Until last month, I hadn’t spoken with anyone at the National
Kitchen & Bath Association in a long time probably at least
three years. That’s when I was asked to resign. Not that I did
anything wrong. But after speaking at more than six conventions on
ways to find more customers and increase sales of kitchens and
baths, I was told that the only way they could pay me more than an
honorarium was to resign as a member. I am not making this up. It
was a rule. I had to quit to get paid.
So, after years of looking forward to regular information from
the NKBA and learning about what was going on in the world of
CBD/CKDs, I had to rescind my membership in order to be paid my
(less than exorbitant) fee to speak at the larger chapters, and do
some of the break-out sessions at the conventions.
Then, with all of the personnel changes that ensued, I lost
track of what was going on in the NKBA world.
But information is vital if you want to keep up with current
events. So, not being one to stand still, I decided to give the
NKBA a call a few weeks ago to see if anything had changed. I
wanted to know what was new with the NKBA, and had decided I would
write about it here.
What I found when I called was that just about everyone I had
dealt with in the past was gone. After going through a maze of
voicemails, I hit 0 and asked to talk with the public relations
department. I was transferred, and I got voicemail. I left a
message. No one called back. I called three more times and still
got no response.
I called my editor at K&BDN and asked who might return my
call. She suggested that I call Lili Corman, director of
professional programs. So I called Lili, got voicemail and left a
message. To my surprise, not only did she call me back, she gave me
her home and cell phone numbers in case I had any specific
questions to ask while she was on vacation. I couldn’t believe
Maybe things really had changed at the NKBA.
I made an appointment to meet with her, and she also arranged a
meeting with Sherylin Doyle, AKBD, and Bill Schankel, marketing
director. And I’m really glad I went. Maybe some of the departments
of NKBA are still getting up to speed, but these people really know
what they are doing. They showed me things that 10 years ago were
only in the talking stages. The NKBA’s report is as forward-looking
and professional as any association’s in the country, and the NKBA
Profiles magazine rivals any association publication out there
But, what really stands out is the CKD/CBD certification
programs and the courses offered by the NKBA University. They are
terrific. There are also NKBA-endorsed educational programs at
While other associations are trying to achieve some kind of
accreditation program, not only is NKBA already there, but it has
been there for some time. And it keeps getting better.
Now this certification is something you can really use to create
more business. It can be a great marketing tool.
If your sales and design staff have CBD and CKD certification,
you should absolutely flaunt it.Consumer Reports says to look for a
CKD or CBD when planning your next kitchen or bath. In August 2002,
Consumer Reports stated: “We recommend that you begin a major
remodeling job by consulting a kitchen planner or designer
certified by the National Kitchen & Bath Association.”
CBD and CKD certifications have really come into their own.
Clients know about them. If your people are CBDs and CKDs, put it
on everything you send out, and on your employees’ business cards.
It results in major recognition. It’s like the MBA of kitchen and
Make it a part of your promotions and advertising and marketing
campaigns. Tell your customers. Let them know that you are a cut
above the designers and contractors who are not accredited.
One of the programs I had done for the NKBA in the past was “How
To Find Customers Your Competition Doesn’t Know Exist.” Maybe we’ll
do it again in Las Vegas next year. The bottom line is that
personal promotion is important.
Getting people to like you helps tremendously in winning jobs.
Letting them know you really understand kitchen and bath design and
have their best interest in mind is crucial. Likewise, convincing
them you are one of the best is essential.
Showing your customers your background of education to get
certification could help you accomplish that. Let them know you
can’t just pay a few bucks and get a piece of paper that says
you’re a CBD or CKD. You have to study. You are trained and tested.
You are a professional with the best industry certification there
I think the NKBA has come a long way in the last few years. And,
paraphrasing Groucho Marx, who said, “I am reluctant to join a club
that would have me as a member,” the NKBA is letting me back in. I
have already rejoined. I am happy to be a member of the NKBA, even
though it still has me listed in its book of speakers and programs
for NKBA chapters. I’m looking forward to getting the magazine, the
monthly updates and the information on what’s going on in the
professional world of kitchen and bath design.
I will also do my part. I will help out the NKBA’s public
relations department at no charge. I will get back to anyone who
There’s great potential for anyone getting involved with
kitchens and baths today. And I believe that membership in NKBA can
truly be an asset to your firm.And don’t forget those
accreditations. They can be an invaluable marketing tool for