Top Tips From Manufacturers

In the spirit of this manufacturing issue, we asked our Top 100 and others outside the list for their best advice for dealers. Following are their tips on leads, sales, partnerships and more.

1. Chasing Leads

Just working to get today’s and tomorrow’s leads means you miss out on 97 percent of your potential market that is in various stages of research. Position yourself to capture those folks as well and you’ll always have plenty of people to talk to about your products. —Joe Mills, Sunrise Windows,

Repeat business is the most profitable. You will get more repeat business by being honest with your customers and not taking shortcuts in your product and service provision. —Phil Lewin, The Window Design Group, vinylwindow

2. Choosing Partners

When choosing a product or supplier, always look for those that can provide unique selling advantages. With products becoming more and more similar, look for suppliers that can offer programs and benefits that can help you to stand out from the crowd. —Mark Davis, Earthwise Windows,

Take advantage of the marketing programs offered by manufacturers to promote your business, such as co-op advertising. Invest in training and/or working with your manufacturers to ensure your staff are knowledgeable about the products they sell and why they sell them. Customers are looking for experts to rely on and the more you can work with the manufacturer, the stronger your sales will be. Choose a supplier that wants to work with you to grow your business. —Tracy Nadiger, All Weather Windows,

Create and nurture strategic partnerships, focusing on quality over quantity. Look at your business’ long-term goals and align your company with specific partners who are leaders in the industry. Consider how a partnership can be mutually beneficial to each company, and remember that chasing short-term results often hinders a company’s ability to achieve long-term goals. —Kevin St. John, PGT Innovations,

3. Selling on Value

Building value in window products and trust with the consumer yields far better closing ratios and gross profits than selling on price. Consumers always pay more when the cost-versus-value benefit threshold is met. —Eric Vidmar, Anlin Window Systems,

Customers are looking for a great value when purchasing large ticket items. This is an area of the house that should be treated with high regard concerning energy savings, functionality and workmanship. Saving 10 to 15 percent on a cheaper window may not offer the best value. Dealers should learn all they can about the windows they offer and understand what values and performance they offer to become an instructor, rather than a salesperson. —Scott Gerkin, Gerkin Windows,

The premium vinyl window niche is very strong and most dealers are not getting their share. Partner with companies who serve this niche well with product, delivery and customer/field service. Call backs can be dramatically reduced, thus improving both customer satisfaction and profit margins. The commitment required for training staff on the value of premium products and on identifying premium opportunities is a very wise investment. —Doug Cook, Thermo-Tech Windows LLC,

High-performance products will continue to strengthen as a category as more people begin to recognize the need for sustainability and how it benefits not only them but the world as a whole. Efficient glass, aluminum, vinyl-composite, and aluminum clad products will continue to grow in popularity. —Eric Wanner, Solar Innovations,

4. Differentiation

Always look to carry unique products that will set you apart from big box retailers and aim to provide your customers with excellent customer service and added value. —Cally Dubrofsky, Stanley Doors,

Think strategically about how you want to grow your business. Look for opportunities in the market to sell products that are not readily available from your competition. This type of differentiation strategy not only will grow your margins, but will put you in a position to satisfy emerging needs from your customers. —Scott Gates, Western Window Systems,


A dealer’s ability to educate their customer in order to identify their true needs rather than selling them stock windows they can buy at a “big box” store becomes a powerful differentiator. —Bill Sifflard, Quaker Windows,

Don’t just sell products. Create value and differentiate by offering educational knowledge like new building code changes and new fashion options to your contractors to help them stand out. —Jeff Ward, Durabuilt Windows & Doors,

Educate your employees to the max. Successful companies have knowledgeable people that can help walk an architect, designer, builder or homeowner through the selection process. Because of all the options available today, window and door salespeople have become design consultants on each job. Only educated product specialists can do this well. —Steve Kahle, Lincoln Windows,

Consumers continue to be savvy with performance and product knowledge. However, the amount of information available is so vast that consumers often suffer from data overload. Keeping product information accurate and simple is vital in aiding consumers with product selection. —Laura Doerger-Roberts, Vinylmax Windows,

Invest in the Future

Reinvest in your company’s marketing strategies to get the next generation involved in fenestration. —Douglas Gillin, Northeast Building Products,

Get out and recruit installers at high schools and tech programs. Skilled, reliable crews are a competitive advantage more than ever and we all know our industry offers fantastic careers for smart and driven people who are good with their hands. Put together trade classes on becoming an installer and highlight the opportunities these young adults could have at running their own installation crews at a very young age. College is very expensive, and not for everyone. —Matt Samson, Harvey Building Products,

Source: Window & Door