Latest Articles in Talking to Dealers

  • I picked up a brilliant little phrase when I lived in the South that many subsequent years in Washington, D.C., and New York have yet to erase. To me, it is so much more appropriate than any of its proper English counterparts. Though I never mastered the Southern drawl, I love the phrase “fixin’ to.” As in picking up the phone to hear, “Honey, have you left for the store?... more »
  • Window and door companies have been living in “energy efficiency land” for decades. I type “energy efficient” so many times in a month I might as well set a quick key function on my keyboard. Energy efficiency to us is like texting to teenagers—it’s in our blood, it’s what we do, it’s how we communicate with our BFFs. Well, snap, snap, people—... more »
  • We start out this year on challenging economic footing and, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably about sick of hearing about it. But just when I reach for the mouse or the remote to avoid yet another report on the state of our economy, I take pause to remind myself that pilots check a lot of gauges before they decide to land a plane. Making business decisions without reliable... more »
  • So it's ugly out there, no doubt, but I'm sort of sick of talking about it. That's not to say I won't continue talking about this wretched economy, but I've decided to give myself a Time Out. I'm done talking about how terrible the economy is. For a minute anyway. Maybe two. It's hard to remember what's so terrible with the state of the Union when I just spent more than a month getting to know... more »
  • By the time you’re reading this, the Beijing Summer Olympics will have long since closed. But as I write this, we’re deep into Olympic obsession mode (at least my household is). I know the Olympics themselves are now yesterday’s news, but if you’ll indulge a gal a bit, I’m hoping to strike up a conversation about China. About four years ago, not long after I first... more »
  • Manufacturers are looking for dedicated dealers who will get the job done, and dealers are looking for suppliers who value them
    A dealer buddy of mine sent me an email this week that started with an apology for ranting and then went on to his rant. He wants to know (not from me, but just in general), where his suppliers’ sense of service went through the years? He seems to have woken up and realized, now that business has ebbed a bit, that the door and window manufacturers supplying his dealership aren’t... more »
  • I'm a bad bedtime negotiator. My two- and four-year-old girls know their bedtime, know the routine and know the two-books-each rule. When my husband finishes the books, he gives them a smooch, turns off the light and chipper little voices call out, "Good night daddy" as he closes the door. When I shut the final book and reach for the light, the ballistic fits ensue. I deserve the... more »
  • There is a small, independent coffee shop near my house that I frequent enough to have had a latte named for me. There's a young lady named Brittany who works the after-school shift, and I would argue that she serves as physical proof that there is hope for this country. Hope because she can't sit still. When she's not steaming milk or brewing espresso, she busies herself sweeping, wiping down... more »
  • Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I love a dealer with an angle. It’s tough to develop a focus, a niche, a personality for a business—so when I run across a really good angle, I’m definitely doing a little happy-column-dance. This month I’d like to introduce Windows Plus, a replacement retailer based in Northern Virginia. The dealer’s is a story like many... more »
  • If I offered to hand you $15 or let you flip a coin to earn either $20 or $10, which would you choose? Taking a chance might mean I only fork over $10 to you but playing it safe means you give up the opportunity to walk away with $20. In this example, the difference is only whether you’re buying me one round or two, but what if the stakes are much higher? How risk tolerant are you when it... more »