply
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Culture-Building, Service Excellence, and Sales Skills Development Intertwine to Create a Competitive Edge for Capital Lighting & Supply

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Global electrical distributor Capital Lighting & Supply wanted to unite and better educate its workforce on providing solutions to customers. Company executives credit their gross margin increases and …

Global electrical distributor Capital Lighting & Supply wanted to unite and better educate its workforce on providing solutions to customers. Company executives credit their gross margin increases and unified, service-focused culture to the leadership and sales skills training delivered to their team. Learn about their success here.

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  • 1. Culture-Building, Service Excellence and Sales Skills Development Intertwine to Create a Competitive Edge for Capital Lighting & Supply Popular counter-culture comedian George Carlin once noted that “electricity is really just organized lightning,” which fittingly describes how electrical products distributor Capital Lighting & Supply became a more formidable competitor in its price- and service-sensitive business. Company executives credit its gross margin increas- es and unified, service-focused culture to leadership development and sales skills training delivered to its executives, sales and service personnel by AchieveGlobal, an international performance improvement company.COMPANY: Capital Lighting & Supply “We knew if we could get our people better educat-Industry: ed about our products and how to present them asManufacturing/Distribution solutions to our customers’ needs then we would be stronger in the marketplace and a more successfulStrategy: organization,” noted John Hardy, president ofAfter a series of acquisitions, create a Capital Lighting & Supply, part of the Soneparunited culture and grow profit margins group, the world’s largest privately-held electricalImplementation: distributor.All key stakeholders become involved inan intensive program to develop key Creating a common cultureleadership and sales skills Acquired by Sonepar in 2000 as part of an industry-Training Population: wide consolidation, Capital Lighting & Supply pro-Branch managers, salespeople and vides electrical products, lighting, and services tofront-line delivery personnel contractors, builders, and end-users in the Mid- Atlantic States. It services its customers from 21Results: locations throughout Maryland and Virginia and1.5% margin increase in gross margin, from its 220,000 square foot headquarters and cen-attributable directly to the AchieveGlobal tral distribution center in Upper Marlboro, MD. Itsprograms mission is to be the electrical distributor of choice.
  • 2. Sharpening strategic selling skills Branch managers and their sales people also sharpened their selling skills through AchieveGlobal’s Professional Selling Skills and Professional Sales Coaching programs. Front-line delivery personnel were developed John Hardy, CEO (left) and Tim McGowan, as well, participating in customer service pro- grams Reaching for Stellar Service and VP of Corporate Development (right) Healing Customer Relationships. As a result, these front-line people are betterBy 2003 Capital Lighting had itself acquired able to deliver a higher level of leadership,five competitors, each firm bringing with it sales results and customer service, successful-into the fold a unique culture that Hardy and ly differentiating Capital Lighting & SupplyTim McGowan, vice president, Corporate in this commodity-oriented industry.Development, knew had to be unified andthen united. “Our managers are great technicians, but they lacked depth in frontline management,”“We wanted to reinforce and establish a com- McGowan said. “They had not been formallymon culture,” McGowan said. “And once we trained on sales processes and selling to sup-did that, establish goals that would align the port the growth of the organization. Weorganization and build a bench of people found the AchieveGlobal provided the perfectquickly and profitably to meet the challenges fit for these objectives.”of this rapidly changing business.” As with many distributor-type businesses,To build Capital Lighting’s unified culture, Capital Lighting’s primary contact with cus-AchieveGlobal introduced the company’s tomers – electrical contractors on a job site –branch managers to a two-day seminar is through its parts delivery personnel.designed to help them better understand and “These guys are more than drivers; they’resharpen basic communications skills. really our customer service agents. A vitalReinforcing that seminar were follow-up pro- link in achieving our mission, their daily con-grams delivered one-on-one, in small groups tact with our market can make or break theand online. Those programs further devel- impression the customer has about our com-oped such leadership skills as delegating, pany,” said McGowan.developing others, evaluating performanceand handling difficult people. In addition to sharpening employee’s business skills, AchieveGlobal training whettedAchieveGlobal programs included: appetites for self-learning as means to career enrichment, all part of Capital Lighting’s goal• Interpersonal Managing Skills and follow- of unifying its culture and creating an organi- up programs zation enthusiastic about its business.• Principles and Qualities of Genuine Leadership “AchieveGlobal has helped us create an• Clarifying Performance Expectations incredible culture change, especially as we’ve• Delegating for Shared Success woven the cultures of the various companies we’ve acquired into a unified awareness that• The Hallmarks of Supervisory Success we are no longer a bunch of small businesses• Developing Others but a big company,” McGowan said.© 2008 AchieveGlobal, Inc. www.achieveglobal.com
  • 3. Hardy agreed. “We see this in how our people From a holistic perspective, the training has paidhave changed their interest in continual learning to off handsomely as well. “Our people are learningbe successful, in their use of these new skills on the that they’re truly the engine that drives the busi-job and in their attitudes toward how they ness, and this kind of education investment provesapproach their jobs. Our new culture is making a to them we care and that we’re willing to invest inhuge difference.” them,” Hardy noted. “Reinforcing our common culture has gotten ourResults drive ‘huge’ margin increase people marching in the same direction,” McGowanThe results of Capital Lighting’s culture and sales added, “and it has created momentum. We all nowperformance efforts are paying off nicely, share the same vocabulary, behaviors and attitudesMcGowan noted. “We’re enjoying a 1.5 percent reinforced by AchieveGlobal’s programs, and thatincrease in in-stock product gross margin, directly enthusiasm has had a huge impact on how we doattributable to the AchieveGlobal programs. We business. How do you put a price tag on that?”are a $225 million company with in-stock salesrepresenting 65 percent of our business. That’s a$2 million to $2.25 million gross margin increase.This is huge, huge! And we spent something like$150,000 total for first-year training, so that’spretty good ROI.”Developing the 21st Century Workforce.8875 Hidden River Parkway, Suite 400, Tampa, FL 33637-1034Tel: 1.800.456.9390 | Fax: 813.631.5796

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