The Core Customer

You’ve shared that your 2016 business is strong.  As a result, we have made the strategic decision to suspend the addition of new WindsorONE dealers.

TY_VISUALIZATIONS-1

Our top priority is to assure that we remain equipped for the continued growth for those who have been our partners in establishing the WindsorONE (W1) brand. We will support, and grow, the win-win business relationships that W1 is fortunate to have built with each of you: our Core Customers. Investment into California, Virginia and Chilean manufacturing operations will continue, thereby ensuring a consistent supply of a consistent quality product, including capacity increases to sustain your W1 growth.

It has been a demanding 2016 for Windsor Mill as well – starting with a mild winter and greater than expected spring demand, which now continues into summer. Initially, we thought this was simply an acceleration of typical order patterns. However, it now appears overall demand will be greater than we all expected. The W1 order file is strong, and that is because of your growth (same store plus new yards) combined with our new customer growth that we have been targeting for years.

W1 has grown over the years because of your support, and we cannot thank you enough for your commitment. We will continue to build business relationships with our Core Customers that are Built to Last – (one of my favorite business books, e-mail me and I would be happy to send you a copy!).

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly should you have any questions or concerns.

Respectfully,

Craig Flynn

craig@WindsorONE.com – 707-321-8889

Housing Gen Y: The Next Challenge for Cities

Excellent article posted on the Urban Land Institute Web-site, written by John K. McIlwain…

“Each generation has its unique attributes and faces its unique challenges. Generation Y, which consists of young people from their late teens to their early 30s, is no exception. But two facts in particular distinguish it from any previous U.S. generation: it is by most accounts the largest in U.S. history, consisting of some 80 million people or more, and it is by far the most economically challenged since the Great Depression.

Together, these two facts point to a tough challenge for this group—finding housing it can afford.

Today, an unprecedented number of gen-Yers are responding to this housing challenge by living with parents, with roommates, or in university dorms. Indeed, U.S. household formation has dropped to some 400,000 a year, a mere quarter of the pre-recession norm of 1.6 million. (The drop in immigration has caused some, but by no means all, of this remarkable shift.)

Why is gen-Y, now at the prime age for forming new households, staying at home, with roommates, or at school? For one, over 30 percent of this cohort, by some estimates, is unemployed. No job means no money for an apartment or home of one’s own. And while more members of this group have graduated from high school and college than those of previous generations, they are also carrying more school debt—an average of $23,000 per person. Nor is this group saving, but instead is carrying large credit-card debts.

Another bit of bad news comes from studies of past recessions, which show that it can take people coming of age during a recession ten years or more to recover financially. This recession, though declared officially over by economists, is going into its fourth year of high unemployment and low job creation, and wages are actually falling. This suggests that generation Y has a tough road ahead financially and may not get back on its feet until well after this decade is over.

When asked how they want to live, though, members of generation Y responds much as did previous generations. Many want to rent for a while, but a high percentage of gen-Yers want to own their own home eventually. These are the first-time homebuyers needed to restore the housing markets to stability, clean up the overhang of vacant and foreclosed homes, and stimulate new housing production, now stalled at 600,000 a year—one third of pre-recession levels. Financially, however, most of generation Y is in no position to buy a home now nor will be for years to come.

Keep in mind that this is also the next generation of the workforce. Gen-Yers are the entry-level employees needed to keep businesses growing, innovating, and producing. Will they be able to afford to live near jobs now or in the future? Without savings for a downpayment and with parents needing to rebuild retirement accounts, when will they be able to afford to buy a home? With wages falling, will they be able to afford market rents?

This is an issue facing every community that wants its economy to grow in the years ahead. Generation Y is the most mobile generation ever; its members can look for jobs anywhere in the country and the world by simply clicking on the internet. While the jobs come first, this generation is also looking for a good quality of life, which means to them, among other things, housing that is affordable, attractive, and located in walkable neighborhoods near jobs, services, and amenities. Gen-Yers are not looking to move to the now-cheap housing in the foreclosure-devastated exurban culs-de-sac even though that is where housing is most affordable now.

Any city or metropolitan region that cannot provide affordable, walkable, and attractive neighborhoods in which gen-Yers can afford to live will simply lose the best of them to those regions that have such neighborhoods. If they have to “drive ’til they qualify,” as the workforce before them has had to do, gen-Yers are more likely to simply fly off to another city or region.

Simply put, generation Y represents the future of every region’s economy. Attracting and keeping this group requires careful planning and a commitment to develop new mixed-income housing in mixed-use neighborhoods close to the central city and to the surrounding suburban town centers. The time to do this is now, while gen-Yers are still living at home, because when jobs for them do come back, the pent-up demand they represent will move quickly to those regions that are ready for them.”

Source Article Here:  http://urbanland.uli.org/Articles/2010/Nov/McIlwainGenY

SOLID 4th of July Promo

We’re proud that WindsorONE is manufactured in the USA, and that we have sustained over 100 manufacturing jobs in our Country; and the reason this has been possible is because of our Core Customers… that is, the long-standing, dedicated W1 Dealers that have helped build Windsor Mill into what it is today, supporting the quality of our products.

As a thank you, and to continue to build upon win-win business relationships with each of you, we’re offering the following 4th of July Core-Customer-Promotion:

E-mail me two thoughts, and we’ll send you a unit of WindsorONE.  It’s that simple.

  • Thought #1: What’s the best attribute of WindsorONE that you use to sell our products to your customer base, and/or what is it about doing business with Windsor Mill that gives you a strategic advantage?
  • Thought #2: What would you like to see MORE of from us, and/or, what would you like to see us improve upon?

That’s it, that’s all you need to do, and you’ll receive a credit for a unit of WindsorONE on your next purchase.

In addition, if a second person from your organization e-mails me their own Two Thoughts answering the aforementioned, we’ll pay to send someone from your sales staff through Conceptual Selling, Miller Heiman’s impactful customer interaction strategy for winning sales opportunities.

Finally, for each additional person thereafter that e-mails me their Two Thoughts, we’ll send you 25 WindsorONE t-shirts to hand out to your customers.

The purpose of this exercise is to ultimately provide your Company with a better experience from Windsor Mill.  Please send us your well thought-out feedback, we’re taking this very serious, and we’ll listen to and act upon everything you submit.

In Solidarity,

Craig (caflynn@WindsorONE.com)

[This core-customer-promotion is for stocking WindsorONE dealers only; good through the week of July 4th]

The WOMM Manifesto

Some of you have inquired about the up-coming word-of-mouth marketing conference, featured to the right of this blog post.

“Craig, can you help us understand exactly ‘what is’ word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), and why it’s something you’re so passionate about?”

I think WOMM is best described via Andy Sernovtiz’s WOMM Manifesto:

  1. Happy customers are your best advertising. Make people happy.
  2. Marketing is easy: Earn the respect and recommendation of your customers. They will do your marketing for you, for free.
  3. Ethics and good service come first.
  4. UR the UE: You are the user experience (not what your ads say you are).
  5. Negative word of mouth is an opportunity. Listen and learn.
  6. People are already talking. Your only option is to join the conversation.
  7. Be interesting or be invisible.
  8. If it’s not worth talking about, it’s not worth doing.
  9. Make the story of your company a good one.
  10. It is more fun to work at a company that people want to talk about.
  11. Use the power of word of mouth to make businesses treat people better.
  12. Honest marketing makes more money.

Comment below or drop me an e-mail if you’d like us to send you a copy of Andy Sernovitz’s book…

Insights… and VALUE

It was a cold morning at a subway station in Washington D.C. A young man walked through the crowd, opened his violin case, and proceeded to play for 45 minutes.

Thousands of people walked by him, it was rush hour. Only six people stopped to listen. Twenty people threw change into his case, for a total of $32.

What people didn’t know:

  • It was Joshua Bell;
  • playing 6 of the most intricate Bach pieces;
  • on a $3.2 million violin;
  • and 2-days earlier he played in Boston to a sold-out crowd, where ticket prices started at $100/seat.

If people had the above Insights, they would have stopped, and Joshua would have garnered a crowd of hundreds, if not thousands. People walking towards the music could “hear” that the music was different, but their blockers were on… and he was playing for quarters, not $100’s.

What Insights should your prospects & customers know about your company?

Whether you’re in Operations, Procurement, or Sales/Marketing, our job is to create VALUE.

Insights do just that; and remove blockers.

[Joshua Bell in DC Metro a true story]

What’s in Your Sales Toolkit?

Miller Heiman recently released their excellent Annual Sales Best Practices Study, where they detail the best practices of world class selling organizations.

You can find a link to the executive summary of the report here: http://www.millerheiman.com/2010research

Some of the study’s key highlights include:

  • 97 percent of World-Class Sales Organizations know why their customers buy from them.
  • World-Class Sales Organizations are four times more likely to consistently utilize comprehensive prospecting plans.
  • 97 percent of World-Class Sales Organizations have an organizational structure that allows them to adapt to customer’s changing needs.
  • World-Class Sales Organizations are four times more likely to spend adequate time coaching their salespeople.
  • 90 percent World-Class Sales Organizations agree that their salespeople have a solid understanding of our customer’s business needs.
  • World-Class Sales Organizations are four times more likely to have a formal process for executive-to-executive selling.

We’re Miller Heiman clients, and they’ve served us VERY well over the years; I’m more than happy to speak with any of you regarding our experiences.

In Solidarity,

Craig