Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!

As 2011 draws to a close and we all focus on family and friends, the NGA and WDDA wish you a wonderful holiday season.

It has been a challenging couple of years for the glass and window and door industries, but we've seen the power of working together and learning from each other to grow businesses. By working together on policy issues and learning from each other, our member companies have become even stronger.

We have so much to be grateful for this year. Your support has enabled us to keep working for your business with policy initiatives, educational programs, and money saving services.  Membership has enabled us to have a strong voice on policy issues and best practices.

We still produce the finest publications in the business -- Glass Magazine and Window & Door -- and the top trade show for our industries in North America -- GlassBuild America: The Window & Door Expo. Thank you for your support - it makes all that we do possible. We believe that together we will make 2012 an even better year for our industry and your business.

Happy Holidays!
NGA & WDDA Staff

Monday, December 19, 2011

Free Webinars for NGA Members

Do you need to learn more about running your business? Are you interested in social media, customer service, or public relations? If so, then the new NGA Member webinars are for you!

Join us the first Monday of every month at 2:00 ET for an informative session. NGA members can attend these webinars for free*! We will even post the recordings after the fact and so you can learn anytime! Visit to view a schedule or to register. Member Webinars include:

February 6, 2012
Consulting Collaborative: Management System Self-Evaluation Seminar

March 5, 2012
LocalBasix: Social Media

April 2, 2012
UPS: Topic TBD

May 7, 2012
ContactPoint: Topic TBD

June 4, 2012
Sole Source Consultants: Topic TBD

July 2012Champion Management: Power of PR: Helping small and mid-size businesses grow

Webinars are just one of the benefits you get by being an NGA member. Learn more about your NGA membership benefits!

*First 25 members to register can attend for free. All other members can watch the free recordings.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December News & Links

  1. Auto Glass Week 2012 Dates Announced.  The event is September 20-22 in Louisville KY.
  2. NGA members can attend the 2012 Member Webinar series for free.
  3. Start planning for GlassBuild 2012!  View the 2012 floor plan and Exhibitor list and sign-up to exhibit today!
  4. Join the NGA and get 2 months free – that’s 14 months for the price of 12! New members who join in December 2011 qualify.
  5. Join the WDDA and get 2 months free – that’s 14 months for the price of 12! New members who join in December 2011 qualify.
  6. Window & Door’s IBS 2012 preview – an advance look at doors, windows, and industry related products to be featured in Orlando.
  7. Reward your employees with industry best training on
  8. New Bill Seeks to 'Cut Energy Bills at Home' and would provide as much as a 30% tax credit for upgrades.
  9. Introducing LogMyCalls brought to you by ContactPoint – the solution for any business that wants to measure and optimize the effect
  10. Glass Magazine’s Top glass fabricators: A breakdown of leading companies in the U.S. and Canadian markets
  11. Money Saving Trick: Get Clients to Make Your Bill a Priority  with Transworld Systems.
  12. Introducing LogMyCalls brought to you by ContactPoint – the solution for any business that wants to measure and optimize the effectiveness of marking and improve sales performance.
  13. Something new - Companies up the ante in hardware product development for bath and shower enclosures.
  14. Welcome new NGA and new WDDA members.
  15. Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Auto Glass Week 2012 Dates Announced

Auto Glass Week™ 2012 has been scheduled for September 20-22 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky.
The annual event will again bring together all of the industry’s major auto glass groups, including AGRR™ magazine, the Auto Glass Safety Council (formerly the AGRSS® Council), the Independent Glass Association, the National Glass Association and the National Windshield Repair Association, along with AGRR magazine’s repair and replacement competitions.
A room block for Auto Glass Week will be available at the nearby Louisville Marriott Downtown. Reservations can be made online by clicking here, or by calling the hotel at 800/266-9432 and asking for the Auto Glass Week group.

The International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ also will be held concurrently.

Visit for the latest information as it becomes available.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Product to Optimize Marketing and Sales Performance

ContactPoint, a member service for both the NGA and WDDA, is announcing the immediate availability of the beta version of their groundbreaking new product, LogMyCalls. LogMyCalls is the solution for any glass and window & door business that want to measure and optimize the effectiveness of their marketing and improve their sales performance. 
LogMyCalls also records incoming customer phone calls and allows users to search them, group them and even score them. This can be used to gather real-time customer feedback and dramatically improve sales and customer service performance. LogMyCalls provides insight into the whole process—from advertising to closed sale. You spend a lot of money on marketing to get the phone to ring—make sure every call is being handled effectively.
So, whether you’re a big business that needs sophisticated marketing analytics tools and call recording, a medium sized business that wants to set up an IVR or geo-route calls to the nearest location, or a smaller business that simply wants to know if you wasted money with that latest marketing effort and improve your ability to sell—LogMyCalls is for you. (And it’s much cheaper than you think).  
Visit to sign up or call 866-811-8880.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Money Saving Trick: Get Clients to Make Your Bill a Priority

The month of December can be a crucially important month for you, your business and your cash flow. If you are like most companies, you have some accounts that are past due. Some may be a little past due, others may be very past due.

Ask yourself this: If some of your customers owe you money and haven’t paid you in months, and have ignored you for months, what makes think they will pay you now? It’s holiday time! Your bill is the last thing they are thinking about. This is the time of year when people start saving money, working overtime and will be looking forward to their end of the year bonuses. They are building a bundle of extra spending money for the holidays.

I know that the economy is sluggish and people are struggling, but remember: No matter how bad the economy is, or how bad someone`s personal financial situation is, people ALWAYS spend money during the holidays. And most probably spend more than they should.

It`s really imperative that you get after them right away otherwise your money is going to end up underneath someone else`s Christmas tree. Seriously, December is consistently one of the most successful months in the collection industry for that very reason; people have the extra money. That said, also keep in mind that January and February consistently bring the lowest recovery rates of the year because that money is long since spent.

In fact, many people spend much more than they intended to on their holiday shopping and January is when they`re just starting to get those huge credit card bills. The decision your debtors will be making over the next few weeks will be “Should I pay this bill or should I go to Best Buy and get something for Uncle Jack and go to Macy`s for Cousin Jane?”

Unless you do something to make your bill a priority NOW you will lose that battle every time.   
  • If you don`t take action soon the money that is owed to you will be spent on bonuses and office parties for someone else`s employees, not yours!
  • Your money will be spent on food for other families` holiday dinners, not yours!
  • Your money will be spent on other people`s travel expenses, not yours!
  • Your money will be spent on Christmas gifts for someone else`s friends and families, not yours!
I don`t think that`s right, and neither should you!

The WDDA and NGA have partnered with Transworld Systems to help you get paid more often and on time. For more information, contact Brian A. White, Senior Cash Flow Consultant, at or 703-556-3424 ext 23.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Setting Employee Expectations

In our previous SellWithPower Blog we talked about miscommunication. We established that many bosses (if not most) fail to clearly communicate exactly what they expect from their employees. They simply fail to tell their employees what is important to them. They fail to tell their employees what the most important tasks are they should accomplish each day. They fail to communicate.

So, here's the big question: how can managers improve? How can they do a better job of communicating their expectations with their employees?  Here are some tips to help you improve now:
  1. Determine what the most important responsibilities for each employees are. Write them down. You need to define what you want from each employee before you share that information with them.
  2. Write down specific tasks you want accomlished by each employee/each day/week/month. What are the most vital thingsthey should get done? In what order?
  3. Now that you know what is most important for each employee to accomplish, you can tell them. Meet with each employee and write down these specific responsibilities/tasks. Make sure they understand clearly what you expect of them. Encourage the employee to ask questions. Be willing to change or amend your list of responsibilities and tasks.
  4. Hold your team accountable. Ensure there are consequences (positive and negative) when a task or responsibility is completed on time (or isn't).
By following these 4 quick tips you can mitigate miscommunication between employees and management. The other factor we really didn't discuss here is setting goals with employees. You can read more about that here.

Free Leadership Training eBook - Learn management skills now.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Establish Action Plans that are Attainable

Make sure that everyone establishes Action Plans that are attainable. Asking for the impossible de-motivates and dooms this management approach to failure.

In establishing Action Plans you and your employees also need to consider factors outside of the employee’s control that could impact completion of the Action Plans. For example, the company closes a very large contract that will require certain employees to reassess their priorities in order to complete the contract on schedule and within budget.

In that regard, be sure to remember Action Plan Guideline #2:

• Always focus on meeting the wants and needs of the customers.

Always remember that happy customers mean repeat business and that’s the least costly marketing initiative your company can undertake.

Richard Voreis Consulting Collaborative

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bad Customer Service: The Silent Killer

We have a new eBook available for free on It's called Bad Customer Service: The Silent Killer. It does, basically, three things:

First, the eBook argues that customer service should be re-enthroned in the modern business. Customer service is king. It is the one thing you can control in your business. You can't change your location, your brand, your products or your business plan (at least not overnight). You can control customer control it. Bad customer service is like a silent plague sweeping across businesses and employees across America. It will kill you, if you're not careful.

Second, Bad Customer Service: The Silent Killer will point out specific problems you may be having with customer service at your business. What are you doing wrong? What are the symptoms of bad customer service? How can you spot the minor problems before they consume your success and kill your company?

Third, this eBook will examine ways to fix customer service right now. It talks about management strategies for top-down customer service improvement. It discusses ways to deal with angry customers and steps for frontline employees to improve their customer service right now.

This eBook is designed to be your resource for improving customer service. So, download it (for free), share it, enjoy it. But most of all, learn from it. Use the tools found in the ebook and improve your customer service now!

ContactPoint NGA WDDA

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 2011 News & Links

  1. New Auto Glass Training: 2011 Auto Glass Technician Reference Manual and Updated courses.
  2. The National Glass Association has partnered with FMI to provide an online compensation benchmarking tool to members: Compensation Interactive
  3. New Doors and More at Association of Millwork Distributors annual exhibition.
  4. EPA offers Search Tool for Lead Certified Contractors, allowing the public to search for firms certified under the lead renovation, repair and painting rules.
  5. The Sixth and Seventh Keys to Highly Effective Selling.
  6. Join the WDDA for just $250 and start taking advantage of member programs and services.
  7. Done right, PR provides a much bigger bang for your buck than traditional advertising. Let us get the media working for you!
  8. Strategic planning for your business: Establish Specific Action Plans and Put Your Action Plan in Writing.
  9. Congratulations to Wooster Glass Co., Inc. and Floral City Glass Co on their 50th anniversary as NGA members!  View a list of anniversary members.
  10. From Glass Magazine: The good, the bad, and the suspect: Tariffs on Chinese aluminum help some, hurt others.
  11. Great Glazing high-end shower enclosures: King of the Throne and The ‘Celebrity’ Shower.
  12. Get the most out of your NGA membership! View a complete list of member benefits.
  13. Welcome new NGA members and new WDDA members!
  14. WDDA announces partnership to bring extended resources and expert analysis to benchmarking network.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Put Your Action Plan in Writing

It’s my belief that a fully effective management system should include specific, measurable and time framed employee Action Plans supporting the Top Priorities of the company as well as enhance accountability and results throughout the organization.

It’s my belief that a fully effective management system should include specific, measurable and time framed employee Action Plans supporting the Strategic Goals of the firm as well as enhance accountability and results throughout the organization.

Additionally, the written Action Plans document should be utilized in several ways in your company for the following purposes: 
  • Employee accountability for achievement of Action Plans.
  • Part of the annual Performance Appraisal process.
  • Part of the Salary Administration process.
  • Part of the Incentive Compensation process.
Do put the Action Plans in writing and make sure that both the employee and the manager have a copy.

Richard Voreis Consulting Collaborative 

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Seventh Key of Highly Effective Selling

7) Get a Commitment

Getting a commitment is the actual solution to the problem. If the customer gets off the phone or leaves your place of business without a solution we have failed to accomplish our objective. (Remember they wanted to buy from you, right?)
You are wasting your time and the time of your customer if you are not willing to ask for the business. Your customers expect to be asked – they want to be asked. It’s that simple. If you have fear around asking or being rejected, get over it or get someone to help you with this final step.
FACT: Statistics show that when you ask for the business directly after giving a price, you will get the business 150% more than if you don’t ask for the business after giving the price.
So maybe that little thing called “fear of rejection” is nagging at you. How can you be sure they will say yes? Well the answer is to not be afraid of a “no”. I mean what is the worst that can happen? A “no” doesn’t mean anything about you, so don’t personalize it. Every now and again we have to play psychologist and do some role reversal. If you were the customer, looking for a product and wanting to buy, why would you say no? What are the road blocks to a yes? Without being pushy, ask some clarifying questions. What is the basic need of the customer? What are the limitations? Is there room for flexibility?

The real objection is not the price. It is making sure the customer sees the value in the price. Yes, today they can go “Google it” and find 10 other competitors that have the same product as you. But what will set you apart is your attention to the customer’s wants and needs, your knowledge about the product, your ability to build a relationship and your willingness to be assertive about the sell. Being confident in yourself will show, and it will help the customer trust in you on their way to getting their wallet.

Let’s look at the typical objections you get when the customer does not want to buy your product or service. In general, all objections turn out to be a version of the same four reasons. Though customers may call their objection by different names, they are the same basic issues with the same practical solutions. This means that the objection is something that is usually a practical, manageable situation for which we can prepare.

There are really only four basic objections. Every objection is some version of: 
  • I am not the decision maker.
  • Price is too high or more than I expected.
  • Not time yet.
    • I’ll call or check back later and let you know. (this is a “no”)
    • Just send me a quote in writing. (this is also a “no”)
  • Shopping ahead and just trying to get prices.
If they say “no” ask or acknowledge their objections. Let them know that you heard what they said. Remember, as a consultant, in order to meet their needs you need to understand their reasoning. Sometimes restating their objection is enough. Other times, you will need to probe further to find out specifically what does not work. You can do this by simply and non-defensively asking the customer, “Why?”
- Customer: “No thanks.”
- Rep: “Okay. Can I ask why?”
- Customer: “I don’t like the price.”
- Rep: “What specifically about the price don’t you like?”
In this example, the salesperson responds by acknowledging and restating the customer’s objection in the form of an open-ended question. This is the beginning of a dialog that will help you ask the necessary questions to overcome their objections or at the very least continue to build rapport that will pay off for you later.
Just remember, you get more business if you ask for the business after giving a price. So don’t be afraid to ask, the answer could give you just what you are looking for.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Auto Glass Training Now Available

The NGA has just unveiled two updated products for the auto glass industry. These authoritative resources - which covers safety, glass service, and pattern-making procedures -- are perfect for technicians, managers and CSRs.  NGA training is an indispensable study guide for technicians preparing for the AGRSS Certification Exams.  
  1. 2011 Auto Glass Technician Reference Manual. The manual is just $69.95 for NGA members ($139.90 off the non-member price). 
  2. Auto Glass Courses.  Purchase courses starting at $29.95, bundles starting at $120,  or a subscription including all Auto Glass courses starting at $350 for NGA Members. 
The updated training includes: 
  • The latest technician techniques and procedures,
  • Latest guidance covering rain sensors,
  • Deeper coverage of value-added parts,
  • Detailed information on moulding techniques,
  • Training to prepare you for AGRSS certification,
  • And more.
To order an Auto Glass Technician Reference Manual, visit  For more information, visit the NGA store:  To view the complete course catalog, or to begin purchasing courses, visit

Monday, October 31, 2011

Establish specific Action Plans

With respect to Action Plans, generalities don’t get the job done. Here are some examples of poor Action Plans because they are too general.
  • Increase sales doesn’t say how to make it happen and literally when revenues are increased by $1.00 the Action Plan has been accomplished. 
  • Finish projects on schedule is expected. Instead establish Action Plans that will make it happen.
  • Improve the project management process does not say how it will happen and there is no understanding of what will be done.
  • Contribute to improved teamwork does not say how to do it or what is to be accomplished.
  • Contribute to improved internal communications does not say how it will be accomplished.
Action Plans need to be specific and concise and generalities don’t contribute to the success of the company.

There is always the tendency to establish too many Action Plans and that leads to problems. Make sure you and your employees avoid piling on and focus only on important and meaningful Action Plans.   Follow an absolute rule of not establishing more than one page of Action Plans.  

Remember, you and your employees can always establish more Action Plans when the original list is finished.

Richard Voreis Consulting Collaborative

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Let us get the media working for you!

When was the last time your local newspaper ran an article about your company?  How often are you asked by a reporter for your expert opinion?  What do you find when you Google your company's name. If you don't like the way you answered those questions, we can help.  Champion Management specializes in providing marketing and public relations support to small- and mid-sized businesses that don't have the internal expertise or resources to do it themselves. 

A sophisticated and effective PR campaign can give a needed boost to your next product/service launch, generate new customer leads, increase your top-of-mind awareness and dramatically improve your search engine visibility.  Done right, PR provides a much bigger bang for your buck than traditional advertising.

Champion has designed a package of public relations services exclusively for WDDA members. We can also customize services to address your unique market challenges, starting with a comprehensive strategic assessment of your marketing/public relations approach. Those services will be discounted at least 25% for WDDA members. Contact us to get started today, and be sure to tell us you're an WDDA member for your special rate.

Ladd Biro
Champion Management


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Sixth Key of Highly Effective Selling

6. Check Their Temperature

A trial close is a very valuable sales technique that enables you to do a temperature check as to your level of rapport with the customer and the customer’s overall receptiveness. A trial close ensures you are getting “buy-in” along the way and that you are on the right track in your customer’s mind. It also enables you to formulate your questions and your approach based on periodic, real-time feedback throughout your conversation. There are two main types of trial closes: open-ended and close-ended.  
“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your level of service, and then tell friends about it.”  - W. Edwards Deming
Here is an example of an open-ended trial close:
  • Rep: “Because you mentioned having so many boxes, I am going to recommend shelving units; they will give you three times the storage capability and allow for ease of movement and access. How does that sound?”
  • Customer: “Sounds good.”
  • Rep: “You are getting up early every day for your conference, so I am going to add a complimentary in-room continental breakfast. How will that work for you?”
  • Customer: “That would be great.”
A closed-ended trial close is most powerful and definitive when used after stating a feature and a benefit. It is designed to get a real “yes” or a “no”. Now don’t be afraid of NO. By getting an objection now, we can go back, ask clarifying questions, recalculate, resell and ask the trial close again before we give a price and ask for the business in a hard close. 

Here is an example of a closed-ended trial close:
  • Rep: “Based on what you are telling me, I am going to recommend that Lion Grip tread. As I mentioned, it is the most aggressive tread we offer. It would be perfect for winter driving in Michigan. As a benefit, for only an addition $100, we will take your old tires and donate or recycle them and give you one extra new tire, so in the event of an emergency you have a comparable and reliable spare. Does that sound like it will work for you?”
  • Customer: “Yes.”
  • Rep: “We have an executive suite with the complimentary in-room continental breakfast and I can add an entertainment package upgrade so you have everything you need to be comfortable and unwind from your busy work schedule. Would that fit you need?”
  • Customer: “No. I don’t want to pay for the entertainment package.”
  • Rep: “So the room will work for you without the entertainment packet, right?”
  • Customer: “Yes.” 
The habit we are seeking to develop is to consistently and confidently perform a trial close each time we have given a feature and benefit. If we are off track with the customers, a trial close helps us know what the customer is thinking and how we should modify our communication in order to hit their hot button.

It is very helpful to use the trial close throughout a sales call. Doing so enables us to create buy-in and move the process along so that when we get to closing most of the heavy lifting or hard work has already been done.

Free eBook - The 7 Keys of Highly Effective Selling
ContactPoint NGA WDDA

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

News and Links for October

Here's what's happening around the glass and window & door industries this month.  Have other news?  Post it below or email me at
  1. Members save on FedExUPS, UPS Freight, and YRC.
  2. GlassBuild America Innovative Product Review.
  3. WDDA to Gather Support for Increased 25C Credits
  4. Fall Special on Training - 25% off! Use coupon code Fall2011 at checkout to save on courses and bundles on
  5. Expansion of the 25C Tax Credits.
  6. Greenbuild 2011: Photos and video from the show floor
  7. If you currently accept credit cards, or have thought about implementing a credit card program, Electronic Data Payment Systems can help you save. NGA WDDA
  8. Windshield removal and replacement instructions for the 2007-10 Audi Q7 and the 2008-11 BMW 128i.
  9. From Glass Magazine: LEEDing product design and Look before you leap: Advice for glass companies going solar
  10. New Blog from ContactPoint: Helping Your Employees Succeed.
  11. EPA Issues Proposed Changes for Energy Star
  12. Window & Door’s Dealers of the Year 2011
  13. Feed A Bully – A Strategy For Local Business Internet Marketing.
  14. WDDA members save on education, events, and member services
  15. Installation Training Available Online on, The Only Online Provider of InstallationMasters™
  16. Welcome new NGA and WDDA members!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Feed A Bully – A Strategy For Local Business Internet Marketing

What do the entries on the list below share in common?
Answer: The opportunity to make or break your company’s reputation.

The funny, or not so funny thing about the Internet’s evolution is how powerful it has become. At times, like a bully, it demands that you either play or be crushed. That’s the predicament many companies find themselves in today with regard to the proliferation of online local listings that include reviews.

The above list is only a partial list and reflects a growing trend of what might be called yellow page sites or sites that aggregate business listings. Because these are paid sites they will more than likely trump other search engine optimization strategies you might be deploying.

Check this out for yourself by Googling the city where your business is located and your business keywords. For example, I Googled San Jose window dealers. If your search produces a non-paid listing, of your company, somewhere on pages one through five, congratulations. But, the reality is that the rules for SEO, which serve to get your company’s natural listings to appear at the top of the search heap, aren’t working like they used to. Not against this new wave of paid listings. And as I mentioned earlier, these sites wield the crushing power of a bully unless you play.

Not only do they buy their search ranking, they are collecting and publishing reviews about your company. How can you proactively manage this new trend?

The first thing is to get listed with Google Local Business Center, Yahoo Local, and other key local Yellow Page like listings in your area. You do this by simply registering on the website.

The second thing you do is to ask your customers for reviews on these sites. You need lots of good reviews. I’m often asked how does a company counteract a bad review? You can proactively combat a bad review by having lots of good reviews. When a client thanks you, mention how much you’d appreciate an online comment and give them a site location. Why not put a link to your Google local business profile in your signature line, with an invitation to leave a review?

A good class on bullying will teach you that a technique to reduce the chance of being bullied is to ignore a bully. I’m telling you, don’t use that technique here. First of all there’s more than one potential bully and second, they simply want to be fed. Feed them reviews and watch what happens.

Sharon Aby
Beyond Ideas Marketing LLC

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why Customers Leave

Whether you want to admit it or not, your business makes mistakes. Maybe the quality of your work wasn't good (just one time, of course). Perhaps, your billing was incorrect and your customer was charged too much. Maybe, a job took too long, or there was something wrong with a product you sold your customer.

These things happen to every business. And statistics show all of these things are forgiveable. Your customer will forget about any billing dispute, most quality issues and pretty much everything else you throw at them.

But, statistics show they will not forgive you for bad customer service.

Bad customer service is the unpardonable sin. Your customer simply won't forget it. Here's a stunning statistic that demonstrates this:

- 86% of people say they've stopped doing business with a company because of just one bad customer service experience (up from 69% in 2007) - Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report

Think about that! Almost 90% of the time customers will not return if they've had a bad customer service experience. Wow!

We've talked about how to provide legendary customer service here and here. So I won't explain that again. What I want to figure out is this: why will a customer leave you because of bad customer service and not because of other mistakes your business may make?

Here is the answer: Customer service is personal. A billing dispute isn't personal. A missed appointment isn't personal. A dirty hotel room isn't personal. Neither is a shoddy job.

But, customer service is VERY personal.

If a customer is treated poorly by you or your employees they will not forget it. They have been personally offended. You have made the customer feel dumb, disrespected or angry. They've been frustrated and upset. They won't forget it.

That is why, 86% of the time, they won't return.

ContactPoint NGA WDDA

Monday, October 10, 2011

Expansion of the 25C Tax Credits

The Window & Door Dealers Alliance is attending the Remodeling Show in Chicago this week. At the event, we will be collecting signatures on a petition to be sent to Congressional leaders and the White House urging the expansion of the 25C tax credits. Come and show your support for the renewal and increase of tax incentives for purchasers of energy efficient home improvement products.

This is just another way we are involved in policy for window and door dealers. 

Window and door dealers know the tax credits were effective in spurring homeowners to invest in increasing the energy efficiency of their homes. With the petition, we can build upon the support voiced by WDDA and other industry organizations and strengthen the united voice that policymakers need and want to hear.

David Sakin, President, Premiere Window & Building, Inc, of Owings Mills, MD puts it best: “We desperately need the expansion of these credits to provide incentives and confidence for consumers purchases, to create much needed jobs, and continue the positive momentum built in the last few years for energy efficiency upgrades within residential properties.”

If you are not attending the Remodeling Show, you can show your support by sending me a letter at

David Walker, Vice President

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Money Saving Trick: Clipping Coupons

I admit it: I'm a coupon clipper. Every Sunday morning, I grab the paper and the first section I go to is the coupons.  I just need to know what I can save money on this week.  Some weeks there are no coupons for the things I buy...and $100s worth of coupons for items I'll never need. Other weeks, I end up saving on the stuff I buy anyway. 

I try to apply this at work when I can.  Just this week we were finishing up our new Auto Glass Manual (watch for the announcement next week!), and I was calling around for print quotes.  It turns out that a publishing company can do they job for 30% less than a print shop close by. 

It's a challenge we face every day: do we continue to use the vendors we have relationships with, or do we take the time to comparison shop?

The NGA and WDDA have tried to compile some discounts for your business: on shipping, office supplies, insurance, and even consulting services, that can help your business save money....and maybe save a little time.  All Members qualify for discounts with Staples, UPS, FedEx, YRC, CoreHealth Insurance, and more.  Take a couple of minutes to comparison shop for your business and save!

NGA Discounts:
WDDA Discounts:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Helping Your Employees Succeed

Effective managers are in touch with their team members. They speak to their employees constantly. They seek them out at least once a day to see how things are going and to see if there's anything they can do to help them. Ineffective managers usually don't speak to their employees each day. They aren't aware of their struggles, their concerns or their problems. They only talk with their employees in official meetings and capacities. They don't truly know what's going on.

The following tips will help your employees know that you really care about them:

Talk. Spend time talking with your each member of your team daily (if possible). Ask them open-ended questions about all sorts of things, personal and business. Learn to follow their lead. You don’t have to talk business all the time. Remember the goal is to let them know that you care about them.

Ask. Ask each team member how he, or she, is doing. Ask for suggestions to improve their job. Ask what you can do to make their jobs better. Be sure to follow up. If you can't solve the problem, tell them why at a later time. If you tell them “no” immediately, they will think you are just dismissing them.

Thank. Thank your individual team members. Notice positive contributions each member makes and give them positive feedback. People don’t often get thanked for just doing their job. Making your team feel appreciated is important. Productivity and morale will improve. Simply: your team will perform better when you compliment them.

Let go. If something bothers you, like a messy desk, or the way someone laughs, just let it go. See what happens. Many things that bother us are not ultimately important in the big picture of increasing revenue. See what happens – just for a day. If your world doesn’t fall apart, then try letting little things go for a week. (This is something to try in your personal life as well).

Pretend. Experience what your customer experiences. Pretend you are a customer and then share your observations with your team. Use the information to improve your team’s performance. Giving feedback in this way is critically important.

Free Management eBook

ContactPoint NGA WDDA

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September News & Links

  1. NGA Announces New Chairman of the Board.
  2. Log-in to your account today to purchase Courses and Bundles online. When you enter the coupon code Fall2011 at checkout, you will receive 25% off your order.
  3. Glass Magazine at GlassBuild America: Putting GlassBuild America 2011 in the books, GlassBuild America 2011, Video: Transparent photovoltaic glass debuts at GlassBuild America.
  4. Champion Management specializes in driving positive exposure for mid-sized companies in consumer, trade, and social media. NGA and WDDA Members save up to 25%!
  5. Window & Door at GlassBuild America: Emphasis on Upgraded Performance at GlassBuild, GlassBuild America 2011 Video Gallery, and GlassBuild America 2011 Snapshots.
  6. AGRSS Council Acquires Auto Glass Technician Certification from NGA. Organizations to focus on strengths in service to auto glass industry.
  7. Consulting Collaborativeis continually seeing “best practices” on a national basis and they are  up-to-date on what works and what doesn't in today's challenging business environment.
  8. Windshield removal and replacement instructions for the 2011 Nissan Titan and the 2011 BMW Z4.
  9. 2011 NGA Forums were successful.  Leading Economist Provides Economic Roadmap at the Glazing Executives Forum and Mazria Captivates Inaugural Architects Forum.
  10. Great Glazing: Barnes Foundation Museum.
  11. Welcome new NGA members and new WDDA members!
  12.  Guide designed to introduce contractors to lead-safe work requirements
  13. New Communication Tool for RRP Implementation is now available.
  14. "No Double Dip," Says Economist at AAMA.
  15. Best Practices Highlight 2nd Annual Window & Door Dealers Forum
What news did you think was most important in September? Share it in the comments!   

Monday, September 26, 2011

Truth In Advertising Brought To You

Google Truth In Advertising, and you have a reading list that will keep you busy for a month.  Or if you attended the Window & Door Dealers Forum at GlassBuild a couple of  weeks ago, you got all you need to know.  Or more likely, you now know what you don’t know. 
The WDDA sponsored it’s 2nd Annual Forum, which included a wake up call from D.S. Berenson, counsel to the remodeling and home improvement industry, which addressed the participants.  
How is it that good people, like us, get in trouble with the law? Most often, it’s truth in advertising claims.
How many times have you asked someone on your staff to whip up a flyer to advertise a window promotion? How many times do allow an advertisement to go out without proofreading it? How many times do you create an agreement by cut and pasting from another document?  Or how many times do you sign a contract with a developer, builder, architect or designer without reading the fine print or including disclaimers of your own?  Well, we all do these things, all the time, and with the expectation that 2012 will continue to bring more regulations aimed at our industry, expect more legal exposure.
There’s a lot to know about truthful advertising but a good rule of thumb and a first line of defense is this. When you write advertising copy, promote your product or make promises to customers, use a litmus test to determine if your ad cries foul. Always proof read the ad and scrutinize your promises from the customer’s perspective. If you are the customer, what did the advertisement suggest to you? Your litmus test is to take the consumer’s point of view. 
That’s what the Federal Trade Commission will do if a claim is made against your company. They will take the customer’s point of view. Protect yourself by putting on your consumer hat and ask yourself the following questions about your advertising or promotion.
  1. Are there any express and implied claims?
  2. What does my ad NOT say? Have you clarified the specific terms?
  3. Did you make something material to the decision to buy?
  4. Can you support your advertising claims with facts?
Keeping ourselves informed is a time consuming endeavor, but there are a lot of great resources out there to help us. The FTC website mentioned above provides small business tips and in-depth rules. Other useful resources include:, or  
Remember, if you want to keep your company out of trouble you can do two simple things, use the consumer perspective litmus test to review your advertising and second, attend the WDDA Forum next September at the Glassbuild Show in Las Vegas – where the have the things you need to know brought to you.
Sharon Aby
Beyond Ideas

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Fifth Key of Highly Effective Selling

5) Personalize Where Possible 
Building value is an essential step as a sales consultant because it is very important to position yourself, first and foremost in your customer’s mind, as the authority; the expert; the industry leader; or the company with the best solution (i.e. the one that offers the most value or has a unique advantage over your competition).

It is easier to do this up front, at the beginning of a recommendation to your customer, than to try to mention it later as way to overcome objection. Some companies will suggest a standard competitive positioning statement that should be mentioned before you launch into recommendation and price.

Here are some examples:
  • “Just so you know, your purchase comes with a 120-day money-back guarantee. If for any reason you want to cancel your subscription or return your product, you can do so – no questions asked. We are the only company that offers this kind of promise.”
  • “Our customer service reps and mechanics are available to you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are always there to help whenever you need us.”
  • “What sets us apart from our competition is that all of our storage containers feature our patented locking system. They are the most secure doors in the industry.”
  • “Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.”
    Kim Collins – World Champion Sprinter
A benefit only builds value in the mind of your customer if it addresses a stated need or concern. Personalize the sharing of your features and benefits by referring to information you gleaned about your customer during your questioning process. By following this approach, you become a consultant instead of a salesperson. Because you listen to and address the customer’s specific needs in your recommendation, you demonstrate to the customer that your product or service is designed to solve their problem.

There are 5 common areas that customers care about in regard to how your product or service will benefit them.

To be effectively building personal value, every benefit must tie back to at least one of these five common areas of customer interest in some direct or indirect way. It is not enough to assume that the customer will make this connection. You must state the connection as a notable personal benefit for the customer as part of your presentation.

Personalizing has mostly to do with referring back to what the customer actually told you. It is fitting or customizing the product or service you sell around your customer’s needs. And it’s important to remember that not all benefits are important to a customer. One common mistake is to outline ALL of the benefits to a prospective customer, even the ones that are not important to them. This can actually work against you because it tells the customer that you don’t know what they want nor understand their needs. You’re just shooting in the dark hoping to hit on something that will “sell” them. Keep in mind that if the customer does not talk about it, you don’t want to talk about it.
ContactPoint NGA WDDA

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Fourth Key to Highly Effective Selling

4) Discover the Real Motivation
When asking questions, listen and acknowledge the responses. This approach creates a true dialogue with a customer and allows us to build relationship, rapport, and trust while learning what matters most to the customer. You are essentially solving a mystery. What is their real motivation? What are they really looking for and why are they really talking to you.
If you were selling hand tools, like drills for example, you would want to realize that ultimately the customer doesn’t what the drill; they want the hole that the drill will create. By staying focused on the benefit or the end result, the customer is seeking; you will find solutions to their needs more readily.
Open-ended questions are used to get your customer to open up and talk to you. These types of questions also help prevent us from making assumptions. Open-ended questions also expose sales opportunities and create more openings for familiarity and rapport with your customer.
Probing questions are a tool used for extracting more information about a topic. They show you are not only hearing your customer’s response, but that you also understand and care. Are you interrogating or confronting? Remember to put a smile in your voice and mind your tone. How you ask a question makes the difference between sounding helpful and curious or like an interrogator.
If you have truly grasped the concept of leading the conversation (the Second Key to Highly Effective Selling)you will be able to use this as a key to discovering the motivation of the customer. So let’s recap from the beginning. Your first interactions should be poised and professional. Remember to use their name. You should demonstrate how to generate customer comfort and familiarity. Asking some basic questions also provides you with a direction when looking for the motivation. Ask clarifying questions and restate. Finally, always remember your TONE! Creating a friendly rapport with the customer is key.
When a customer approaches a sales person about a product, this is when the discovery for the real motivation happens. As they ask questions, think to yourself, why would they want to know that specifically about the product? What are their priorities? Once you have identified the priorities for information they are seeking you can piece together the puzzle for their motivation.
Another way to be sure you are in tune with you customer is to simply ask. Are they looking for a specific product and is their motivation related to a projects or specific need? Using the 5 w’s, ask some clarifying questions. Sometimes this guess-and-check method can be more effective because we are ensuring that our assumptions are correct.
ContactPoint NGA WDDA