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

Monday, September 12, 2011

Forecast for Economy and Construction Industry

One of America’s largest financial institutions sent a note to its clients in August saying, “The economy is only one shock away from falling into recession.”  Is this just hyperbole?  And what exactly constitutes a “shock?”

Could it be an ongoing accumulative European debt crisis?  Or perhaps a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan that disrupt the global supply chain?  What about rising commodity prices, gas prices near $4.00 a gallon, banks that won’t lend money and stubbornly high unemployment that has weighed down the economy longer than any point in our post-World War II history?

These persistent troubles, and many more, were addressed by one of the nation’s most respected economists, at the 2011 GlassBuild America™ Expo in Atlanta.  Dr. Jeff Dietrich, a Senior Analyst with the economic consulting firm ITR, gave a broad overview of the U.S. economy and the construction industry – where it is now and where it is headed – in his presentation entitled “The Economy ~ 2011 and Beyond.”  Dr. Dietrich spoke Monday evening, September 12, during the 6th Annual NGA Glazing Executives Forum.  

Attendees at the Glazing Executives Forum heard Dietrich expand on these and other critical economic indicators as he painted a vivid picture of the U.S. economy in 2011 and 2012.  He explained how businesses are far better positioned today to navigate the uncharted waters of this tepid recovery than they were in 2008. 

During his presentation, Dietrich remarked: “The hard truth is that there will be no rapid change in economic conditions.  The present climate of uncertainty is disorienting as well as discouraging, but this is not the beginning of a double-dip.  Even though most construction sectors remain below 2010 levels, there is positive momentum in commercial construction.  Housing starts are climbing out of the mild secondary recession cycle and will head higher in 2012 and 2013.”
Jeff has been our anchor at the Forum for the last six years, and we’re delighted that he returned to give us his unique, industry-specific take on the economic outlook.  Some of our regular attendees say his presentation is reason enough for them to return to the event year after year.  His forecasts have proven to be invaluable in helping these executives develop their short- and long-term strategic plans. This year was no exception.
David Walker
VP Association Services

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Third Key to Highly Effective Selling

3) Ask the Right Questions and Actively Listen
A “consultative” salesperson differs from the average salesperson by becoming an advisor and an expert to your customer. It means asking questions and helping a customer make wise decisions based on their needs versus traditional sales approaches that can feel pushy to the customer. The employee may still be doing much of the talking, but they are strategic in asking questions and listening actively. Open-ended questions get the customer talking, sometimes even selling themselves. Would that make things easy!?
“To serve one must listen to almost anything without losing one’s temper or self-confidence.”                   -Robert Frost
Another trademark technique is more of a traditional approach, hard-closing. These techniques are used to capture the sale and essentially coerce the customer to commit to something. This practice is more commonly used by sales people in an effort to close a one-time sale, where less care is place on the long-termrelationship with the customer. When using a consultative sales approach, you look after your customer’s best interest. Once you know what matters most to your customer, you can sell based on the values they care about. Understanding your customer’s needs and wants allows you to better “personalize the offer.” Skilled and successful salespeople who use a consultative selling approach build a rapport and long-term relationship with their customers.
Now that you understand what it means to take the consultative approach to selling, we must pay attention to the way we phrase questions. It is about learning from or qualifying the customer in order to provide the best service possible and then recommending as much product as is appropriate. Secondary is the ability to hear, listen and understand what is being said by the customer and to know how that relates to what you have to offer. Successful salespeople understand that getting their customers to talk and offer information about themselves is one of the most important skills they can master. There are three key questioning techniques that help us extract information in a conversational manner:
  1. Open-ended questioning allows for a variety of responses from your customer. This type of questioning injects a conversational and “personal tone” into the interaction. Inquisitive and curious in nature, open-ended questions begin with the words who, what, when, where, why and how.
  2. Probing questions are also open-ended and utilize the 5 w’s and how. However, this type of questioning is built upon the answer to the previous question. Probing questions are a tool used for extracting more information about a topic. They show that you are not only hearing your customer’s response, but that you also understand and care.
  3. The final piece in the questioning trio has a definite purpose, to steer a conversation back to the task at hand (selling) or to ask for the business (be willing to go for “No”). Close ended questions allow for control of a conversation and are best used during restating for trial closes.
When you are actively listening, the customer will feel acknowledged in the conversation. Be conscious of how your tone affects the believability of your response. Ensure that you have identified the basic needs of the customer and review if necessary the details of what they are after. This is one way to let your customer know that you are actively listening and that you will meet their needs. If you need to ask clarifying questions to get specific details, don’t be afraid to do it. It shows both humility and interest.
Remember, to show the customer you are actively listening: restate, let them talk, utilize the 5w’s, build the relationship, use their name, display curiosity and be purely interested. The more you can incorporate these tips into your conversations with the customer, the more they will notice that you are in fact listening and ready to help.
Using the 5 w’s, gather information about the customer. Restate facts for clarification and then make sure that what you communicate in a way that satisfies what they want. Remember, you are a consultant in the eyes of your customer. You will consult with them about their needs and find ways to get them what they want. They found you, they came to your place of business, and they want to spend their money.
ContactPoint NGA WDDA

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Communication Tool for RRP Implementation

This message about a new communication tool for RRP implementation went out to the EPA’s email list  on 9/1/2011.
In an effort to enhance outreach and communication, EPA will soon begin to use a new communication tool, called GovDelivery, to disseminate information and updates about the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) program.  We plan to begin sending out messages using this new tool within the next week and we invite you to sign up. You can subscribe yourself or others by visiting
The intended audience for this tool is the RRP industry (including renovators, trainers, etc.).  For that reason, much of the information will be regulatory or technical in nature.  However, it is an open list and anyone is welcome to subscribe.
GovDelivery is a communication tool for EPA to notify interested parties about the RRP Program; it is not a discussion tool.  If you have specific questions about information provided via GovDelivery, please continue to call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD (5323) or your existing contacts (EPA regional offices, etc.) to get more information.
We will keep you informed of additional program developments as needed.  Make sure you sign up so you can stay informed.