Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ContactPoint Benchmarking Study

ContactPoint (NGA/WDDA) will be conducting an industry wide benchmark study over the next couple of months in preparation for Glass Build America. We hope to be able to show the industry the current and most relevant trends to help you increase your ability to be successful in today’s market. The goal of the benchmark study is to evaluate the industry as a whole using the individual companies involved with the NGA.

NGA is endorsing this effort and encouraging all members to participate in this study. To sign up, click here. Your participation and permission to use the data collected by ContactPoint is what helps these studies provide you with the most accurate data in order to help you increase your position in the industry. For more information, visit or call 866-468-0900. If you have a clear picture of what is really happening in the industry, you can better prepare your shops for effective growth.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lead Paint and Commercial Buildings

On April 23, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that renovations and repairs of pre-1978 residential housing must now be conducted using safe practices to protect children and pregnant women from exposure to lead-based paint. The Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rules is having adverse effects on the residential renovation, by raising both the hard and soft costs associated with each contracted job.

The EPA's April 23 release included an additional proposed action that will, if adopted, directly impact the commercial glazing industry:
An advance notice of proposed rulemaking to announce EPA’s intention to apply lead-safe work practices to renovations on public and commercial buildings. The advance notice also announces EPA’s investigation into lead-based paint hazards that may be created by renovations on the interior of these public and commercial buildings. If EPA determines that lead-based paint hazards are created by interior renovations, EPA will propose regulations to address the hazards.
This is a very important issue that we, as an association, must address in a unified fashion. We have until July 6 to forward our comments about this proposed action to the EPA, and we need you to get involved. Toward that end, we would like to offer you this draft letter so you can craft your own communication with the EPA.

If you would like your letter to be included in the NGA's submission to the EPA, please submit it by June 23, 2010. You can email your letter to or mail it to Alyssa Kirkman, National Glass Association, 8200 Greensboro Drive, Ste 302, McLean, VA 22102.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thinking Outside the Box

In the sales world a lot depends on how we make the initial approach to captivate our soon-to-be new client. Questions emerge such as: What angle do I take? How can I build credibility? How do I “WOW” them with my expertise and get my foot in the door to be heard? All of these questions and more can be answered with four words: Think outside the box.

Why you? Why does this person HAVE to listen to you?

Such questions clearly make me wonder why I am making the call in the first place. Am I prepared? Have I thought this phone call through yet? Will I gradually descend into the sales abyss known as the “Car Salesman Approach” becoming like everyone else out there? NO! I am different! For this reason I wish to share an experience that happened with me earlier this week.

I was in the process of preparing an e-mail for that soon-to-be new client of mine; my colleague had prepared something similar a few weeks past and mentioned it was a “power house” e-mail. I had him forward me his copy that had granted him the key to success earlier that day, in hopes of obtaining the same results. Meticulously I typed the minutes away, polishing and developing a draft sure to be “The one e-mail to rule them all.” I quickly scanned over it for the last precious moments of its electronic life and with a quickness clicked the “SEND” button. Emotions and hopes were high!

For anyone in sales, CREDIBILITY IS KEY. My approach in the past has been to use a client of mine in their same industry that I have achieved great success with and they would know or have heard of. By doing so creates an initial overlay of credibility until you can WOW him/her with what you have to offer. This is your time to shine and prove to him/her taking your call was the best decision he/she ever made.

With my experience preparing this e-mail and compiling my credentials, I had provided credibility to my audience and would now wait to see how my approach was received.

This comes in many forms: Getting past the gatekeeper, leaving interesting voicemails, or even sending e-mails that get their attention and entice them to reach out.

And now, the rest of my story:

DING rang the annoying Outlook sound not 30 seconds after hitting that once glorious button. It was HIM! He replied with a simple “I wasn’t aware of any phone call next week.”The line included in the e-mail was “I want to prepare you for our call we have scheduled for next week.” Heart sunk, a headache began throbbing.. I had failed to edit a small portion of the e-mail! Quickly I devised a rebuttal. “You are correct!” I forced my quaking hands to type. “I wanted to make sure my e-mails were getting read by the right people. When can we set up a time to discuss your company and our world-class training program?” Response sent, I started to calm down for a moment. Dignity restored I could breathe once again, and quickly capitalized that moment to set a firm date for the phone call.

The moral of the story is this: Even though you think you totally screwed up, relax because it got his attention. This is my thinking outside the box moment; though consciously I had no clue it would pan out this way. Keep trying new things to get their attention, with confidence it will work.

Kelly Wasden
ContactPoint NGA WDDA

Monday, June 14, 2010

Call to Action on EPA's latest proposal for Window & Door Dealers

The EPA is proposing to add "lead paint clearance testing requirements" to its new lead paint regulations imposed on April 22. I'm writing independent window and door dealers across the country to alert you to the EPA's latest intrusion into your business and to encourage you to join with us in opposition.

This is a very important issue that we, as an alliance, must address in a unified fashion. We have until July 6 to forward our comments to the EPA. We urge you to get involved. Toward that end, we would like to offer you more information:
  1. Statement of Principles -- This expresses the concerns of members of the Window & Door Dealers Alliance and the industry.
  2. Survey -- Respond to this survey so that you can add your opinions to those in the Statement of Principles.
  3. Draft Letter to EPA -- Use this letter to craft your own communication with the EPA. Make sure to use anecdotal information from your business and print it on your letterhead.
Once you have reviewed the information, send a copy of your letter to the WDDA, so that we can hand deliver it -- along with a letter from the WDDA -- to the EPA. If you would like your letter to be included, please submit it by June 21, 2010. You can email your letter to or mail it to David Walker, Window & Door Dealers Alliance, 8200 Greensboro Drive, Ste 302, McLean, VA 22102.

I hope you'll take the time to follow-through on these important actions, as they will have an crucial impact on your business for many years to come. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call me at 703.442.4890, ext. 153. We will continue to keep you apprised of the WDDA's progress, and other united efforts, via email and through the WDWeekly e-newsletter.

David Walker
Vice President of Association Services
Window & Door Dealers Alliance and National Glass Association

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Primer on Current Legal Context for Sellers of Windows and Doors

As the construction industry shows some signs of turnaround and the ARRA (Stimulus) energizes window and door sales, The Window and Door Dealer Alliance (WDDA) has emerged as a valuable resource for window and door dealers/distributors wanting to be at the forefront of their industry. At The Gary Law Group we have invested special attention to national issues facing the fenestration industry for quite a number of years. As a result of the experience, we have and continue to develop “Best Practices” for the consideration and use by those who sell windows and doors. But, it all begins with some “context.” From this, you can strike the balance between risk and reward that is right for your company. Window and door dealers need to appreciate their importance in the marketplace as being in direct contact with (“controlling”) consumer/purchasers. Without purchasers … well we have just been through that. At the same time, dealers have to understand the risks inherent in their position in the distribution channel so they can be managed. In 2005, there was so much business the details of risk seemed hardly to matter. I think we all have a sense it will be different now.

We plan to work with WDDA in support of its members. Over the course of the coming months we will delve into various legal and best practices issues that impact your business. Let’s start with what it is that window and door dealers/distributors/installers actually do, their importance in the stream of commerce, and some “Legal 101” flowing from those factors.

Whether operating out of a storefront, on the web, and/or by canvassing neighborhoods; the goal is to sell. Dealers sell their products, services, and themselves to customers in need of need new windows and doors. In doing so, distributors and dealers form a linchpin in a complex legal relationship reaching from product manufacturer to the end consumer. The opportunities for error and exposure in such relationship are substantial. So too are the positive opportunities for business development and growth. The balance of these is reached when a company understands its position in this regard – remember it’s your business.

The first item in the WDDA Legal Corner touches on a couple essential points—points that may bear expansion in the future: warranties and sales practices. Read it today!

Paul Gary is principal of The Gary Law Group, a firm dedicated to the management and defense of legal issues facing members of the fenestration industry across the country.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Your Business and the Future

Times are still tough out there economically, but we’re hearing from more and more of our members that things are getting a little better. Window and door work is picking up and some commercial contracts are finally starting to come to market. But while things may be improving in some ways, it only makes sense to keep looking for opportunities to work lean or consider new products and markets. In reading this month’s Inc. magazine (a must read for small businesses), a couple things caught my eye that local shops could think about.

First, in an article about the best industries for starting a business right now, environmental consulting is mentioned. These are businesses that help homeowners and businesses install green-friendly equipment and gear to improve energy efficiency. With the growth in Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) and other solar products along with things like RENOVATE from Edgetech IG and JE Berkowitz, there’s a lot of opportunity out there for glass companies. This issue is going to be a major theme at this year’s GlassBuild America, so if you haven’t made plans to get to Vegas in September, you need to do so soon.

Second, there’s a great tip in one column (unfortunately, not online yet) about managing cash flow. The author makes the point that the key to managing cash flow is managing your receivables. For a company with $3.5 million in annual sales, the difference between 51 days payable and 45 days payable is about the same as securing a $65,000 loan interest-free. We stress this same point with the NGA's Glass Management Institute students when we talk finance. You probably already know this, of course, but it can’t hurt to check to see if your receivables schedule is costing you money.

Another major area to look at is labor cost. In fact, this area is so important that we’ve made it the leading theme at this year’s Glazing Executives Forum. Jason Baumgarten, a consultant with FMI, will be with us to highlight ways that the best companies leverage their labor to improve efficiency and better manage their bottom line. This is session you don't want to miss.

What resources and/or tactics are you using to prepare for your future in the industry?

Matt Rumbaugh
Sr. Manager of Education, Training, and Certification

National Glass Association, Window & Door Dealers Alliance

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What is your Big, Hairy Audacious Goal for 2010?

Bill Evans, an NGA board member and well-known man in the industry, has decided to run 56 miles for his 56th birthday. Bill has created a web site so that others can follow his progress - on it he describes what he's doing to train, how he's keeping himself healthy, and why he's decided to run his age. He describes his goal this way:

56 miles in one day. Two marathons in a row, plus a few extra miles to round up to my age. I call it my Big, Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) for 2010.
We may not all have the time (or desire) to train to run a marathon by the end of 2010, but we can admire Bill's committment and dedication to his goal. How different would our industry be if we all committed to our businesses half as much as Bill has committed to running?

The year is almost half over, but it's not too late to set a goal for 2010. What's your business's Big, Hairy Audacious Goal for 2010 and beyond?