Door Dealers

Jim Snyder
May 17, 2016
THE TALK... | Segments
Out of curiosity, I did a random Google search for “door and window dealers.” My search results all displayed the two words in reverse, defaulting to “window and door dealers” instead. No surprise, really. Windows seem to always trump doors. That’s just how we—and consumers—are programmed.  
 
Does this mean that window replacement is a better opportunity than door replacement? It depends on what dealers want to make of door replacement. Is it by default or by purpose?
 
Offering door replacement may require an additional product line and additional sales training. As important, though, is that it requires an installation skillset beyond that of window replacement. I discuss this point in the latest issue of Window & Door in From the Field.
 
For some replacement fenestration dealers, I suspect door replacement is by default, rather than by choice. A dealer once told me that they only offer doors if part of a window package, but that the company didn’t really pursue door leads, per se.
 
Conversely, a local fenestration dealer in my area sells and installs doors only, no windows at all. That’s simply their niche and they aggressively pursue it.
 
Most fenestration dealers are probably somewhere in between, whereby they use windows as a lead-in to this additional opportunity and they’re eager to take it. Yet, they have to have the installer resources to do so. What about other dealers out there? Are doors a primary piece of your business? Review the results of this week’s poll, leave a comment or drop me a line. It’s always great to hear from you.
 
 

Survey Results for 05/18/2016:

As a dealer, do you have the resources to sell and replace doors?

Yes, we are fully prepared and will promote door replacement.

  

 

92.11%

 

We'll sell doors if it's part of a window package

  

 

5.26%

 

We'll sidestep a door sale.

  

 

2.63%

 
 
Jim Snyder is an AAMA-certified FenestrationMaster and InstallationMaster who shares his years of installation field experience as an industry writer, speaker, trainer and project/product consultant for dealers and manufacturers. A member of various industry organizations, Snyder also is involved in instructional document creation and revision. Contact him at jim@windowjim.com.

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Hello Jair! I just now happened to see you request for more information. Please excuse the time that has elapsed since your request. Please contact me on LinkedIn, and I'll be happy to answer any additional questions that you may have. Thanks, Nick

Thanks for the feedback Nick.
Jim

Hello JIm: While representing Air Master Corp. years ago, I was always amazed at some of the answers that I received from those multi-million dollars per year "windows only" retail companies as to why they didn't sell doors. These companies were truly major movers of window products. All were in Qualified Remodelor's top 500, but about a dozen of them were in the top 100. Whenever I asked, why don't you sell doors, I heard, "Well look, Nick, we know what we do well and we don't plan on changing." I got that "look" usually accompanied by, "We believe, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Regardless of how successful you may be, I strongly believe that "leaving money on the table" just doesn't make good sense. I needed a way around this problem, and came up with a solution. At that time, Air Master had an employee that stood six feet four, and weighed 260 lbs. I asked him if he might be willing to sacrifice some of his dignity for about "a few" extra million or so a year in business. His reply was instantaneous. He didn't even have to think about it. We went to a costume store and rented the largest Superman outfit that you could ever imagine. I then invited my largest "windows only retailer" into our factory. We had our carpenters build a wooden front door style model, installed in a wood buck opening. I perused through local newspapers and cut out every mention of break-in burglaries that I could find. Local papers were precise in their detail. Example: "Entry was gained through a locked basement door." Or, "A rear kitchen door had its hinges removed." I distributed these clippings to more than a dozen salespeople who came into our factory that day from this retailer. On my cue, Frank came crashing through the wooden door setup, in his Superman suit, splintering the door, the frame, and sending the lockset flying. We then presented our replacement door program. Our product featured steel or fiberglass doors, in a steel frame, simulating beautiful wood-like or solid color finishes, with tamper proof deadbolts and hinge pins that couldn't be removed. I concluded by saying that for every home that salespeople enter to sell windows, they have to pass through a door. Most homes have at least two, and many have three or four doors. Our door sales tripled in the first year, and later grew to just about 20 million dollars annually. (Just doors, not including our window sales) Most of it came from retail organizations that really didn't think that they wanted to sell doors. Today, these same company owners tell me that giving me the time to prove my point was one of the best investments that they've ever made. To all manufacturers who produce windows & doors, remember that you have to "build" approximately 8 to 10 windows to equal the profit you'll earn on one door sale, if you learn how to present doors effectively.

Hi Nick, I love your story. Would love to ask you some follow-up questions.
- Have you ever thought about selling direct to consumer (why or why not?)
- How do you learn and get ideas from your final customer?

Thanks again for sharing!

Jair

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