Best Practices in Hiring

We all know how difficult it is to find and retain top talent in any industry.  While that is certainly a challenge, it is just as important to be mindful of putting the right steps in place to validate that the candidate you selected to work at your company has the experience, education and background you were searching for.  Here are some best practices to follow:

Use a Standard Employment Application

Every employer, whether big or small, should have each candidate complete an employment application.  The application allows for employers to give consistent, due consideration to all applicants about prospective employment opportunities.  It also gives an employer the opportunity to pre-screen and pre-qualify applicants based on the information provided.  Make sure the information you request/require for your applicants is the same across the board regardless of the position they apply for.  It is also important to keep in mind that there are federal and state laws that mandate how long employment applications should be retained for.

Check References

On the employment application, you should ask for a minimum of 2 personal and 2 professional references.  Take the time to contact at least one reference to reconcile the information provided by your candidate about their previous work history, salary, work habits, etc.  If you are not using an employment application to collect this information, it’s ok to ask your candidate to present you with references independent of an employment application.  Pay attention to the tone of voice that the reference uses when answering questions about your candidate.  That may be more important than the content of their words.  For example, when you ask a reference if they would ever consider re-hiring the candidate, listen for pauses.  If they pause and take a deep breath before answering the question, you should listen very closely to their answer.

Background Check

If you are not currently running a background check to verify information about your candidate, you should seriously consider doing so.  There are many background check vendors that offer a la carte services that would be suitable for your business.  If you decide to use a background check as part of the pre-hiring process, remember to ensure that you are following the protocol as established by the EEOC (“Equal Employment Opportunity Commission” – www.eeoc.gov.).  Most companies see an increase in applicant quality when using background checks which allows for less discrepancies with information provided by your candidates.

In addition to those best practices, some employers will ask their candidates to participate in a pre-hire drug screen.  This, too, is helpful in making sure that the person you are hiring is going to be a good steward of your company, use good judgement and most importantly, be reliable and available when they are needed to work.

Remember, a resume is just a marketing piece presented by your candidate.  Verify the information they provided you is accurate.  You can’t go wrong putting one or more of these best practices in place for peace of mind for the success of your business.

Tune in next month for more tips and information on recruiting and retaining your best and brightest employees.

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Are you offering landscape audio solutions?

Now that we’re past Memorial Day, your customers are frequently utilizing their backyards for activities and outdoor entertaining. While you may have set up whole home audio systems for them inside, did you add on a landscape audio system to complete their audio experience? Landscape audio systems offer many benefits for your customers and for custom integrators.

For your customer, a landscape audio system offers the best listening experience outdoors. Small speakers are spaced out around the yard providing music throughout the area at an even volume no matter where they are. Unlike centralized speaker systems, the music will not be overly loud in one area just so that it can be heard in the corners of the yard. The speakers can be placed inconspicuously so that they are not interrupting the landscaping or hanging off structures. A below ground subwoofer provides depth to the sound while being hidden in the foliage.

A customer’s neighbors will also appreciate the landscape audio system. Instead of the sound emanating out from the house towards the yard, the sound points from the outer edges back towards the house. This minimizes the amount of sound that spills into a neighbor’s yard interrupting their music, conversation or serene quiet. Also, as mentioned above, the overall volume of a landscape audio system can be lower while still reaching all corners of the space.

A benefit for the customer and integrator is the scalability of a good landscape audio system. Customers get a system that can be designed specifically to fit the shape and size of their yard, maximizing their enjoyment. Integrators get a single system solution without needing to worry about mixing different products or systems together. This makes it easy for an integrator to design a system and estimate the costs and labor.

Lastly, but not least in importance, landscape audio systems offer great margin opportunities plus installation revenue. Landscape audio is not a typical DIY product, customers want a quality, professional installation. Increase your revenue this summer by adding landscape audio to your company’s offerings.

At DOW, we believe landscape audio has great potential for our customers. To help integrators, DOW has free demo loaner kits available that can be used to prove the amazing audio quality. Experience landscape audio yourself so you can speak confidently to your customers.

RingCentral Offers Partners Additional Support

RingCentral is launching a new venture called the Channel Harmony One to Infinity Program. This program combines the efforts of the Channel and Direct sides of RingCentral, giving partners more sales support than ever before.

Every potential sales opportunity that a partner has can be fully supported by a Direct Rep (also known as Subject Matter Expert) at RingCentral, regardless of the size of the deal. The RingCentral sales representatives have extensive experience in sales and can have a wider array of potential tools to use to help close deals. These could potentially include promotions, discounts (on service and/or phones), spiffs, and more.

The partner also has the option to remain completely neutral in the deal and allow RingCentral to do all of the pitching of the product. Some partners prefer this route, as they would like to keep a consultant style role with their clients. The Subject Matter Experts can go through the entire sales process from start to finish with the client, freeing up the partner to spend time looking for more leads. The Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are categorized based on location, potential deal size, type of company, and other factors.

This is an unprecedented support feature of Partner Programs, and is showing to be very promising for all parties involved. There have already been large-scale deals that have been put through thanks to the combined efforts of the partners and the SMEs at RingCentral. The projected growth of the RingCentral Partner Program is continuing to expand thanks to the launch of the Channel Harmony One to Infinity program.

I Need to Hire Someone… Now What?

One of the biggest challenges faced by employers, both big and small, is the quest to find qualified employees.  An even bigger challenge is finding the right “Fit” for your organization.  With the national unemployment rate at 4.4% (as of April 2017), we are constantly asking ourselves, “Where are all of the reliable, skilled candidates?” When I hire them, are they going to show up for work?”  While the thought of recruiting and looking for new employees can seem like a very daunting task, it doesn’t have to be.  Here are some suggested best practices for recruiting qualified employees to work for you AND your business.

  1. Have a Job Description – Before you recruit your next employee, make sure the role they are going to fulfill for the company is specifically outlined to include daily job duties, who they will report to, their pay status (salary or hourly), schedule (i.e. will they have to work weekends, etc.) Set the expectations up front.  It eliminates any guess work on the back end.
  2. Understand your Cost to Recruit – Do you spend tireless amounts of money putting an advertisement in the local newspaper hoping that your next Employee of the Year is going to walk through the door? If you are, but the results of your efforts are not changing, you need to re-evaluate your approach.  It’s vital to the fiscal health of your organization to use your recruiting budget wisely, so know the audience you’re trying to capture and focus the dollars (and time) there instead.  For example, if you are looking to fill a counter/retail sales role, try reaching out to a local community college to see if they have a job posting board.  Those colleges are very eager to get their recent graduates and/or alumni placed with good employers, so it becomes a win-win for everyone.  Even better, it typically costs nothing!
  3. Spend Time Interviewing – Getting to know the person or people that you are entrusting to help run and grow your business is one of the most important responsibilities you can fulfill.  Before interviewing a candidate for a position, make sure you have an appropriate list of interview questions ready and take the interview slow.  As the interviewer, you have a direct impact on your candidates impressions of the company (and ultimately, their decision to accept an offer). When your body language implies that you’re bored with the discussion (and it’s just not that important),  it doesn’t allow for a healthy discussion about the job requirements, your expectations of them as an employee, etc.  When you show a lack of interest in them, it has the potential to turn into an unhealthy start if you hire them.  Show them around the workplace during the interview and watch their expressions; see how they interact with your existing employees.  You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from body language and taking the interview process slow.

Tune in next month for more tips and information on recruiting and retaining your best and brightest employees.

Sell DISH Today!

Are you looking for another revenue stream for your business? Consider the opportunity DISH can offer you!

DISH offers satellite services and entertainment solutions for everyone. As a retailer, you can offer your customers valuable products that satisfy their entertainment needs. Retailers often become the go-to local source for customers looking for in-home entertainment solutions. To make their retailers successful, DISH provides sales, marketing, and training support with a dedicated team.

There are many opportunities when you’re with DISH. In addition to selling residential services, consider commercial sales opportunities at restaurants, doctor offices, automotive services, fitness centers, and more. DISH offers a variety of programming packages allowing businesses to select what works best for them. When you become a retailer, you get a dedicated Commercial Account Manager who will help your business grow! Earn upfront incentives plus the opportunity for monthly residual revenue.

But the options don’t stop there! With DishLATINO, you can offer packages with 270 channels in Spanish and English. DishLATINO has a strong brand in the rapidly growing Latino segment giving DISH retailers a leg up on the competition. With options like the 2-year price guarantee and the No Commitment option, retailers can offer the best solution for their customers.

DISH gives retailers additional support with marketing and promotion incentives. With all of these- opportunities and incentives, selling DISH is a great option for expanding your business. So what are you waiting for? Apply today!

Become a Vivint.SmartHome Authorized Reseller

Wonderful opportunities with Vivint!

SmartHome Innovators

Are you looking for an opportunity to own your own business or add another product that generates profit for your existing business?  Most Vivint.SmartHome partners we bring on our looking for just that and they find it with Vivint, because of the huge opportunity there is with the increase demand in home owners looking to turn their home into a Smart Home.  More and more home owners are looking to be connected with their most expensive asset and to take advantage of all the conveniences that a smart home offers, like: power savings, security, and comfort.

Opportunity: Try this, Google: Smart Home growth and you will find endless articles and stats showing how this is one of the fastest growing trends with home owners.  You can also look at all the companies trying to get a portion of this industry including Google, Apple, Comcast, and many more.  Why would…

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The Simplicity of Sonos: How an Installer Benefits

For the three months that we have had Sonos speakers in our house, it has surpassed all of our expectations. My wife and I love listening to music, but having the conversation that you want to buy new speakers for multiple rooms in the house is not usually met with enthusiasm. The old stereo wasn’t broke, nothing needed repair, I just had to sell the improved experience that Sonos offers. The fact that the experience over-delivered on what I was pitching is the greatest part.

The ease of setting up the system and connecting all of the speakers to the app was outstanding. No wiring needed, no tools or clean up required. In about 20 minutes, I was ready to listen in multiple rooms in the house. And we now listen from the time we wake up, thanks to the alarm option, until we leave in the morning. When I pull in my driveway after work, I’m turning on Sonos and our Lutron controlled lights through an activity I programmed in the Logitech Harmony app and walking into an environment that is already alive. Sonos has made selecting music and listening in multiple rooms as simple as possible, and I’m enjoying every bit of it.

Now, as an independent installer, how does this benefit you? There are a lot of consumers out there that have the same habits and desire for simplicity as I described above. As a professional, you can do more than just sell them a system, you can sell them the ideal experience. The incredibly easy to use app makes it perfect for everyone in the house. Find out where in the house the customer would like music, get paid for the easy install and showing them how to use the app, and you’ve got a happy customer.

Sonos is consistently ranked among the highest customer approval ratings of any audio/video product. That means your customer will stay happy with the product you sold them. It builds trust in your company that you can provide them with products they will love. This leads to repeat business.

Sonos launched ten years ago in 2005, and 70% of consumers that purchased their first unit in that year are still streaming. That speaks to the lifetime advocates that are being created by that initial purchase. You don’t need to sell the whole home system the first time. As the customer gets more familiar with the Sonos experience, they’ll come back to you for more. Take it a step further by integrating the system with a universal remote from Logitech Harmony to give them a smart home environment to which they’ll want to continue to add products.

Happy customers are likely to lead to referrals. Be sure to leave your business card or a Sonos flyer because your customers are going to talk about it with their friends. I demonstrate Sonos for just about everyone that visits my house, and if they haven’t visited I’ve probably brought it up in discussion with them.

Although Sonos is designed with a level of simplicity that makes the installation consumer friendly, there is a good opportunity for professional installers to be profitable selling it. Sell Sonos to get happy customers, repeat business and referrals for future business.

DIY+: The Value of Installers with DIY Products

A recent article I read by Ron Miller on TechCrunch.com (click here to read) reinforced our recent strategy focus at DOW. In February we unveiled our DIY+ strategy at an open house at our Tampa showroom. DIY+, as you can deduce, refers to do-it-yourself products. The + is the most important part, it represents all that a professional installer brings to the product.  In the connected home, consumers still need, and prefer, professionals to get the most out of every product.

The article recaps an interview of Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman by Andreessen Horowitz partner Scott Weiss at South by Southwest. Kaufman notes that the first issue of connected home products is installation. Many consumers are not comfortable handling the installation of items such as the Nest Learning Thermostat or Lutron lighting control products. There is an opportunity for installers to be profitable selling and installing these products. Professionals have a knowledge and experience advantage over the big box stores whose employees are not likely to be familiar with the installation or operation of these products.

Once these products are installed, the next problem is connecting them to the internet. In the consumer electronics industry we may take it for granted connecting a new product to our home Wi-Fi, but the average consumer is not as adept at navigating these connections. If these products aren’t connected to the internet, they don’t provide the benefits that made the consumer purchase them in the first place. Connecting smart home products is time that adds revenue to your installation.

Connecting the consumer’s new smart home product is just the beginning though. Programming the smart products to work together is another value a professional offers to consumers that want the most from their products. Consumers may have installed a Nest, Lutron Caséta dimmers, and have a universal remote, but that doesn’t make it a smart home. If these products aren’t talking and controlled by a single source, the true benefit is being missed. Owning a universal remote like a Logitech Harmony to only change the channels on a TV is equivalent to using an iPhone to only make and receive calls. For a professional that is familiar with these products the programming is relatively easy and quick. That makes it a very profitable opportunity.

At DOW, we see a lot of potential for our retailers in selling and installing smart home products. Our DIY+ focus is bringing the right products to independent retailers at a time that they can get into the market as it is on the rise. Smart home product adoption is continuing to rise and we intend to help our retailers capture a part of the growth.

Benefits of Using DOW Electronics as Your Distributor

Happy New Year from the DOW Electronics team!

As you are creating your strategy for the new calendar year for sales and the product mix in your store, we want to be sure you understand why DOW is the right choice to help your business grow!

Obviously, we are slightly jaded on this information as we are DOW, but you know that we don’t mess around when it comes down to taking care of our customers, so you can trust that we are giving you the low-down on these issues to ensure you experience long-term success and profitability.  So what makes DOW different…. How are we head and shoulders above any other option? 

  • Quick and Easy Start Up – Many other options require buying many pieces, whether all at once or over a short period of time, to fulfill buy-in requirements. The issue here is you are kind of guessing at what might sell, what might be popular, or how successful you might be in marketing a new technology or device to your customers. Going through DOW allows you to buy as you need product, basically replenishing your stock as you sell down, which is a huge advantage in keeping overhead costs lower and streamlining your inventory.
  • Line requirements – Some require you carry certain products to be able to get other products. Specific head-units must be bought to be able to carry other head units, or some quantity of a product must be purchased to acquire another product. Not so through DOW. A good distributor is a business partner, and a good business partner allows you to customize your stock to your needs. You can pick and choose what you need and when you need it, on all of our lines.
  • Great Pricing All the Time – Don’t believe the hype when it comes to purchasing a large quantity of a product or signing a contract for quarterly or annual product buy-in commitments. These discounts can disappear quickly over a short period of time when the product is sitting on your shelf, and can actually cost you money long-term if you aren’t buying enough to fulfill the contract. A good distributor, like DOW Electronics, offers you the lowest price without any of these requirements or long-term commitments, while providing you with ample product availability and fast shipping to get you the product as you need it.
  • Technical support or other incentives – No one else can offer so many options for technical support for retailers.  The relationships we have cultibvated with our premier manufacturers gives you concierge-level technical and product support whether you buy 1 or 100 of their products. In addition, the DOW outside and inside sales and support teams are the only 12 Volt dedicated team that features MECP Certified Technicians, including a Master Installation Technician. What does this mean to you? It means that we don’t simply hand you off to someone else for support – we are yet another support avenue for you when it comes to needing an answer quickly, and that we absolutely know our products well and can guide you through product compatibility and vehicle installation issues at any time.

So as you are ramping up your plans for 2014, make sure you are making smart product buying decisions and choosing the right business partners so you end this year profitably! DOW Electronics wants you to have HUGE success this year!

DOW Electronics’ Employee Spotlight

In this week’s DOW Electronics’ Employee Spotlight, get to know Cheryl Butler and Don Haas from our DOW Electronics’ Tampa Team. See what they have to say…

 

Cheryl Butler, Inside Sales Representative, Tampa, FL

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How long have you worked at DOW Electronics? Almost 2 wonderful years

What is your favorite part about working at DOW Electronics? The interaction with my retailers and co-workers. I also enjoy the paycheck.

 What do you miss most about being a kid? NO STRESS and no grey hair popping through. LOL

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Losing the football pool to Drew Fischer (DOW Electronics Director of Strategic Sales)! UGH!!! 

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose? Xena the warrior princess. That’s right, I said it. No regrets!

What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received? Best gift would have to be when I swam with the dolphins at Discovery Cove. There is no such thing as a bad gift!!

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? 2004, to spend time with my mom.

What is your favorite sports team? It’s a BUCS life for me!! Definitely cannot stand the EAGLES!!! (cough, cough Issay(DOW Electronics Marketing Representative))

What are some of your favorite things to do? I like to bake with my son and then we like to eat what we bake. J I also like to read when I have time.

 

Don Haas, Inside Sales Representative, Tampa, FL

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How long have you worked at DOW Electronics? 18 years

What is your favorite part about working at DOW Electronics? The great people here at Dow and the neat friends I’ve made making phone calls for 18 years.

What are some of your favorite things to do? Hang out with my kids/grandkids/wife and go to the beach, read, andrelax.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose? Dirk Pitt in the Clive Cussler novels.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever given/received? My parents gave me a 1962 Valiant-that’s a car for all you young folks……

If you could paint a picture of any scenery you’ve seen before, what would you paint? Off the coast of California-the whales rolling in the Pacific Ocean.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been? Holy Land-but I’m going in May of 2014.

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? 1962-I’d like to do better on my driver’s license exam.

What is your favorite sports team? Florida State anything