At a recent kickoff meeting at the Hershey, Pa., Holiday Inn, Bayard Sales Corp. unveiled details of Road Rally 2001, the company’s two-week, mid-winter selling effort that sends forth 32 salespeople in 33 Winnebagos to visit flooring product dealers across the Northeast. The rally itself took to the pavement Feb. 26.
Bayard’s annual road show has proven to be a highly effective way to get up close and personal with top customers in a very casual environment. In addition to coffee, doughnuts, sandwiches, and soft drinks, the RVs are stocked with sample product lines -- including vinyl and ceramic tiles, wood, Congoleum resilient flooring, carpet, padding, and adhesives, among others. For every $1,000 in merchandise a retailer purchases, that merchant is entitled to one chance in a Bayard-sponsored raffle for a free “Holiday Trip to Aruba.”
When the Road Rally was first started in 1990, it ran for six weeks and generated $1 million in sales. The goal of this year’s 10-day event, during which the Bayard sales force is expected to visit as many as 700 of the company’s 1,000 active dealer customers, is $5 million in new business. An all-day phone blitz took place on Feb. 23 to prime the marketplace and schedule appointments.
According to Stan Snyder, Bayard’s vice president of sales, the Road Rally brings out a spirit of friendly competition within the sales force. In fact, the leading producer is awarded a trophy at the end of the event. However, the rally also represents a major financial commitment for the organization, costing more than $100,000. Snyder firmly believes the benefits of the investment far outweigh the expense.
“The Road Rally is a great way to jumpstart the year,” he says. “(It’s) a strong momentum builder for us. Everyone at Bayard gets involved to support the sales process. During this critical period, we significantly expand our normal hours of operation to handle the increased influx of orders.”
New Products and PromotionsThe theme of Road Rally 2001 is “We’re On Track.” Bayard has established special promotion pricing on more than 25 lines during the event and will offer many items that were never available in previous rallies. To prepare for an anticipated heavy volume of orders, the company is amassing 30,000 cartons of ceramic tile, 10 truckloads of wood and 1,500 to 2,000 rolls of carpet for shipment within six weeks of purchase.
Bayard Executive Vice President Don Wohlfarth Jr., who provided a history of the Road Rally to open the kickoff meeting, is convinced the 60-year-old company is well positioned for future success. Even though Wohlfarth reports business is good, with Bayard generating $100 million in day-to-day independent sales last year, he continues striving to make the company the best low-cost, logistical product provider in the flooring market.
“There’s nothing equal to the Bayard Road Rally in our industry,” he says. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to support our customers, listen to their needs, and respond with the products they want. It’s another opportunity to ensure customer satisfaction.”