Free Agency?

In the world of professional sports, there’s much talk about the opportunities open to players as ‘free agents’.  An interesting viewpoint at Top Sales Dog here describes customers as ‘free agents’ whom, it must be expected, are constantly making new discoveries, accessing new information easily, and “do not feel beholden to a salesperson” or to a particular vendor.  It is noted that many buyers do feel a sense of loyalty to their vendors.  “But it’s loyalty that’s freely given, not owed.”  And, if circumstances change, it can vanish in an instant.  The dynamic nature of lumber markets keeps us alert to the reality of change and the implications of what that reality demands in providing effective service aimed at enhancing customer relationships.
Michael Boyette goes on to cite a survey of why customers leave and came up with the following:

  • 3% simply move
  • 6% develop other relationships
  • 9% leave for competitive reasons
  • 14% are dissatisfied with the product or service
  • 68% leave because of an attitude of indifference toward them by the owner, salesperson, or other employee.

The survey results carry with them inherent message of reminder about the importance of aiming constantly at re-earning our customers’ loyalty.

Brand-crashing

“No matter what athletic feats occur at the 2012 London Games, one record has already been broken.  Brands have paid an unprecedented $957 million on official Olympic sponsorships, and the International Olympic Committee is determined to protect that revenue stream by keeping rivals out.”  In an environment where “even logos on hand dryers and toilets in stadium washrooms are being covered up by roving brand police,” marketers are creatively finding  “ever sneakier ways” to get their message out.

Full Story here at Canadian Business.

Night at the Nat

The BC Wholesale Lumber Association had guaranteed us sunshine for the Annual “Night at the Nat” last evening; we can report that an hour prior to the first pitch, the clouds cleared, seemingly on cue!  This wonderful evening at the ballpark for lumber wholesalers and their families, featuring a private barbecue along with plenty of organic salads and a fine selection of icy cold local brews, has easily become a favorite BCWLA event of the year.  Always a hot ticket, it has sold out every year since it began in 2007.  Last night the BCWLA also hosted our friends from North Shore Challenger Baseball, as the Eugene Emeralds swept the Vancouver Canadians in a doubleheader which reportedly included a special appearance by the San Diego Chicken (long after the kids were in bed!).  Another memorable time had by all.

On yer mark.. get set..

London’s Summer Olympics will assemble 10,000 athletes from 205 countries  at Friday’s opening ceremonies.  The next two weeks will no doubt offer thrilling events, broadcast around the world.  It seems like yesterday that we were sharing up close in the excitement when Vancouver was the center of 2010 Olympic fever.

While some quibble as to who hosted the first ‘social media Olympics’, London’s Olympics will, among other things, be cast as the greenest ever.  “The 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium is built from only a tenth of the total steel used for the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing in 2008, while in the velodrome cyclists will race round a track made from sustainably-sourced Siberian Pine.  The organizers are keen to make sure the ‘green’ theme continues beyond the Games’ conclusion on August 12.  Following a clean-up of the River Lea and canals that pass through the site, wildlife is being encouraged to return to wetlands downstream.  Some 300,000 wetland plants have been planted, as well as more than 4,000 trees and 130,000 plants and bulbs in 250 acres of regenerated parkland.”  Source

At the same time, the Olympic ‘brand police’ have been busily making the rounds, doing their best to protect the branding rights that the IOC sells to ‘official sponsors’.  It pretty much precludes any business displaying five Olympic rings on anything, unless you’ve paid for the right to do so.  If a grandmother who knitted a doll’s sweater with rings on it can be ordered to withdraw the offending item from a church charity sale, perhaps it’s not surprising that flower arrangements, bagels, sausages, and baguettes made to resemble Olympic rings or torches are forbidden also.

Good luck to our Canadian women’s soccer team, who kick things off against World Cup champion Japan tomorrow at 9 a.m. Pacific Time!  Let the Games begin!

Less distress?

A column at CNBC.com reminds us the U.S. housing market “has been running on distress for the past year, as investors rush to buy foreclosed properties in order to take advantage of today’s hot rental market.”  What’s newsworthy however, is that the supply of distressed properties for investors to gobble up has dwindled of late – explaining the unexpected 5.4% drop in existing home sales last month.  While on the surface a lower supply of distressed properties might sound like a good thing, the drop is due simply to a delay in processing foreclosures – not a lower rate of foreclosures.  The article delves further, to show how a lack of supply, even of distressed homes, impacts the ability of regular buyers to participate in the recovery.

Boomer Bust?

Amid realities of real estate markets, the impact of major price shifts on seniors can be significant.  The impact is revealed in news today from south of the border, where The Wall Street Journal reports a growing number of older Americans are among the hardest hit in home foreclosures.  More than 1.5 million U.S. homeowners age 50 or older lost their homes to foreclosures (2007 through 2011).  Sixteen percent of mortgages made to this segment of the population, a total of 3.5 million loans, were worth more than the real estate they were used to buy.  “The situation appears even worse for those age 75 and older.”  Details uncovered in the research tell stories both sad and tragic in the cost for older homeowners who often count on home equity to help finance retirement.

Be-man

Many new products have emerged from the MPB-killed forest, no doubt inspired by the pioneers of fashionable Denim Pine, circa 2002 (“the wood that nature colors!”).  The latest?  A one-of-a-kind, blue-stained, beetle-killed pine case for your mobile Apple device.  The Bad Beetle brand features a graffiti-style logo of the beetle, complete with a pair of devil’s horns on its head.  Despite harderblog’s best efforts, Bad Beetle could not be reached for comment today – perhaps too busy taking pre-orders.   At their website here however, the company offers that “when these naughty nemeses invade trees, they create a beautiful, silvery blue stain.  For the tree, it’s curtains.  But for you, it’s a snazzy, insanely eco-friendly Bad Beetle accessory.”