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  • It’s easy for customers to become overwhelmed by the myriad of new door choices on the market. In order to provide shoppers the best possible customer service, a seller must have the resources and expertise at hand to make the purchasing process as intuitive and stress-free as possible. As the Internet is a leading source for information, be sure to direct your customers to the best... more »
  • Following up on a Department of Energy update on plans to make criteria to qualify for an Energy Star window label more stringent, last week we asked what you thought of one of the most stringent numbers under consideration—a U-factor of .30 for the Northernmost climate zone. Read Page 2 of the Talk and you’ll see the response was pretty overwhelming. DOE actually said it’s... more »
  • Hiring the right employee comes down to three things: screening, screening, and screening. These tips will help you select the right applicant for the job. Write a realistic job description. Solicit referrals. Read résumés with a critical eye. Check references. Perform background checks. Conduct personality testing. Screen over the phone prior to investing in an in person... more »
  • Another update from DOE provides a little more insight into potential changes to the Energy Star window, door and skylight criteria. The government is still waiting to see what ICC might do as far as tightening energy codes first, but some possible numbers are being shared. So I thought I’d use this week’s poll to get your feedback—and, since I just came from the Northeast... more »
  • The only way to find out if candidates will be a good fit for your company is to ask a lot of questions to discover whether: they possess a positive attitude they have high energy they are trustworthy and possess good character they feel good about themselves and life they take responsibility without making excuses they desire to keep learning and hunger for growth they are willing to follow... more »
  • Although I fear this reveals how remarkably unexciting my life is, I was recently reading a study commissioned by the Small Business Administration regarding the connection between educational levels and the likelihood that a person would go into business for him or herself. For the most part, the correlation stands—the more book smarts you have, the more likely you’d want to be your... more »
  • A leaner window and door industry may emerge thanks to this year’s tight market.
    Window and door executives across the country are adopting the following mantra for 2008: What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger. It goes without saying that we’re in for another tough year, but many industry representatives believe the survival-of-the-fittest phase that will mark this year will result in a leaner, meaner fenestration industry on the other side of the downturn.... more »
  • Ahhh, there’s nothing like an eye-popping news story to get me all charged up at column-writing time, and I know it’s a good one when I’m still baffled after the third or fourth read. The folks at Milgard are in the courts attempting to iron out an unfortunate situation. The former executive assistant to President James Sweeney Jr. allegedly embezzled $1.6 million from the... more »
  • Direct marketing expenditures continue to grow. The Direct Marketing Association estimates direct marketing spending increased 4.4 percent in 2007 to $173 billion, despite negative developments in the housing and automobile markets and rising energy costs. As direct marketing spending grows, it is also evolving. Traditional print efforts are seen giving way to multiple forms of interactive... more »
  • Many of us in the building materials business have read this book before. Housing starts and permits plummet, sales drop and it is time to start the belt tightening. When it comes to cutbacks, they usually come in the following order: * Training* Market research* Marketing programs (dealer, consumer, builder and remodeler)* Sales support and/or customer service* Sales... more »