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  • So who can tell me how to say “wish me luck” in Chinese? This weekend I leave for my very first trip to China. I’ll be visiting Suzhou and Shanghai, as I mentioned in my column this month, and while I’m dreading the plane ride, I’m really excited about the trip itself. The purpose of my visit is to learn about doing business in China; I’ll be meeting with many... more »
  • Heritage Door Kicks Niche up a Notch
    Heritage Door & Window focuses on replacement doors to help homeowners upgrade their entryways. Anthony DiCunto (left), owner, and Jason O'Hara, showroom manager, contend that doors require a different skill set than replacement windows and have built the business by offering focused product knowledge, pre-finishing services and quality installations. Most of the time in this... more »
  • Shepley Wood Product Aims for “Spark in the Eye” Customer Service
    Tony Shepley believes that in any retail transaction—at the bank, the grocery store, the coffee shop—you know within a matter of seconds how the transaction will go just based on the employee’s eye contact. “I want to look in someone’s eyes and see the spark and see that they’re willing to exceed my expectations,” he says. This few-seconds rule certainly... more »
  • Don’t assume your customers are all alike. You cannot truly help your customers until you understand their business models. Instead of selling the features and benefits of your product, ask questions and listen to discover ways your customer faces their competitive challenges. You will then distinguish yourself as a resource who can help them increase profits through better salesmanship.... more »
  • San Antonio, Texas—The American Architectural Manufacturers Association conducted its national fall conference here this week, focusing on the outcomes of the International Code Committee’s final hearings and keeping momentum in the green building movement. Julie Ruth, fresh off the ICC final action hearings, gave AAMA members an update on what proposals were approved or got... more »
  • If you have taken time to prepare a presentation in chapters (like the sections of a well-organized book), your delivery will flow smoothly. You will no longer be thinking. You will deliver a heartfelt presentation at a level of unconscious competence. This week’s tip comes from Rick Davis, president of Building Leaders, Inc. and author of the book, Strategic Sales in the Building Industry... more »
  • A manufacturer contacted me not too long ago to see if I had heard any news about one its local competitors. The reason he inquired is that he was seeing an influx of people from this competitor looking for jobs at his operation. While I hadn’t heard any news in this particular case, and I wasn’t much help, it reminded me of something said to me not too long ago. “If you can... more »
  • $700 billion. Or was it $700 trillion. It's way too big a number and too complicated an issue for me, but when I heard about plan to bail out Wall Street and theoretically save our economy, I couldn't help but wonder, "It would be nice if someone helped out struggling window and door companies that way." Of course, I know most business owners in this industry wouldn't want or expect the... more »
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    Baltimore—While many remodelers and replacement dealers are struggling in the current economic environment, some are growing. In conjunction with last week’s Remodeling Show here, Ply Gem Windows brought together a panel of Great Lakes window dealers that continue to see their sales increasing to share some of their keys to success. “We decided we were not going to participate... more »
  • In its latest e-newsletter, NAHB is voicing its opposition to the “30 percent” solution that will be the focus of much discussion at next week’s International Code Council hearings. They are referring to proposed energy code changes designed to increase the efficiency of new homes by 30 percent more than those currently built. What interested me is that NAHB sees window... more »