June 2006 Table of Contents

Featured Articles
Tools for Tracking Performance

Our company uses many types of lead sources, including SFI, show/event leads, direct mail, marriage mail, and canvassing. Yet the productivity of those lead sources depends as much on company culture as anything. We know this because we track our leads in two ways: we benchmark productivity by the lead source as a whole (i.e., SFI leads close at, say, 21%) and by individual salesperson. Read more

Jobsite Rail-Post Connections for Wooden Decks Part 2

When researchers at Virginia Tech applied measured loads to deck posts to see which connections could meet code, they discovered that two of the most common post connections (4x4 pressure-treated post notched and lag-screwed to the band joist, and post through-bolted to the deck band joist) cannot stand up to code-protocol test load. Read more

Under New Owner(s) Under New Owner(s)

In 1983, Mary Kilgore took a job as an accounting clerk at Mid South Building Supply, a $10 million siding, window, and cabinetry business in Springfield, Va. Two years later, company founder Norman Rales started looking for a way to retire. The problem: Rales' children had no interest in taking over the business and potential buyers were few and far between. Read more

Rich Rewards Rich Rewards

Last November, Maine Window & Sunroom's 12 sales reps went from selling on a system where their compensation was partly tied to what they could get for the job to one in which compensation is based on how close to the list price they can get in negotiating deals with homeowners. Read more

Current Events

After Do Not Call laws made cold-call telemarketing untenable, Phil O'Reilly went out and got himself an education. Not a degree in English, math, or science but a thorough schooling in event marketing. Three years later, he has gone from two events per year to 30, and from a negligible number of leads to 11% of his lead total. Read more

Seeing Is Believing Seeing Is Believing

Every picture tells a story. The ones that employees of Jorve Roofing, in Seattle, shoot with their company-issued digital cameras document stories of work that needs to be done, work underway, and work completed. Read more

Meeting of the Minds

Five years ago, Scott Barr of Southwest Exteriors in San Antonio began holding a preconstruction conference prior to installing a siding job. Barr says he picked up the idea from a consulting/educational group he belonged to, Remodelers Advantage, most of whose members are full-service contractors. He's been doing it ever since. Read more

Blind Spots

Scotoma is an opthalmological condition that roughly translates to blind spots. Want a medical definition? "Portions of the retinal field that are non-functional." Read more

Conduct Unbecoming

If you think sexual harassment isn't a problem you need to worry about, think again. Read more

In the Public Eye

Like most home improvement company owners, Cliff Hearn, owner of Legacy Roofing in Redmond, Wash., never considered hiring a public relations firm. Until a marketing company he was using to polish his company's image suggested he do so. Last year Legacy Roofing spent about $55,000 with Duo Public Relations, out of a marketing budget of $345,000. Read more

Seen the Trailer? Seen the Trailer?

Last January, Jerry Kerby made his installers an offer he felt they couldn't refuse. His company, California Replacement, in Orange County, would purchase new 14-foot-by-8-foot trailers (cost: $6,500), wrap them in company graphics (cost: $3,000), and sell them to installers for half the purchase price. To take title, installers would be required to build out the interior. Read more

Hang 'Em

You've finished that job, with your company's lawn sign up so that everyone in the neighborhood knows who did the work. Your customer was happy with the job and is prepared to say so should anyone inquire. Now you move to follow up on that job with what we call Read more

Downstream Downstream

Recognized genius Homer Simpson once queried, "The Internet? Is that still around?" Of course it is, and applications you can use to reach out to potential prospects are evolving about as fast as ace roofers can pop down shingles. And while it's still vital to have a presentable Web site, it won't be long before today's standard site is merely run of the mill. Read more

Second Time Around

Salespeople, of course, are more interested in running a lead than in spending time visiting past customers to ensure satisfaction and secure a referral or two. Some home improvement companies feel that salespeople should be required to revisit past clients. Some see that as an uphill struggle requiring incentives. Read more

Stay Busy, Make Money Stay Busy, Make Money

Dale Parch likes his job. As a sales representative for Dial One Windows in Santa Ana, Calif., he closes an average of about $1 million dollars in window sales a year. He is 70. Read more

Master Motivator

In my opinion, if a company has four full-time salespeople, it's ready for a full-time sales manager. So, should that sales manager be running leads? No, not unless he's running them with a salesperson. Read more

Comes With the Job

Sales representatives in the home improvement industry are often decried as "lead babies" by company owners, who lament the reps' failure to prospect or to properly appreciate the "free" leads they get from the company. Two years ago, EuroTech in Bensenville, Ill., decided to find a way around that problem by requiring sales recruits to canvass as part of their training. Read more

In Your Fascia

When replacing vinyl siding, many problems commonly occur installing around soffit and fascia. The smart contractor sees these ahead of time and preps both customer and crew. Read more

Secret Code Secret Code

The problem with replacement roofing in my market," says Brett Hall, co-owner of Hall Roofing in Arlington, Texas, "is that we've made it a commodity." Read more

Deck Check Deck Check

A growing number of deck failures prompt the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) to action. Read more

Packing Heat

Tommy Steele, home improvement sales trainer and consultant in Baltimore, has sold a lot of replacement windows using a heat lamp demo in his presentation. It's convincing. But he's also been burned more than once. "The heat lamp is a wonderful tool when used properly," Steele says. Read more

Minority Market

What are home improvement contractors missing when they ignore the minority market? Read more

The Wizard

The Wizard, in Richard's view, was the contractor who combined installation and product knowledge with personal integrity and selling skills to earn the homeowner's total trust and confidence. His message? Forget about clever closes. Transform yourself into a Wizard, and you can't help but get a signature on that siding or window job, plus a passel of referrals when the work's done. Read more

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