Milanese
by Mark Milanese
November 12th, 2013

Doors and Windows or Granite Countertops?

“Surveys say consumers want energy efficiency in remodels, but at the point of sale, they put their money into granite countertops,” Arlene Zavocki Stewart, president at AZS Consulting Inc. told me on LinkedIn, after my most recent DWM blog. Then she asked me, “Why the disconnect? Do you think it’s because of bad surveys, fickle consumers or poor salesmanship?”

Arlene, I believe the surveys telling us consumers buy granite countertops before energy-efficient doors and windows are true. Their choices are the result of a fickle consumer and poor salesmanship, as well as a need to build a better mousetrap and market it properly.
I am going to tell you something you may not want to hear. “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.” This statement by Will Rogers has been repeated by smart money people such as Dave Ramsey. It may be cynical, but there is truth in it.

We trade our time for money and credit to buy things we need and things we want, but don’t really need.  If new doors and windows are relatively low on the pecking order of what a consumer wants is it the consumers’ fault or ours?

Consumers have always been fickle.  When it comes to exterior remodeling, the consumer is spending increasingly more money on outdoor living than doors and windows. They may not need outdoor living improvements more than they need to upgrade doors and windows, but they want it more.

We can blame the Great Recession for making the instant gratification of an awning, deck, hot tub, outdoor television and a wet bar a more popular purchase than new doors and windows, or we can make door and window replacement a higher priority for property owners.

Figuring out how the replacement of doors and windows can successfully compete for the fickle consumers’ dollar against other worthwhile purchases such as granite countertops is indeed our job.  Our livelihood depends upon it. If property owners only replace doors and windows when it is an absolute necessity and then only with bare bones products that have no value-added options, we are stretching the minimum limit for sales and profits.

Successful door and window companies must make property owners want to replace their doors and windows a higher priority than a granite countertop. It is up to those of us in the business of profiting from the sale of replacement doors and windows to find and effectively market products consumers want more than a granite countertop.

Doors and windows with features that improve the life of a property owner because they provide long-lasting, but immediate and everyday benefits to them personally become desirable to the point of necessity.

The pioneer in the replacement door and window industry made the purchase of aluminum storm doors and windows necessary and they were installed on virtually every door and window in America because the products made the life of a homeowner so much better than the painted wood interchangeable storm and screen originals. The tilt-in replacement window and steel prime door did it again. Today, we must be up to the same challenge and offer door and window features with benefits consumers want so bad they need them.

In fact, I sell the benefit of each individual door and window feature that contributes to green, self-sustaining energy efficiency. As a consequence, 95 percent of all doors and windows my company installs has at least six energy-efficiency features added to the sales value. Six value-added options are better than none or one. It is better for my client and better for me.

Consumers have always been fickle and they have more choices when spending their money today than ever.  Making consumers want to replace doors and windows has always been our job, not the consumers.  We can make energy-efficient doors and windows a higher priority for our clients when we do our jobs correctly.

Arlene also told me on LinkedIn, “I thought today’s DWM blog was great! I can’t wait to see the follow up on new ways to attract customers”.

Thanks, Arlene. I will get back to the topic of digital marketing in my next article, but I really felt I had to answer your question first.

And thanks to everyone for tweeting, sharing and liking my articles on Facebook and asking questions on LinkedIn. Also make sure to add your comments here and we could have a dialogue on this site.

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