Would you love the opportunity to get in a room with your fellow door and window dealers and pick their brains? What do others do when they receive a bad review? Do you get your showroom displays for free? You don’t? Why not? How do you get people to like your Facebook page? What do you post when they like your page? Dealers who attended DWM magazine’s Fenestration Day event got the answers to all these questions and more in the dealer roundtable session. This group of savvy business owners shared a great deal in just an hour; here’s a glimpse at some of the discussion.

The session was moderated by Welton Hong, owner, Ring Ring Marketing, who asked numerous questions, including what dealers want from their suppliers.

“I would like to have more leads come from the manufacturer,” said one attendee.

Another dealer gave kudos to Milgard for giving them their displays for free, while others reported being charged for “every little thing from other suppliers.” Another said he had to spend “three grand” for a display.

And while vinyl holds the most market share in terms of windows, one dealer would like to see aluminum suppliers go the extra mile.

“Aluminum windows work well in California, and manufacturers should push the envelope more when it comes to aluminum and energy efficiency,” said one.

Speaking of green, one attendee said “proximity is the new green,” referring to selling products from manufacturers located the least distance from their businesses.

When it came to how many door or window lines to offer, the answers ranged from one to 18. One door company owner just started selling windows, so he is slowly easing into the market by carrying one brand. Others reported that the more lines you carry, the more well-versed your sales reps have to be on a multitude of products.

The subject of online reviews was discussed at length, and overall many dealers don’t like Yelp, but Hong pointed out that it is widely used by consumers and they should consider it as part of their strategy.

“People will rant, but they don’t post good reviews,” said one attendee. Another, however, said he responds to every single review posted concerning his company, saying it enhances “their opinion of you.”

Hong recommends telling customers to “offer feedback” as opposed to asking them to post good reviews.

When the conversation turned to social media, the group discussed how to get people to like their Facebook page. One dealer offered a contest where they would get their friends to like the window company on Facebook. The customer that referred the most likes won a prize. The contest resulted in 300—400 additional likes, according to the dealer. But once you have the likes, how do you keep those followers engaged? One dealer suggested posting items such as how customers can maintain their windows, etc., to keep them engaged after the window purchase.

The answers really ran the gamut when the conversation turned to capturing leads. While sophisticated systems are available, one window dealer uses a desk calendar to write customer names and callback dates. Another has a folder for each customer and fills it with Post-it notes or hand-written notes regarding customer conversations and when to call back. When to stop calling? Dealers answered that, too, with one saying if they don’t connect with a customer after three calls, he is not called again.

Much discussion also centered around showrooms. Look to the May issue of DWM for tips on setting up a great showroom.

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