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