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The Quest to Create #Rockstar Salespeople

Dick Kaiser – one of the original Rockstars training a rock college class circa 2004.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

Henry Ford

Stone: natural; unique; organic; complicated? There are a lot of things about natural stone that get people excited, and there seems to be one thing that often gets people nervous.

Natural = Unique = Unknown = Risk

Something in its natural form is hard to control. How do you take fear or uncertainty away from someone who doesn’t work with what they are selling day in and day out? What makes a salesperson comfortable selling something?

Classroom time is a big part of Rock College training.

No one wants to look stupid in front of their customer right? I understand a lot in the masonry industry and what makes someone want to sell something. Many non-stone options are easier to wrap your head around (in my opinion). Brick, block, cast stone, manufactured stone – once you know a few of the basics it becomes a fairly straightforward sales process. Don’t get me wrong. I know if you go into the weeds with technical details like installation specifics there can be a lot to grasp. The idea and visual behind making the product is pretty easy though. Who didn’t have a Playdough Fun Factory growing up (or at least a good friend you’d always be dying to hang out with). If you weren’t making spaghetti, you were squeezing out some other fun shape.

The satisfaction of Playdough…..
…in adult form!

That’s one reason a man-made product like brick can be easy to understand. Ingredients in – extruded brick out. Salespeople have been training for this since they were 3 years old. Even the idea of manufactured (aka fake) stone is pretty easy to understand. Throw ingredients into your KitchenAid Mixer, pour it into your cake pan, heat it up, frost it….and voila – instant fake stone. Instead of flour, it’s cement and gravel. Instead of frosting, it’s paint colors, dyes, and minerals. Factory production gets you Nailed It! natural stone. Does “stone” made in a Jello mold make you excited? …Me neither.

That brings me back to natural stone. Even if you had a rock tumbler as a kid, I’m guessing you were pretty much clueless about the actual stones. How did they get formed? What made them? Where did they come from? My guess (and I didn’t have a rock tumbler) was most kids just thought, “Hey, this is a really cool looking stone!” Lack of knowledge makes you skittish. That’s why Rock College is the go-to program for anyone in natural stone sales. You can’t just tour a quarry or production facility and consider yourself an expert.

Touring the Saw Shop during the first day of Rock College One.

Buechel Stone has been offering Rock College classes for almost twenty years. In that time, we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work well to maintain the best use of everyone’s time and retention of information. It’s not just about the product knowledge. It’s about learning from others in the industry as well. We make it fun, educational, and memorable. Oh yeah – there is a pre-test and post-test too… you’ll be amazed how much you learn.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Our goal with Rock College One is to make salespeople comfortable with the process of selling natural stone – understand the basics. We explain the lingo that rolls off a seasoned salesperson’s tongue. What makes a product our Country Squire or our Rustic? What’s the basic specs of the product? How thick is Full Veneer/Thin Veneer? How do you determine the weight of a stone? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera….

Then we get into the specifics – tour the quarry and production sites to see a great experience for our Rockstars. Rock College alumni are amazed how much physical work still goes into the process. There aren’t many stones that go straight from quarry to customer. The vast majority still require some amount of work, shaping, and trimming for the final specifications. Even with all the advancements that have occurred, each stone is still 100 percent unique, prepared, and packed with care.

Trimming stone to spec still requires a skilled eye.

Rock College Two was grown out of experience. We used to jam everything into two days. We found this was way too much for everyone to retain the important stuff. So to help, we made Rock College One a day and a half and throttled back on the information we give. This also allows attendees the second half of the second day to travel home and minimize out-of-office time.

Dinner at Rock College is a great time to learn from each other… and have a little fun too!

Rock College Two is very classroom driven. We go through details that take you from a salesperson to a “Rockstar salesperson.” We work through the ABC’s of sales (hit the bricks pal, and beat it ’cause you are going OUT), marketing you as your own brand, and understanding what’s important to architects. It’s more intense and is best when people engage in the discussion. Even though it’s not as glitzy as Rock College One, we find it makes the most confident salesperson. Rock College Two includes the always-popular hands-on installation. We know many people learn best by doing. So that’s a key factor in the process.

Rock College 2 includes hands-on installation.

The saying, “Knowledge is power” is something I truly believe in. I’m so grateful for people that attend Rock College because I know it will make them a better all-around salesperson, not just a better Buechel Stone Rockstar salesperson. Our industry is unique and ever-changing; which is kind of surprising when you think about it. We are working with a product as old as the earth, yet most days I still learn something new. If you are a Buechel Stone Dealer, make sure to find out when our Rock College classes are. Buechel Stone’s mission is to provide the best, most dependable experience in the natural stone industry – guaranteed! We’re confident our Rock College courses will make a Rockstar salesperson out of you as well. Ask your salesperson when new classes are forming (usually spring and fall).

Never Stop Learning!

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