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  • Post-Katrina, window dealership takes on doctor’s office feel to serve those in need
    Walking into Interstate Windows & Doors is a lot like walking into the waiting room at a doctor’s office. A vanilla reception area has one window, behind which an obviously organized receptionist is stationed, a play table for children is tucked into one corner and a couple of chairs book-end a small table. Rather than health and parenting magazines, the table displays a few window... more »
  • Charlie Cusimano, Perry Poche and John Roberts are men who sell windows like thousands of other people who sell windows. But these men are different. They are survivors of Hurricane Katrina and have spent the last two years rebuilding their businesses, their lives and their customers’ lives. I invite you to experience New Orleans as I did—not as a tourist, not as a volunteer, and not... more »
  • When you send your prospects and clients promotional items, go for a piece of real estate on their desk. Send a clock, nice paper weight, classy letter opener, photo frames, calculator cover, post-it-note holder, desk lamp, mouse pad, keyboard cover, stapler, etc. The idea is to send something that the recipient will keep on their desk perpetually. Of course, your logo and company information... more »
  • Window and door plant managers, equipment and software suppliers, lean gurus and other relatively educated production people have their own language and work in a world I’ll never comprehend fully from my industry-observing perch. One thing I do know, however, is the never-ending desire to improve efficiency and/or increase capacity often puts the focus on “the production bottleneck.... more »
  • We have a link in The Outside View... this week to a report from a Gary, Ind., newspaper, about a door manufacturer that won’t do installations in the city because the permit process is too time consuming. It’s not the first such story I’ve heard. More than one window and door person has said to me, “we avoid that city like the plague” when I’ve told them I... more »
  • For a fast way to gain customer referrals and check on the satisfaction of your past customers, try mailing out anniversary cards or letters. Send them out on the one-year anniversary of a first invoice or designate a single month as your company’s anniversary month. During that time, send out cards to your customers reminding them that you appreciate their business. Checking in to make... more »
  • Industry companies attracting and retaining key industry players with more than just salary, recruiters say
    Some of the biggest window and door manufacturers have had a rough year. The downturn in the residential housing market has led to layoffs, pushes to streamline operations and slicing of employees’ work hours. But this is not why the headhunters who specialize in the residential fenestration industry are busier this year than ever. Recruiters are not scrambling to find work for displaced... more »
  • How do you capture and hold the attention of your customers when making a sales pitch? Try putting yourself in their shoes and make pitches that are solution-oriented. Talk about return-on-investment, how the products relate to current trends in which homeowners are interested (such as energy efficiency and "green") and give strong examples of how your products can help increase their... more »
  • RFID tags—the labels that automate product tracking, helping Wal-Mart and other big retailers keep costs low—have dropped in cost from about $1 each to close to a dime, according to a label supplier who spoke at the recent Fenetech Users Conference. Related scanning equipment costs have come down too. As a result, this technology could start playing a larger role in the window and... more »
  • During my college years (and even afterwards, while looking for my first editorial job) I worked in an electronics factory. I started in the machine shop, but they quickly realized I was better handling all the paperwork in the stock room than working a drill press. The job helped me pay for school, of course, but was also a valuable introduction into the business world. Now, my kids aren’... more »