RPMDA Comes to Boston
MMR was the recipient of the first annual Sandy Feldstein Service Award.
More than 290 print music dealers and suppliers, including 30 first-time attendees gathered in the historic city of Boston for the RPMDA’s (Retail Print Music Dealers Association) annual convention April 23 to 25. Lori Supinie, Senseney Music was installed as the incoming president and Kevin Cranley, Willis Music, was given the organization’s stellar honor, the “Dorothy Award” for his longtime contribution to the print music industry. Denny Senseney, Senseney Music and past recipient of the award, made the presentation. The association also announced a new award, “The Sandy Feldstein Service Award,” in tribute to the late author, educator and print music personality which was given to the music industry publications, MMR, Music Inc., and Music Trades for their support of RPMDA and the print music industry.
Among the convention highlights was a tour of the Robert King Music Sales facilities which houses many historic documents and the company’s original printing press. Danny Rocks, The Rocks Company ably filled in for keynote speaker Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser who was not available due to a death in the family. Kawai America senior vice president Brian Chung, despite the handicap of a strained Achilles tendon, received a standing ovation for his closing address in which he exhorted dealers to partner with educators and complete for music- making’s place in contemporary culture. Chung emphasized the power of telling personal stories to deliver messages of music advocacy.p>
|RPMDA “Best Ideas”|
|A regular feature at the RPMDA convention is a member exchange of “best ideas”conducted by Willis Music’s Kevin Cranley. The following are some of the suggestions”
The annual RPMDA Convention – “Boston Print Party 2008,” as it was dubbed – faced some early hurdles, as Thursday’s scheduled Keynote speaker, Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, was a last-minute cancellation due to the passing of his father the previous afternoon.
Danny Rocks of The Company Rocks stepped up to the plate, however, and spoke to attendees on a number of topics pertaining to achieving success in today’s rapidly evolving business climate. “Never underestimate the power of being small,” he advised independent retailers. “If you’ve ever doubted the ability of something small to have an impact, then you’ve never shared the bed with a mosquito!”
Outlining the numerous ways in which NAMM and similar organizations can help provide sellers of all sizes with the resources necessary to succeed, Rocks continually pointed to the need to embrace any and all tools available in today’s marketplace: “The world is changing – and fast,” he noted. “Don’t be in denial about the realities of who your consumers are and who your employees are.” Danny offered that in any business today, the formula for success is; “Event + Reaction = Outcome… you react – or don’t react – to changes in the world around you will determine your own outcome.”
The Christian Market: Seven Steps to Success
Mark Cabaniss, president of Shawnee Press, Inc., and Joe Keith, founder of MusicMart, led an hour-long session on succeeding in selling Christian choral keyboard and vocal folios.
Mark began the presentation by pointing out that in 2006, a record 54.2 million Christian and gospel CDs, cassettes, digital albums and digital tracks were sold. He noted that, “this shows that while illegal copying and downloading are hurting sales of all recorded music, the Christian and Gospel market are still flourishing. And even better yet, the print music industry is not as directly affected by piracy as other markets.”
“Print music is growing while record stores are declining,” said Cabaniss. “Yes, record sales are sliding, but people are still singing in church.” Perhaps the first order of business in building a strong client base is understanding who potential clients are in terms of denominational and cultural backgrounds, and having staff on hand who can relate directly to them. Targeting the right products to the right markets is key.
Joe Keith continued the session by speaking of ways to reach the customer. One method he mentioned was hosting reading sessions on location. “Walk-in sales are decreasing,” he states. “Now, you have to go to your customer.” He also noted that dealers should be cognizant of the location of the session – don’t use a space you can’t fill – time of day – Keith found evening to be best – the hiring of an accompanist – make sure this person isn’t simply a pianist, as there is a big difference – and finally, “hire the clinician who is most appealing to your three best customers.”
|Danny Rocks of The Company Rocks||Lori Supinie addresses the members as the new RPMDA president.|
Company Culture: Your Key to Growth and Profitability
George Hines, founder of George’s Music Stores, presented a session titled “Corporate Culture: Your Key to Growth and Profitability,” in which he outlined the four necessary steps to building a positive and successful corporate culture. Each stage in the process — determining, defining, communicating, and measuring— was punctuated with numerous examples from Hines’ own business.
According to the presenter, “It starts with the four ‘P’s to differentiating your culture: product, price, people, and process.” He went on to say that with the increase of online sales, product and price are no longer the major selling point for many music retailers.Therefore, to build a solid customer base it is increasingly necessary to create a positive experience for the consumer through knowledgeable, happy salespeople, and a smooth transaction process.
This transformation is achieved by determining a company’s current corporate culture, defining what it should be, communicating this new credo effectively and continuously to every employee, and finally measuring the effectiveness with which the mission statement is being carried out. A few of the metrics Hines mentions for the final step include having a clear definition of short-term and long-term goals, weekly and monthly self- and peer assessment, the occasional employment of “secret shoppers,” and using door counters to track foot traffic flow and sale-per-customer data.
Next year’s convention will be held in Salt Lake City April 29-May 2.