Missed Sales Opportunities All Around Us

Willis Schlabach is Vice President of Business Development, ProVia

By: Willis Schlabach For those of us in the entry door, replacement window, vinyl siding and manufactured stone market, opportunities exist all around us for multi-family renovation sales. I’m talking about condominiums, student housing, military housing, section 8 housing, HUD, institutional housing, etc. Many of our residential dealers have had a misperception about this market, and therefore neglected it entirely. While this segment may never become a core business, it can add significant incremental value. And these days, who wants to miss sales opportunities? A Little for A Lot ProVia has experienced this first-hand. For years we walked away from this business. We never leveraged the possibilities. But consider…you’re buying the same products, delivering the same services, trucking the same goods – all of the existing components of the business can be leveraged to meet the needs of a brand new market. Since placing a small amount of focus on multi-family, we now enjoy additional business we never had, that we’re now adding to our bottom line. People buy on relationships. It simply means leveraging those relationships and seeing this business from a different perspective. Don’t take the mindset that “if I pursue this market, I’m pursuing it 100%”. Don’t completely revamp your model – just add to it. Who and Where to Sell Sales people are naturally drawn to this because it looks huge. Sometimes it’s best reserved for one or two sales people, while keeping the rest focused on your core business. Other times it’s good for the business owners to be the one to pursue multi-family, while keeping the sales staff focused on the core. That way you can grow this as additional business instead of shifting to an entirely new focus. We’re seeing these kinds of relationships being very fruitful amongst our dealers in the large metro areas where there are an abundance of institutional housing projects. In the smaller markets – anywhere there are colleges, military bases, section 8 housing, condominiums - opportunities exist. Many times dealers have the perception that there is no money to be made on this. That’s just not true. What’s true is there is less margin than traditional single-family projects, but what if you added 15-20% business to your bottom line? Long-Term Payoffs There are a few things to be aware of when venturing into the multi-family business. First, the cycle times for these projects can be long. You can go through a bid process, then a recertification of the price, then it actually becomes a job - all of which can take a year. With a typical single-family project you can often take someone from being an interested customer to finishing the project within a sixty day time period. Multi-family projects can take six months to a year. An analogy would be that in finance you have short-term and long term investments. They both can pay dividends, but you need patience, and you need to resist being short sighted with the long-term investments. For dealers that are established in their communities, simply leverage the relationships you currently have: with friends you go to church with, or see at your kids’ school functions, social events, and golf outings. When you stop saying “that’s not my business”, adjust your mindset, and apply a small percentage of your sales investment toward this potential reward, great things can happen. Who’s getting that business? Why not you?

 

 

 

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Vinyl Siding STYLE Explosion - Suits Everyone!

Stephen Tybor is Vice President and Business Unit Manager for Heartland Siding by ProVia

By: Stephen A. Tybor, III In the last five years, the siding industry has really been expanding its color palette. Fifteen years ago, there were only about six or seven colors used in the marketplace. Whereas today you’ll drive into some subdivisions and notice that the beauty of vinyl siding has made some huge leaps. Homeowners Love Choices When you combine some of the rich dark colors that we’re offering with the custom look of our Cedarbrook shakes and scallops, or Manufactured Stone, you can make the front of your home look so much richer and more personalized than you could a few years ago. It used to be that people wanted a simple cladding that was maintenance free and could be washed down once or twice a year. Now homeowners want a landscape of many different colors and textures to be able to artistically design their home’s exterior. Making Choices Easy for Distributors And for our distributors, we focus on making it easy to offer all these choices. Heartland Siding offers a unique concept where distributors are able to buy any quantities they want – it’s that simple. You don’t have to buy full boxes of everything and get stuck with a bunch of extra products that you’re going to sit on for the next 20 years. If I were a distributor, I’d be concerned about potential hidden costs of doing business, and would be excited about the model I just explained. Distributors can bring in 12 corner posts instead of 20, order 44 J-channels instead of 80. This represents a unique concept in the industry – buy what you need, not what a manufacturer wants you to take because it’s easy for us. It’s that service aspect that really sets Heartland Siding apart from the pack.

 

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