AB Dealer News

Exclusively for Allan Block Distribution Partners

Q2 2018 Issue

Join us:

Allan Block

training opportunities

ABU Online

ABU Online for Dealers is a simple webinar training platform we created to assist you in your sales efforts. Registration is easy, and participation will be quick and efficient. Simply review the topics and times below, click the event that best fits your schedule and enter your name and email address to complete the process. You should receive an email upon completion including the calendar information for your benefit.

Upcoming Events:

AB Retaining Wall Estimating

This month we will be training on retaining wall estimating with our AB Estimating Tool along with the AB Retaining Wall App. Learn or become more efficient with these tools to help you with your sales efforts.
May 9, 2018 (30 min)

AB Courtyard Estimating

This training is on AB Courtyard patio wall estimating with our AB Estimating Tool along with the AB Courtyard Wall App. Learn or become more efficient with these tools to help you with your sales efforts.
June 13, 2018 (30 min)

AB Courtyard Patio Packages

Learn more about these pre-designed patio's and how to use them to sell up to your customers
July 11, 2018 (30 min)

The AB 3D Modeling Program

Take your designs to the next level - learn about how to take a project from 2D drawing to a 3D masterpiece
August 8, 2018 (30 min)

But Wait...There's More!

Can’t wait until the next ABU Online event? Call us today (800) 899-5309 to schedule a one-on-one tutorial with us!

Want to access more training and information? Sign Up for the Dealer Portal

Dealer Resource Portal

In this Issue:

New at Allan Block: ABU Online

As we head into spring, we are adding another component to our educational platform for our dealer partners. To compliment and support our core training at Dealer ABU, we are adding ABU Online this spring.

What is ABU Online: This will be a webinar training platform that will provide you knowledge or help you freshen up on our tools, programs and products that will help you sell more AB material. Topics will include:


  1. AB Retaining Wall Estimating Tool and R/W App
  2. AB Courtyard Estimating Tool and CY App
  3. AB Courtyard Patio Packages
  4. 3D Modeling Program
  5. Many more……

When will this event be: Beginning in May, we will host an event on the second Wednesday of each month. We will hold two events at 10 AM CST and 2 PM CST to make the trainings extremely accessible for everyone.

How will you register: Look left now! You will see a column named “ABU Online” and upcoming topics will be there for your benefit. You can register by simply clicking the link included for the time that works for you. In addition, feel free to email or call us to receive a direct invite.

How long will these be: We will try to keep these to 30-minute modules so you can quickly get back to your busy day.

What is Instagram and Why is it Important to your Business?

In case you have been living under a rock somewhere and don’t know what Instagram is, don’t be embarrassed – in this day and age social platforms are created almost daily and it’s hard to always know what is trending. Instagram was created back in 2010 as a mobile photo-sharing app and has quietly gained traction since, with over 500 million people using it daily. Users can edit and post photos and videos or even go live with their followers.

So why is this important for my business?

With over 800 million monthly active users, Instagram has less competition and a more engaged audience than some of the other social giants, (like Facebook or Twitter) providing you an opportunity to reach more people with less. In a nutshell: It’s important because it’s where your customers are and where they are most likely to engage.

Instagram Engagement

Using photos and videos, Instagram provides you with a way to visually tell your story, promote your product or service and connect with your customers all from the phone in your hand.

Instagram Engagement

How to make Instagram work for you

Whether you are new to this whole social revolution, or are jumping into a new way to promote your business here are a few tips to help you get the most out of Instagram.

  1. Show what you do – Creatively Add value to your customers and look pretty while you do it. Showcase the solutions you provide, company culture, tips and tricks. Take them behind the scenes and show them who you are. This builds connection and trust – and is just plain fun.
  2. Share who you are - As a company, you probably do a whole lot of things and offer even more solutions – so use your profile to cycle through them. Since this is the only place a clickable link will work – use your profile as a place to promote different aspects of your business and update it frequently.
  3. Grow your reach with #hashtags - Create a company hashtag and use to help people find your content. Add 3 -5 additional #hashtags per post using a combination of your own and popular hashtags to increase your reach – just make sure they are relevant.
  4. Collaborate with other brands or “shout-out” to your partners - Use the @mention to align your posts with other people, products or services (like @allanblockwalls) to promote to a wider audience.

So if your business is not on Instagram – Give it a try! The basics are free and the opportunities are vast. And while you are at it – tag or mention #allanblock or @allanblockwalls on all your Allan Block related posts. See you out there.

Contractor Relations: Bringing Value to Your Relationships

Whether they know it or not, contractors need your help. Yes, they are purchasing the materials from you, but more importantly, they are using you as a resource. The knowledge that you and your team bring to the relationship may just help make that contractor successful. Here are some common ways you can bring value to your contractors:

  • Ensuring that the contractor has the right material
  • Has asked the right questions to their customer
  • Provides displays and literature options that help them sell and
  • Understands how Allan Block walls are built are ways you bring value.


We feel one avenue to accomplish this is by participating in an Allan Block Contractor Certification class – either by hosting or attending with customers. Here are some reasons to participate:

  1. Use the Allan Block Certification course as a training program for internal associates and improve your position as a go-to resource.
  2. By spending a full day with them you are strengthen your relationship with current customers by taking them to and participating with them during the class.
    1. Additionally, free rewards will be provided to contractors upon completion of their first Allan Block retaining wall project and you can provide them directly to the contractor. Just make sure you let us and our producing partners know about the Allan Block projects they work on.
  3. Certified contractors are great to promote to homeowners who are at your facility and looking for installation assistance.
  4. Promote your business to the area as the host of a contractor certification course.
  5. Estimating tools and programs are shown to provide a quick and wasy way to estimate materials needed for their projects. Become an expert on these tools and be a valuable resource.


If you are interested in participating in our Allan Block Certification Program, please talk with your sales associate or call/email us to start the process: info@allanblock.com or (800) 899-5309.

Cross-Selling – how to get more on the order?

We are assuming the more products and services you sell to a customer (cross-selling), the happier you and/or your employer are. Not only is this true for your business, but keep in mind you are helping your customer when you cross-sell by potentially reducing stress, time and money on their end.

McDonald’s increased sales dramatically and satisfied their customer when they began asking “Do you want fries with that?” How can you do the same?

What are adjacent products that need to be sold with Allan Block and/or paver projects you sell? Can you add them to an order by asking a similar question? Do you need geogrid with the wall? Do you need stone for the base of the wall? Do you need polymeric sand for the patio? These simple types of questions can do two things:

  1. Help you increase sales just as McDonald’s did (and continues to do) many years ago.
  2. Help you become the trusted advisor by displaying your knowledge of the industry, products and services necessary to make the project your customer is completing a success.

Cross selling

By asking these types of questions you are bringing value to your customer by educating them on what they need and by reducing time and money they will spend running to other stores or maybe even back to yours once they realize their need.

What do we have to help you?

  1. Dealer ABU – an exclusive training opportunity each winter for distribution partners to further their training on the SRW industry along with AB programs, tools and products.
  2. Use our ABU Online platform to learn more about our tools, programs and products to help you cross-sell
  3. Use our AB Estimating tool and AB Apps which provide you adjacent material quantities such as grid, adhesive, rock, drain tile and many more. Our Courtyard App even provides paver quantities to help you increase sales!
  4. Use the Courtyard Patio Packages to help bundle all components necessary for an outdoor room to help you cross-sell.

What's Trending - Outdoor Entertaining

Outdoor entertaining in backyards has been a popular trend over the years and continues to grow in popularity. Besides being functional the designs now encompass comfort and amenities that showcase personal style. Just adding a pool or a patio in the backyard has come and gone, now along with the pool are fully landscaped backyards that probably include a full outdoor kitchen, pergola, electronics, lighting and possibly a fireplace. Working with the customer to create or determine their needs can lead to sales in many hardscape products from pavers, to walls to kitchen elements and more.

Outdoor entertaining

In many parts of the country entertaining outside all year round is the standard, so consideration and planning of what the customer wants needs to be addressed. Creating a couple focal points like a fireplace or a pond works well for any type of climate but may not be what they want. Asking questions of the customer not only lets them know you are interested in their project, but also helps you to know what products you can direct them to to make their product purchase. By asking questions that need detailed answers in place of yes and no answers gives you more information to build off of.

Outdoor entertaining

Before long a design of their new outdoor entertaining area will become clear and products can be recommended. AB retaining walls, AB Courtyard patio walls and pavers are three products that can be used together in matching colors to create the foundation for any backyard space.

Outdoor entertaining

In The Spotlight: Ollinger Bros

Ollinger Bros, Inc., Allan Block Distributor for Nitterhouse Masonry Products out of Altoona, PA was originally a brick and block supply yard that was started in 1944 by a 17 year old boy with a truck. Over the past 74 years brick and block sales have fallen as hardscape products are becoming more popular. Now in its third generation, Ollinger Bros has adapted to the changing market and has evolved into much more than a brick and block supplier.

Ollinger Bros.

Hunter Ollinger is the third generation to work in the family business, and like his grandfather is excited for new ideas and opportunities to grow the business. Recently, Hunter attended a training session at Allan Block University (ABU) in Minnesota and was able to implement some simple ideas. Hunter commented, “Allan Block is not just a block, it’s a whole team that provides education as well as tools that design, estimate and even create 3D models to help customers visualize their projects. Local manufacturers offer support through sales reps that are knowledgeable and excited to help us succeed”.

Hunter used the ABU training model to help in his local market. There were a number of customers that wanted contractor pricing. The solution was to offer an Allan Block Certification Class where they could become Certified Allan Block Installers and be eligible for contractor pricing. The success of this program was as empowering to the contractors as it was to Hunter. Ollinger Bros became the support system that educated their contractors about Allan Block tools for designing and estimating walls. They also fostered a friendship by not only training the contractors, but showing them hospitality by hosting and feeding them at their location.

Ollinger Bros has also found loyalty with their customers by having a training area where they can show DIY customers how to build retaining walls and how the Courtyard blocks work together. Ollinger Bros success in their market is because they don’t just sell building materials, they empower their customers with the best support, training and tools in the market place.

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Allan Block Corporation
7424 W. 78th Street, Bloomington, MN 55439
Help & Support Center: (800) 899-5309
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