Latest Articles in Strategies & Practices

  • 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 »
  • With marketing dollars scarce in a slowing economy, it’s a very good time to take a fresh look at grass roots marketing referral techniques that won’t break the bank. Word-of- mouth or viral marketing has been growing and is even becoming more formalized with the formation three years ago of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Grounded on the proposition that people like to be... 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 »
  • Most window and door companies tout the fact that their products are energy efficient. Many want to go further and say their products are green. But what does that mean? Is it a product’s U-value or solar heat gain coefficient? Is it some recycled content, certified wood or lead-free PVC?  If you’ve covered all those elements, can you say your products are green if your company... 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 »
  • In the current market, it’s time to get started
    You may be busy. You may be understaffed. You may even be in denial. But the time for action is now. In today’s market, window and door manufacturers need to cut costs, and they have to do it by getting manufacturing processes in order and under control.Relax...it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. There’s no need to spend $100,000 for the advice of an outside consultant; no... more »
  • News in the industry hasn’t been very good as of late. While I generally start new years with renewed optimism, I’m realistic about 2008. So Therma-Tru Doors’ David Haddix struck a chord for me when he noted for our industry forecast (page 51), “The future is bright. I just wish we could fast forward.” I share his optimism for the future and that eagerness to move on... more »
  • I have recently been perusing dozens of resumes for a client that is hiring a salesperson. The consistent trait I see for nearly every salesperson is a lack of personal investment in his or her career. There is an old saying between two campers in the woods, “You don’t have to worry about being faster than the bear if you can be faster than the other camper.” Given the lack of... more »
  • Current market conditions may slow M&A activity, but financial buyers are still looking at residential building products segment
    Many different factors are currently affecting merger and acquisition activity involving window and door companies. The rise in defaults of sub-prime mortgages has decreased lenders’ willingness to extend new loans to customers that don’t qualify for standard mortgages, affecting the outlook on the residential housing market. The losses suffered by major lenders in this space has... more »