The high emotions of building.

Working with builders and their clients I can confirm one truth:  building new or remodeling your home is stressful.  (It’s also worth it.)

It will take a tremendous amount of your time.  This might seem obvious to some, but not everyone is ready for that.  It’s an interruption of your life.  The selection and change process is taxing.  Multiple meetings on multiple categories.  Kitchens are a project within a project and will require multiple meetings with your cabinet supplier alone.  You might be asked to pick a granite slab on the actual dock.  Most meetings with be during “work hours.”  You will have to get baby sitters and take off of work often.   Very cool… if you have the time!

You will have to trust your builder.  There are unforseen costs.  That are expensive.  It happens.  Discuss with your builder on how change orders will take place.  Feel comfortable with her answer or don’t build with them.  You BOTH will be happier.

There will be good days and bad days.  Weeks will go by and it will seem like there is no activity.  That is NORMAL.

If you and your builder can anticipate the ride it makes it a lot more enjoyable.

Have fun, it’s one of the largest purchases of your life and you will have to live with it.  That last sentence is both exhilarating and exhausting.  Yep, it’s a roller coaster.  Just like a roller coaster if you are not ready for it, it’s really hard to enjoy it.


– Joel Fleischman.  Joel is the president & Head Coach of the solution providers for Drexel Building Supply.  (   You can follow him on twitter:  @JoelmFleischman.  He has provided solutions for builders and their clients since 1996 and a whole bunch of other stuff that you probably don’t care about.


So… I went to Hot Springs…and Left a Better Person

Our company and particularly our store leaders are drivers.  By that I mean they are driven.  Working until Midnight.  Starting at 5am.  Whatever it takes 24/7.  We’ve been so busy we haven’t even met, even a conference call, for well over 6 months.  Until we went to Hot Springs, NC.  Where CC’s tavern in Wayne WI, meets Door County, WI.  That’s the best way to describe it, even though probably only a few thousand people in the world know what I mean by that.  Country living meets Southern Hospitality.  And throw in the wandering souls doing the Appalachian Trail and that’s… Hot Springs.  (They got cell service 4 years ago.)


Anyways, our leaders at Drexel talk and stay in touch but never did we break bread or anything like that as it got in the way of the day to day needs of our customers and our team.

Never again.  We WILL take a once a year sabbatical, retreat, re-group, re-focus meeting of the minds off site and somewhat off the grid every year as long as I work here.  Simply must.

Why?  It’s kind of like not getting a good night’s sleep.  Sometimes you need to recharge the batteries and connect again.  And remember why you love your co-workers, your career, and well just life in general so much.

In fact a long term company goal is to own a re-treat center so more team members and customers can do this with us.

Why was it so good?  I will limit it to 10 reasons (I could go on forever but will pick the top 10.) This might help anyone entertaining this idea for their company.

1.  The guy.   Ken Wilbanks was perfect for our group.  An industry insider as well as a mentor and guide.  He led us perfectly where we needed to go.  He knew where we were coming from and led us into the unknown future.  Vee, a wonderful leader in her own right, complimented him extremely well in the process.   She is an industry OUTSIDER so the different perspectives on how to grow were perfect.

2.  We worked. (Remember we are driven men!)  8 hour shifts.  3 days.  Of training.  We would of craved even more.  For our group a QUICK and FOCUSED TRIP is perfect.  Some groups I am sure are more laid back.  Be sure to set the right pace for your group.  That’s important.


3. We played.  A little morning fishing.  Some quality time in the hot Springs.  Surrounded by nature.  The fishing was fly fishing.  It was outside our comfort zone.  I think an important element to grow with your team.  Good to do as a group.  Nature is good.    It’s good to RELAX AND CELEBRATE.  It’s needed in life.  And sadly we do forget to do it when we are so “driven” with goals and ideas.  A pause is good.  And moonshine and singing and all sorts of laughs.  I even did the Appalachian Trail.




4.  We took away small action plans.  Don’t take too many ideas away.  People run with too many ideas and choke on em.  Grab a few that you can do.  Makes you feel like you are accomplishing something to go to the next one.  Grab too many and do none and you fail.  And feel like you’ve failed.

5.  We took away big vision plans (3-5 years.) Everyone needs to be on the same page.  Especially leaders.  These sort of moderating trips do just that.  Every time I have done them.

6.  Make others empowered too.  We gave the leaders “left behind” a small reward and they embraced their role.

7.  The right people.  No one in attendance was “on the chopping block” or “didn’t fit in”.   If you have people like that 1) fire them before you go.  2) don’t take them and fire them before you go.   Yeah, I’m not joking.   If they just don’t fit in, fire them.  Life is short.  Hang out with people you like to hang out with.  Don’t expect them to change on a 3 day voyage.


8.  Make it off site but in sight.  Get off the grid but leave just a little time so everyone can check in.  No reason to have anxiety about being away from the world.  Make sure they have wifi!   Make it in sight.   Let your entire team know what you are up to.  Don’t hide it.  And make sure they know WHY you are doing it.   Explain.


9.  Take great notes.  You will forget 99% of what you learned.  Don’t let that fire you lit go out the second you get back into the office.

10.  Dont’ be a tourist.  Be a traveler.  Good general advice.  But try to do what the locals do.  You will learn a little local culture and your trip will be more memorable.  And you can see how your team treats others.  There is learning to be done there too.

View of the early morning from the "Smoky Mountains".  All who wander are not lost...

View of the early morning from the “Smoky Mountains”. All who wander are not lost…

– Joel Fleischman.  Joel is the president & Head Coach of the solution providers for Drexel Building Supply.  (   You can follow him on twitter:  @JoelmFleischman.  He has provided solutions for builders and their clients since 1996 and a whole bunch of other stuff that you probably don’t care about.

What I learned at the Hanley Wood Convention

Sept 26- 2013
(On a train bound to nowhere… um back from Chicago to Milwaukee)

For the last two days I spent my time at a convention in Chicago put on by Hanley Wood for the marketing leaders for manufacturers of building supplies. Here is what I learned and my thoughts there.

It was called Future Forward, Hanley Wood 2013 foundations. #hwfoundations for you twitter freaks, more on that later!

If you are still reading this…you must be in the trades. And welcome!

First, thank you for Pro Sales and Hanley Wood asking me to be on a panel discussion group. They paid for my stay at the Ritz-Carlton as well as a round trip train ticket. Man, I love the train. Get a ton of work done, relax. The ONLY way to travel Mke to Chi in my opinion!

Ok, on to the goods.

The first two speakers were economists and strategists and they focus on the numbers and data of the United States building economy.

Here’s the stats you need to know:

Building index up 11 of 12 months

Increased activity for 6 consecutive quarters

Phoenix is hot.

Good lots are hard to find. The “surplus” of lots is misleading. Good lots are going, going, GONE, in most markets.

Mortgage rates will stay historically low, and even if they go up they will not effect the market until it hits over 12%! That’s splendid news.

Housing recovery is still in its infancy a lot of growth is COMING!


2014 best year since 2007, total spending perspective (residential spending)

2011, spending on construction, falling more than 1/2

Remodeling bigger than new construction

2014 forecasting stronger than this … a year to two year… to surpass…
maintenance sector is growing, and new con finding gas

New home prices up 22%.

Investors helped get rid of homes… % of investor buying slowing so remodeling coming back up.

12%of those surveyed believe we need to be worried about mortgage rates according to hanley wood!

life drives housing NOT the fed
51% change in household size
39% favorable interest rates, gone up prior to this ?
31% simply tired of current home, best indicator of pent up demand 22% said increase in income
NOT your median person

Gen y, rental market strong. gen yers expecting rent to go up 4.2% , they don’t care, they love it and will continue to rent are they planiing to rent or buy? looking to staying rent. they don’t expect to change

24% of the future new home demand is baby boomers, 24%!

baby boomers…
plunking down a lot of cash! active adult community. 75% cash up to all ca$h.

bougie– new catch phrase (what?)
anything upscale, latte instead of coffee it’s so bougie much more upscale buyer


quality is #1 issue when building ! QUALITY, materials significant!

get lucky
share of the largest builders in the country is growing
responsible for over 1/2 of the homes builders
200 largest builders to the 60%! woah.

more for land, means most expensive homes. since land is more, house has to be more.

cost material labor has not kept pace, builders are more profitable.

dealer economic look out. 68% market would be up. 2013 would 81% up up 24%, 83% up over 10%.

location matters… above average madison HOT our market orange (2nd best)

red hot in our areas!

1 mil can’t hold us!
1.16 mil starts 23%
538 new home sales 22%
remodels 7%
600bil 31%

Thank you!
data insights
brad hunter, jonathan spoke

what inning are we in…
better metaphor, a indy race.
2012-13 straightaway
hairpin turn
a skill driver knows to brake during the turn how you manage in the turn will be how you come out

15-20% in a year for home prices cost… fast!

Going to slow next year, competition from more affordable existing homes

Affordabilty WILL suffer

Real up turn in mortgage rate

Entry level, banks loosening up, but down payments coming low (school debt big factor) new kind of g.i. financing…generous in laws

Buying a bigger house now than last time around. Despite all what is happening hasn’t effected volume or home prices…
the haves or our society.

entry level is MISSING yet… kb homes sales are down…because they sell to entry level buyer and home prices up 22%. whew.

how do they deal with mortage rates that are invetible. will they pay less for home? sure…but really what they will rely on …drive til you qualify….

lack of development loans, lot shortages will resolve as funds become available

private builders going public or being acquired. more public builders

the fed has spoken!
the punchbowl is being topped off again, they will not be reducing purchase of bonds. the feds going to taper… no taper. seems like they decided they are too addicted to the financing of America.

Inventories are very very tight in many parts of the country

don’t want to go to 2005 levels. sensible level. 1.5 or 1.6 starts maybe 3 years away

Supply vacant new homes industry spiking. supply was too high.

leading indicator…. was supply

lot supply…. coming down and in fact, lot shortages. 100 months of supply to 45 months supply.

running out of lots…having to buy lots back to peak prices… in some parts of the country

a and b sub markets, lot shortage… most of the supply is spoken for in some markets

lots are being developed. 161k lots to be built, down from a peak of 1mil in 2006. future lot count is 700k

where is it occuring …texas booming phoenix booming.. reno is dead, worst

where is the market headed in 2014?


2/3 of clients think up only 14% look at slow down


luxury homes going up up up

kitchen big opportunity, than bath

architects really got their butt kicked

decidedly they are more optimistic, building index on arch is up 11 consecutive months

more optimistic is office stuff, bread and butter. 28-34% up ward trends

31% of people want to buy a house, tired of house in, means they delayed gratification, means they will REMODEL

sense that homeowners delayed doing something happier place for their family ready to move ahead

2014. residential remodeling, see the big JUMP in custom housing.
small dealers still go to local banks. those banks were regulatory backed away. beginning to rebound, architects are aware of that.

bldg product manufacturer= dealer. contractors architects and builders and contractors every day. optimistic. busy again. busy getting busier. dealers beginning to create inventory again,

200 top builders in the us, 60% of the activity of the usa. 60% closing this year was of the 200 builders.

Big opportunity, double anything else, WINDOWS!

best housing markets, fl, salt lake city, phx, sc, al, dc, nc, co, tx, az (hot!)

remodeling markets
nc, buffalo, stx, tx, tx, tx, tx, nc, ny, ok

least optimistic group is the manufacturers

i am here with the manufacturers


pain is a stressor. numbers may go 22% up in starts in 2014. D E F E N S E.
ADD LABOR! PAIN, DISORDER AND UNCERTAINTY, pain points into opportunities into solutions.


*** social media ***
Day 2. Worked out, had some coffee, you know the usual hotel routine. Didn’t find a wing man the night before, in bed by 10.

@cryswashington gave a really high energy, informative, presentation on how to use social media.

emotional ties
expert insight

How can my brand connect with key decision makers in this space each network has a culture linked in business facebook, community, emotional Triggers, most social of social facebook is to build relationships with people twitter culture is real time information and adding value. Youtube feeds the other social networks, connect with things that are visual VIDEO IS KING FOR CONTENT

1. gather intellegince
* sales research
* listening
2. get found
* keywords
* profiles
3. compliment trade show/magazine ads/purchased media

“filetype search…. xls” home builder association filetype:.xls

go to linked in and ask for introduction via email.
32-49 year olds lives on email.
linkedin message, gen y. social media platforms.
baby boomers gonna have to call em.

use technology to be more efficient, not less

facebook graph or email on google, find their phone number
if you know there first and last name
“joel fleischman” “* ”

active listening campaigns on social media

news breaks first on twitter good or bad

googlealerts (basically free tool track when someone mentions drexel) tweet beep specifically

use both

actively listen to thank people!!! – USE YOUR PERSONAL NAME WHEN USING YOUR BUSINESS FACEBOOK PAGE, ADD THAT TOUCH! (thanks for the message about your windows. – Joel)


social media GET FOUND, low hanging fruit. SHOW UP

concept of key words, linked in runs of key words as well

wonderful to build BACK TO WEBSITE, that’s the hub.
like sending a limo to going to website for a shack.

form partnerships as well.

post testimonials… from contractors MOST EFFECTIVE
installers! installers! installers! ultra lightweight all purpose
joint compound for examples

don’t get caught up in the numbers
b2b numbers smaller, that is ok…

testimonial booth at the expo… ???….!!!!

build and reinforce brand

attach your name. as you post. a really good connection, listen, thanks and use your first name.

measure results

how to do it. SEND MONTHLY SNAP SHOT comments, shares…wonderful and a guage, not sales click throughs, coming from facebook and twitter, etc!
mirror pages, promo or something
promotion redemption
email list growth, track it. own the data.
leads that turn into sales, track it, track it, track it. in house sales, pretty simple, to do spreadsheet on metrics!


taylor made golf guy…. the CEO Mark KING OF GREEN BAY! was next on
sales enablement

good company in future, new bright smart talent and keep it.

when you are trying to move your organization, what gets in way of success, difference speed of which it is changing. managing a business, uncertainty makes it more difficult, lots of pressure.

what is driving successful companies today: CREATIVITY he says the world will never look like it did before.

13 years incredible journey
revenue went up, what did they do to break thru???

fall of 199, he is given the job, parent company adidas i need a 3 year strategic business plan they told him.

300 mil losing money by 2002 we will be in the black. not good enough1

if the leaders of the company say it’s ok to be mediocre, who are we to be.

he said why don’t we become the best performance golf brand in the world.
an environment wants to work in our company… that’s a lot sexier plan

double size of company and be profitable

story 2 reasons:
a lot of it happened. we wouldn’t of done it. gosh, we are going to be great. people starting to be excited about thinking about doing things if you want to drive creativity into your organization. create a gap between aspiration and resource.


from that gap comes all of that new thinking, trying to push the envelope.

any company should not be afraid to aspire to do great things. mark king

“not gonna work” …. “my bat. my ball. my game.”
change the rules of the game

i really think that every industry is waiting to be reinvented. how do i do better, faster, and less expensive.

if you don’t do it differently you are not going to succeed.

stuck at 700mil… so then what, how did they stay on top…

most leaders face this all the time. that’s why you see them rise and fall…
he said the reason the speed of change in market place. legacy systems, if it’s not always in transformative state, going to lose its space.
vision strategy from the top, then execute. great way to control, NOT COOL.
flexibility and speed and new thinking!


where every team member takes control of creating the future. it’s my job to make the company better.

really a difference of command and control. tip it upside down.

EVERY FRIDAY MORNING, category managers come in.
instead of painting metal with black why don’t we paint them white.
i said, because bill has really stupid ideas.

market share went from 35 to 52% with one decision.

without his ability to raise hand it never would of happened…


Innovation can come anywhere…it doesn’t have to be technology!

Don’t accept follow the gender trend. break thru.

Find your white paint. (Taylor Made’s white drivers.) You find it by asking more people to think about it!

think about things … think!

if you want to grow your business,,, there are only 2 ways, steal market share or come up with something different or follow trend.

great companies ARE GREAT because the people that work there are inspired to do great things. #GOOSEBUMPS

unleash the potential!

cant’ be done… do it!

i truly believe… EXTRORDINARY THINGS HAPPEN because leaders have the courage to do it. willing to create a new lense.

distribute leadership, their ideas not your ideas. and takes courage.

He was told by her oldest daughter an over achiever:

Our greatest fear is that we are powerful to beyond measure.

success of the month. an online show and bring people in every month.

huge online social network, start an idea and join in…

more touring professionals play our equip than the other 5 combined.

john daly, i love her a little bit more than i hate her.

take risks, push the envelope. we don’t penalize failure.

That’s the random notes.  Thanks for sticking with me.

– Joel Fleischman.  Joel is the president & solution provider for Drexel Building Supply.  (   You can follow him on twitter:  @JoelmFleischman.  He has provided solutions for builders and their clients since 1996 and a whole bunch of other stuff that you probably don’t care about.


Sent from my iPad