Latest Articles in Dealer Perspectives

  • Adding clearance testing to EPA lead paint regulations
    As if 2010 wasn’t challenging enough dealing with a stagnant economy, window and door dealers and remodeling contractors also had to comply with new government-mandated lead-based paint regulations. Many of us took classes, learned the proper techniques for working around lead-based paint, cleaning procedures and disposing of the debris. On some jobs it wasn’t too bad. Others were... more »
  • It is now planning time for many fenestration companies. Most successful firms do annual planning for the entire company.  Many of these firms typically include marketing planning or research and development fiscal planning for new products in this process.  But few companies actually do market research planning. Yes, they may have a lump sum ready to be used for the annual customer... more »
  • It wasn’t the main topic, but customer satisfaction was a recurring subject of discussion at a focus group of custom and semi-custom home builders I moderated recently. Held in Las Vegas at the same time as the International Builders Show, the session revealed a shift in builder reliance upon manufacturers for “customer satisfaction,” as opposed to dealers and distributors. The... more »
  • While it's nice to ask customers “how are we doing?” it’s important to track how your competitors are doing too
    What is your competitive advantage? I have been asking that question frequently in my recent market research with building materials companies. Amazingly, the answers are generally all the same.Here is a brief summary: Our culture, our quality, our experience and our people. The “four feel goods” account for 95 percent of all responses.This begs the question–If everyone has the... 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 »
  • Two major goals drive most new product development—the desire to reduce hassles (for manufacturers, installers and end users) and the desire to reduce costs, and they do not have to be mutually exclusive.  In the last column I talked about getting out into the field and watching your customer’s customers install and use their fenestration products. This process is also known as... more »