Tuesday, May 31, 2011

EPA Considers Reforming RRP Rules

If ever there was evidence of the need to be vigilant on a policy issue, this is it: The EPA has placed review of the RRP issue on the fast track.
As part of a White House initiative to review and curb burdensome regulations throughout the federal government, the Environmental Protection Agency says its Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Program is slated for "early action."  The lead-paint rules are under a "priority regulatory review" intended to yield a "specific step toward modifying, streamlining, expanding, or repealing a regulation or related program," according to EPA's preliminary regulatory reform plan. Continue reading the Window & Door article.
Ever since the EPA introduced the RRP rules, the WDDA has worked to change direction.  The WDDA participated with other industry representatives in an EPA conference call in April to give input on the rules and review process. Just last week WDDA members met with Administration staff to outline industry views on the lead clearance testing rule.
These actions, coupled with your letter writing and phone campaigns, are moving the meter our way. While it it is too early to claim any victory, we want you to be aware of this important development.
Thank you for your support. Please visit www.wddalliance.org for more information. 

David Walker

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SMART Goal or DUMB Goal?

This month's CP3 focused on the 3 things you can remember when setting your S.M.A.R.T. business goals to improve sales. Just like there are SMART goals, there are also D.U.M.B. ones:
  • Distracting. Make sure that your goals do not stray from the path of success! Goals should be worth while and help  close more sales.
  • Unmeasurable. Make sure that the effort results in tangible statistics or results that will help you track success and improve sales. Know what your progress is and record it.
  • Meaningless and Boring. Consider goals that will contribute towards fine tuning your sales training. Make it exciting!  Take the time to make your goals worth doing by adding some flavor.
You've probably heard of the acronym, S.M.A.R.T. in association with goal setting. In case you can't recall off the top of your head exactly what this acronym stands for, let's go over it.
  • S is for Specific: What, Why, Who, Which, Where?
  • M is for Measurable: Set criteria to measure progress.
  • A is for Attainable: Set yourself up for success! Don't make it too hard, but a challenge is always more satisfying than an easy task.
  • R is for Relevant: Will this goal that you are setting REALLY make a difference?
  • T is for Time-based: A goal without a due date isn't a goal, its wishful thinking. Make a commitment to a deadline.

Kelly Wasden
ContactPoint Solutions NGA WDDA

Monday, May 23, 2011

Educational Forums, Seminars at GlassBuild America

GlassBuild America is only 4 months away!  It's time to start examining the tradeshow floor to see what booths you need to visit and setting meetings with your customers.  As you plan to attend this year’s event, being held September 12-14, 2011 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, make sure you take a look at the exciting educational programs being offered.
With three full-day forums and two seminars, GlassBuild America will feature something for everyone. 
  • 6th Annual NGA Glazing Executives Forum, September 12 
    A full day of interactive breakout sessions, expert speakers, peer-to-peer sharing and networking.  A must-attend event for every glazing professional.
  • 2nd Annual WDDA Window & Door Dealers Forum, September 13 
    This event features breakout sessions, best practice sharing, top speakers and an informal networking reception. Content will be created and presented by window and door dealers.
  • 1st Annual NGA Architects Forum, September 13-14
    Co-presented by AAMA and the AIA Georgia and Atlanta chapters, this is an opportunity for Architects to learn more about the glass and glazing industry from industry experts and earn AIA credits. This forum includes tickets to both Thursday Seminars.
  • Seminar: Building Integrated Photovoltaic: It’s Not the Future, It’s the Now,  September 14 Moderated by Richard Voreis of Consulting Collaborative, this seminar will look at the numerous applications of solar technology. Attendees will learn about market trends, the challenges and opportunities, integration with curtain walls and other fenestration products and more.
  • Seminar: Trends in Decorative Glass,  September 14
    This session will cover trends in the fast-growing and ever-changing Decorative Glass segment. Facilitated by Kris Vockler of ICD High Performance Coatings, attendees will learn the latest issues in Decorative Glass and its potential impact for their businesses. Session information will include the latest information on standards and products.
Attendee registration for GlassBuild America and the educational programs is now open.  I'll see you in Atlanta!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

News & Links for May

Here's what NGA and WDDA members (and the industry) should know this month.

  1. GlassBuild America Registration Now Open.  Register Today.
  2. Attend Architects Forum, earn AIA units at GlassBuild America® 2011.
  3. New Webinar! IGMA Gas Filling with Randi Ernst of FDR Design on May 24. Learn how glass filling affects the performance of insulated glass units and the methods and materials used in this process.
  4. Guardian Industries, Petersen Aluminum Sponsor 2011 NGA Architects Forum.
  5. Learn more about planning for your business: Specific, Measurable, and Focused Goals and Create Employee Action Plans.
  6. Windshield, and front and rear door glass removal and replacement instructions for the 2011 Audi A4 and 2011 Honda Element.
  7. Check GlassBlog and The Talk every week for insight into the industry
  8. Glass Magazine’s Guide to Decorative Glass is now available!
  9. If you join the WDDA by August 31, 2011, or renew your 2010 WDDA Charter Membership,  your company will receive one free registration to the 2nd Annual Window & Door Dealers Forum – a $185 value.
  10. WDDA to Voice Concern about New Lead Testing Rules.
  11. Money Saving Trick: Make Payment Arrangements with Past Due Customers.
  12. Window & Door’s 2011 Dealers of the Year Nominations are due by June 1, 2011.
  13. WDDA and NGA members save on consulting services that will help you run your business and reach your customers.
  14. Welcome new WDDA members! Welcome new NGA members!
What news did you think was most important in April? Share it in the comments! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Create Employee Action Plans

Annual company goals should be supported by employee Action Plans that hold  everyone in the company accountable for success.  If you want to establish plans that are effective, result-oriented  and motivational, you need to include basic criteria:
  • Specific goals
  • Descriptions of how you will measure progress
  • Due dates and/or time frames
When each staff member has their own specific and personalized plan, everyone works toward common goals. As you start setting up action plans, ask yourself the following:
  • Are all your employees working toward goals?
  • Are all your employees working on the right things?
  • Are all your employees on the same page?
Action Plans tell “how” each employee (management and staff) will impact the success of the company’s annual goals.  In other words, what each employee is going to do to make the company successful.  Everyone from the top to the bottom of the organization has a role in supporting the company annual goals

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

WDDA Policy Survey: We need Your Help!

The Window & Door Dealers Alliance has secured a meeting on Tuesday, May 17, with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to discuss the Lead Clearance Testing Requirements for the Renovation, Repair, and Painting  rule scheduled to take effect this summer.  WDDA representatives will be asking regulators to stop implementation on the proposed rule.
The WDDA believes this rule would be extremely onerous to the window and door dealer industry and would not deliver the protections it claims. In order to present a convincing argument, we need your help. Please take a moment to take our four question survey. Your input will help us argue our case before the regulators.
Visit our web site for more information: www.wddalliance.org/policy.html. Thank you for supporting the work of the WDDA as we fight to protect your business.
David Walker
VP Association Services

Monday, May 9, 2011

Make Payment Arrangements with Past Due Customers

There are many reasons customers can't pay their invoice on time. If a customer is late and you contact them, or they call you, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to handle the situation. When working with our clients, Transworld recommends that you keep control of the conversation at all times.
We recommend that you ask for your money using this 3 step process:
  1. Sympathize: (shows compassion) "I know how you feel, that happens sometimes." (This will defuse any possible anger and catch them off guard) 
  2. Remind the debtor of their obligation: (when the money was due), "Mrs. Smith your account balance of $200 was supposed to be paid on  _________ date. (This can possibly cause a little guilt on their behalf and have them realize you are right in asking for the money.) 
  3. Ask them:
    • “Mrs. Smith will you be taking care of this today or tomorrow?”
    • “Mrs. Smith will you be paying with cash, check, or credit card?”
    • “Mrs. Smith of the $200 that is now due how much are you short?”
      • If they say they are short half, "Okay Mrs. Smith, lets do this, I need the $100 you have now. I’ll mark it on my calendar that your check/money order should be here on __________. Now, how much time do you think you need to take care of the balance? Do you get paid weekly or bi-weekly?
      • If they say they are short the whole amount, you are still in control. Now you can dictate payment terms.
This is how NOT to respond when a debtor says they can't pay in full:
  1. How much can you pay?
  2. When can you pay?
  3. Can you pay something? 
Asking these questions gives control of the conversation to the debtor and allows them to make unreasonable suggestions such as “$5.00 per month” (We have clients that in the past accepted $5-$10 per month on a two or three thousand dollar balance!).
Instead, state what you are willing to accept in the form of two options: 
  1. “I can either settle your account for _____ dollars in the next 30 days or you can start making monthly payments." 
  2. "You can do a payment of _____ dollars per month for the next 2 months or _____ dollars per month for 3 months.”
This will force the debtor to choose the option they like best or make a counter offer.  Either way you forced them to begin negotiating payment terms.

Brian A. White
Senior Cash Flow Consultant
Transworld Systems NGA WDDA

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Public relations should be part of your marketing mix

Glass shops and window and door companies typically invest significant sums in local market advertising to promote their businesses.  But many of these firms are missing one of the most important ingredients of any successful marketing mix: public relations. 

Here are just a few reasons why public relations should be a frequently used arrow in your marketing quiver.
  1. No one can tell your story better than you.  In the absence of a proactive public relations strategy, you risk letting someone else establish your brand identity in the marketplace.  Whether that’s the media, your customers or – worst of all – your competitors, no one should be allowed to define your public image other than you.  A well-crafted series of timely press releases and article submissions can enable you to break through the clutter and distinguish your business from the competition.  Embracing social media and establishing a corporate spokesperson as a respected authority in your industry and/or local market can further elevate your brand and position your shop to capture a premium share of the market.

  2. It’s cost-efficient.  A sophisticated PR campaign can be executed at a fraction of the cost of most advertising campaigns.  Advertising – broadcast, print and even online – can be very expensive, particularly in larger markets.  PR placements, often called “earned media,” can result in editorial visibility in the same news outlets in which you advertise without virtually any out-of-pocket cost.  Many small- and mid-sized firms have found that diverting as little as 10 to 20 percent of their advertising budgets to public relations pays significant dividends in terms of increased name/brand recognition, enhanced image and new customer recruitment.

  3. It’s more credible.  Advertising is paid self-promotion, and consumers are rightly skeptical of it.  Public relations carries the imprimatur of a third-party endorsement, which dramatically increases its credibility.  As a rule of thumb, a positive article written about your firm is worth five to 10 times the value of the same amount of advertising space, simply because the editorial placement is more likely to be read, and believed, by the audience.

  4. Building relationships with reporters can make all the difference.  The time to develop positive relationships with the news media is not when disaster strikes.  Reaching out to reporters in your area, as well as within your industry, when times are good can pay huge dividends in times of crisis.  One of the most effective ways to develop a level of trust and positive rapport with the media is by helping reporters working on deadline.  Always return their calls promptly, even if you aren’t certain why they’re calling.  You can always diplomatically decline to answer their questions, or ask to go “off the record.”

  5. It’s a virtuous cycle.  A robust PR campaign goes beyond generating positive headlines.  The more visible you become, the more the press will seek you out for your expert opinion on other pertinent stories, which further increases your media currency.  A high-profile local glazier could be seen as a third-party expert on the residential construction market, for example.  An auto glass professional could be asked for his explanation about how the windshield protected a family from harm in an ugly car accident.  In addition, media hits can dramatically improve your web site’s search engine rankings.  The more online mentions of, and links to, your company, the higher your site will appear on Google and other leading search engines.
Ladd Biro
Champion Management WDDA NGA
    Ladd Biro is president of Champion Management LLC, a leading marketing and public relations agency.  For more information about the NGA’s new PR services offered through Champion, please email lbiro@championmgt.com or call 972.724.3039.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Spring Forward With Sales

    Spring is looming on the horizon, flowers are starting to bloom, bee's are buzz... Wait a minute! This is not some How To Guide for planting your spring garden and doing recreational activities outside! No friends this is much more exciting than being outdoors! This is a How To Guide for closing more business!
    As the title suggests, let's talk about some elements to successfully closing more sales over the phone. Depending on how slow or how busy you are, we can always use more business. The key is in the asking! As the saying goes "You don't get what you don't ASK for."
    So the question remains... "How do I ask for the business?" Here are some pointers for successfully asking for that business:
    • Always, after giving the price ask for the business with a simple closed ended question. For example: "That is going to be $39.95 before tax, can I get that out to you today?" A closed ended question is anything that requires a Yes or No response.
    • We want to avoid giving them a reason to say no, this is where confidence must come into play! You have done enough work to get them to this point now it is up to us to close them!
    • Role-Play! I know I know... "But Kelly... it is soo hard!" When we role-play we are using the skills and getting better each and every time! Do so in your next meeting! Practice makes perfect and helps change old habits!
    You are waisting your time and the time of your customer if you do not ask for the business! Statistics show when you ask for the business you close 37.5% more of the business! However, when we fail to do so, that percentage drops to below 15%! I don't know about you, but closing 4 out of 10 calls looks more promising than 1-2 out of 10 calls in any given situation!
    As Spring is just around the corner, let's spring forward and maximize all we can by ASKING FOR THE BUSINESS on each and every call, and with each and every customer.
    Kelly Wasden
    ContactPoint Solutions NGA WDDA