Relationship was the key message for millwork professionals today during one of the educational seminars held during the Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) Annual Convention and Trade Show being held this week in Louisville, Ky. David Lupberger, former builder/remodeler, educated attendees today in his presentation, “The Millwork Professional and Understanding the Remodeling Process.”

Lupberger reiterated what one speaker at an AMD session highlighted last year: “Price is an issue but it’s not the most important,” said Lupberger. “It’s not a cliché: Remodeling contractors make dreams happen.”

While making those dreams happen, it’s all about service, he pointed out. He cited a recent American Express survey which stated: “Nearly 80 percent of luxury customers agree: An important part of my enjoyment of a luxury experience is how well the service personnel treat me and the extra services they provide.”

“If you can talk to your dealers and make sure they focus on service, you will be successful,” said Lupberger.

A major roadblock for remodelers is that homeowners are scared and don’t trust them, he pointed out.

“For the remodelers your dealers work with all they have sold is trust,” said Lupberger. “Custom remodelers want to work with suppliers who hold these values.”

He wanted attendees to remember that their respective dealers are an extension of their business.

“If a remodeler is happy with a supplier he isn’t going anywhere and that is worth their weight in gold,” he said.

The second part of his presentation focused on how dealers can work with custom remodelers and asked attendees: “Do your dealers even know who the best remodelers are?” One reply: “probably not.”

He also cited another statistic from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies which states that 8.8 percent of general remodelers account for 50 percent of the general remodeling receipts.

“These 10 percent are doing the biggest projects and you need to figure out how to make them a customer,” said Lupberger.

The best remodelers are part of professional associations so that is a great place to start, and Lupberger said remodelers are extremely willing to pass on advice—if you ask them—they won’t call you.

He recommended that those in attendance in today’s session attend selected sales calls with their dealers at the custom remodeler’s place of business.

“Find out what you have done well and what you can do better,” he said. “Trust me, no one else is going to that remodeler’s office to ask that question.”

He ended by telling attendees that the high-end remodelers are “the right customers” but “you have to be proactive in reaching out.”

The AMD trade show kicks off tomorrow so stay tuned to for further updates.

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