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Selling Exterior Doors......rant

 
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Old 03-26-2009, 12:08 PM   #1
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Selling Exterior Doors......rant


In all my years of doing doors I usually tell the customer to pick up they're own door and storm door and I'll install it. If its a special jamb or other I'll handle it. Here's why.

Very seldom do I push my suppliers doors, mostly because I myself cant justify the cost benefit of the product. Last week I get a call...yes the phone rang......Customer need new front door okay, great I'll come by we'll look through the book you pick a couple of doors that peak your interest and I'll spec out our needs.

I get 3 new 2009 books, Therma-tru, masonite, and Jeld wen each book has about 4 product lines with about 4 glass choices with about 6 different finishes. After scanning through the 48+ choices I ditched 2 books and just spec'd out the therma-tru. Which I usually end up with anyway when I sell.

I go through the whole routine---3'-0"-6'-8" brass camming, cherry finish double bore, left handed, standard jamb bla, bla bla..... matching transome..... Then she pulls out an article from Lowes $299...similar glass, same spec's, pre finished fiberglass...no transome though. With the transome we're talking double $600-$700 plus tax total.

I tell them the skin thickness on box store doors is thinner and the glass is slimmer as well, I also mention the core materials and stiles.....but come on how much really matters and who really cares. I got quoted $1650,1950 and $2350 for the three picks she made from my book. None of those costs included tax and each was Unfinished.....I could add $900 plus tax if they wanted the door prefinished one color both sides and jambs. We're talking 4x the cost...so really how much thinner is that skin or that glass. Lets not forget even with that cost difference the door will come with silicone oozing out of the gasket on the glass, hinge screws will be driven in on an angle or brick mold will be not be revealed properly...

Tough sell man.... I swear if it isnt a custom or unique assembly there isnt no need to bother.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:26 PM   #2
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


tell them the skin thickness on box store doors is thinner and the glass is slimmer as well>>>>>>>>>>>.

Could you show somewhere that that is proven, please.

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Old 03-26-2009, 02:52 PM   #3
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


ypu are handling this all wrong..as soon as they show you the Lowes price you immediately ask them if they would enjoy a nice draft and cold area by their door in the missle of the winter...they will then say NO.thats when you say;" good,lets move on and away from these cheap Lowes doors."
you then show them why having a thicker skin is better and why the more expensive door will stand up to the weather/elements and UV rays much better. also,the thermal properties.
order an unfinished door and paint it. much cheaper. you have to be a salsman and being a salesman means knowing the products and knowing why they are better than the cheap one's and being able to explain that to the homeowner. i do it with windows all day long.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:52 PM   #4
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


no coffee today..i mean "in the middle of the winter".
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:32 PM   #5
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Advanced I dont know your approach you may be a sales only guy working on a commission for all I know. My customers call me for everything and I install most of my sales. I can sell them the fact that the door is going to be inferior but 4x the cost or more than double unfinshed is hard to justify. The quality coming out of local distributers isnt much to brag about either. So beating up a client on a door sales isnt always the best way for future business.

Framer53 I was told this awhile ago when Stanley Doors were the main seller, I still hear today from my plumber with the fixtures.....Box stores sell a weaker grade than private.....I couldnt possible prove what deal they have.

Just my rant today........
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:50 PM   #6
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Last one I went through
the Lowes vs ThermaTru,
Lowes was higher and slower.
Maybe it's your supplier?

Can't argue about the prefinished
deal though.
ThermaTru is offering
an easier stain kit now.
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:57 PM   #7
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Quote:
Originally Posted by neolitic View Post
and slower.
what do you mean?
Quote:
Originally Posted by neolitic View Post
Maybe it's your supplier?
This distributer sells to all the lumber yards in a 10 miles radius so the options are few if any.
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Old 03-26-2009, 05:12 PM   #8
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Quote:
Originally Posted by tom m View Post
Advanced I dont know your approach you may be a sales only guy working on a commission for all I know. My customers call me for everything and I install most of my sales. I can sell them the fact that the door is going to be inferior but 4x the cost or more than double unfinshed is hard to justify. The quality coming out of local distributers isnt much to brag about either. So beating up a client on a door sales isnt always the best way for future business.

Framer53 I was told this awhile ago when Stanley Doors were the main seller, I still hear today from my plumber with the fixtures.....Box stores sell a weaker grade than private.....I couldnt possible prove what deal they have.

Just my rant today........
I want you to think this through logically. Why would stanley of any other door manufacturor cheapen their name by selling a different product? Not to mention, hou do you set that manufactoring plant?
I have heard that about their tools also. Unfortuneatly I have never been able to prove that either.
Me thinks you need to sell your services, and worry less about the product. I think that they are selling the same thing you buy at your distributor, only they are buying so many, they pay and can sell them sometimes for less than your regular supplier can buy them.
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Old 03-26-2009, 05:15 PM   #9
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Quote:
Originally Posted by advanced_energy View Post
no coffee today..i mean "in the middle of the winter".
Thanks for clearing that up. I was thinking maybe it was a cold fusion aircraft or sumpin. (look for the edit button that let's you back in to change the typo's on your own posts.)

I can't say for doors but if you call for example a Mohen rep and ask about parts he can tell from the model numbers if it was a big box purchase or supply house. I tend to believe there is a different level of quality myself.

We installed plenty of Pella patio doors for Lowes. Then we hooked up with the Pella Store. We noticed the difference first time we picked up the door to move it. It was noticably heavier.

As an ex big box installer I can say that we were asked to go on alot of repair calls for doors. Many times it was an installer error but too many times it was junk product.

The OP is right, it's a tough sell when the customer is looking at the price. It's not cool to start calling one store's product junk and claim you supplier is better for 4x the cost. You can suggest that your client call some of their freinds about the experience they had with a big box installation. Odds are in your favor that it was not a smooth or pleasurable transaction.

All you can really do is sell yourself well, try to get them to call some of your glowing references. We tell clients we would be happy to install that door they wish to purchase from the Box. They have to have it onsite ($80 delivery or pick it up themselves) and in usable condition and accept all product liability themselves. We only gurantee that we will install it correctly. If we show up to install and it's defective there is a show up charge and they have to call the store for the return process.

If they ask why that is I can tell them that we are confident in the product and service from the suppliers we normally use. Sometimes that carries enough weight.

Good Luck
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Old 03-26-2009, 05:35 PM   #10
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


We hear this argument often, that the box stores sell a different product than the lumberyards receive. But I have been to some of the manufacturing plants and they don't have seperate assembly lines for box store stuff as compared to lumber yard stuff. A paslode is a paslode one assembly line one product. If you want to overpay somewhere go ahead. Do you really think it benefits a company to order completely new machinery to make a cheaper product or just use the machinery they have to make their products and make and sell more. Think about it.

Last edited by Murphy; 03-26-2009 at 06:01 PM. Reason: forgot a D
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:02 PM   #11
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Just reread my post and I want to make it clear that I understand a Therma Tru door is much better than you get at a box store. But if you are comparing a pella door at a box store to a pella door at pella they should be the same unless Pella is lending their name to another manufacturer. Which I hear does happen all the time. A Toro lawn mower at a box store is actually manufactured by some one else leasing their name. Murph
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:21 PM   #12
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


It would be difficult to prove and I have no motive to do so. I do prefer shopping at the suppliers that cater to the trades rather than the DIY crowd. Mainly they do provide a superior level of service. One phone call today (a voicemail at that) and 2 hours later they delivered 1 bundle of shingles and 1 stick of drip edge so we could finish on time tomorrow. While there they picked up our overages for return. All at no extra charge. Try to get that from a big box.

I have worked in factories and know that you don't need a seperate production line. You change the components that go into the line, not the line itself. It would not be difficult at all to make two production runs of a similar product from the same line. Set up to run x number of doors A, switch componets and run x number of door B off the same line. The line workers wouldn't skip a beat.

I also believe that a retailer with enough volume can flex muscle to demand certain conditions of the supplier and get them. If price point is one of them than it behooves the supplier to find a way to meet the price point or lose the volume sales.

We did install Pella doors and windows for Lowes. (haven't in a few years) We do have a casual relationship with the Pella Store. My own experience is that they are not selling the same product in similar sales.

Good Luck
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:27 PM   #13
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Dave see my point, when you do alot of work for people its likely because they trust you being honest with them. I dont care what I install a door is the same to me either way I can tell them the quality is different but i cant say it justifys the cost sometimes. Insulation,drywall, hardware, fasteners,paint and tools you cant beat the box. But trim, lumber, and some other stuff I'll pass any day. Those cost didnt include any mark-ups yet but my customer would likely think I had some selfish gravy money with that margin.

Last edited by Tom M; 03-26-2009 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:34 PM   #14
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


I asked my Pella rep why I would go through him when Lowes has their windows for $***.XX? He told me that what I get from them is different than what I would get going directly through Pella. He said it would be "more window" through him, and that you don't always get what you think you are from the box stores. I will be having him come out soon to give me a quote on my windows and doors.. I will ask him again what exactly he meant.
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:50 PM   #15
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Quote:
Originally Posted by tom m View Post
what do you mean?
...........
I meant the special order
was 3 weeks from Lowes,
3-5 days from ThermaTru.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:42 PM   #16
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Around here Lowes' sells the Therma Tru door. Which I believe they get direct just like HD gets their Andersen windows direct, which cuts out the distibuter, allowing them to purchase at the distributor price. Every other lumber yard that purchases these products has to go through the distributor. For instance, if I go to XYZ Lumber they buy their Andersen window through Andersen Logistics, who is a distributor for Andersen and Therma Tru doors. Please be kind if my info is incorrect, but that's the way I understood it.


Factory ==> distributor==> lumber yard===> consumer

or....


Factory ====> big box store ====> consumer.


does this explain why it's cheaper to buy at a big box store?

As for being different products, I've heard that too, I've also heard that a salesman will flat out LIE to get a sale. "Lifetime warranty? Absolutely, you will never have a problem with My product."
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:11 AM   #17
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Quote:
Originally Posted by grob62 View Post
Around here Lowes' sells the Therma Tru door. Which I believe they get direct just like HD gets their Andersen windows direct, which cuts out the distibuter, allowing them to purchase at the distributor price. Every other lumber yard that purchases these products has to go through the distributor. For instance, if I go to XYZ Lumber they buy their Andersen window through Andersen Logistics, who is a distributor for Andersen and Therma Tru doors. Please be kind if my info is incorrect, but that's the way I understood it.
Factory ==> distributor==> lumber yard===> consumer
or....
Factory ====> big box store ====> consumer.

does this explain why it's cheaper to buy at a big box store?
As for being different products, I've heard that too, I've also heard that a salesman will flat out LIE to get a sale. "Lifetime warranty? Absolutely, you will never have a problem with My product."
Again, if it is a special order,
I get it faster and cheaper
through the lumber yard.
Not to mention a much better chance
that they actually order what I want.
Here's how it works here:

*Lumber yard calls distributor
(WBM Door Mill, an hour and a half
down the road)
*Distributor builds door unit
*Door unit delivered to yard
(Truck comes every Tue. & Thur.)
*I pick up door/ have doors delivered.
(Usually 3-5 business days)


*Lowes orders door
*Order goes into Lowes system
*Order is passed to Lowes' national distributor
*Distributor builds door unit
*Door is delivered to Lowes distribution center
*Door is delivered to Lowes store (when
the distribution center happens to have
a load to haul to Lowes store)
*I get a call when door is in and clerk
who can read paper work isn't busy
helping Suzy Homemaker pick out
new venetian blinds, or talking to his
GF, or stocking shelves.....
(3-4 weeks)


At least that's how it works here.
Again, apples to apples, I get a
better deal at the yard.
Exception might be if HO picks
off the shelf.
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:59 PM   #18
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


when i talk up my own product i do so for good reason..i sell and install ProVia doors. much better than Lowes or thermaTru. i shoud have mentioned this in my previous post. ProVia is in a class of their own.
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:51 PM   #19
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
We hear this argument often, that the box stores sell a different product than the lumberyards receive. But I have been to some of the manufacturing plants and they don't have seperate assembly lines for box store stuff as compared to lumber yard stuff. A paslode is a paslode one assembly line one product. If you want to overpay somewhere go ahead. Do you really think it benefits a company to order completely new machinery to make a cheaper product or just use the machinery they have to make their products and make and sell more. Think about it.
I agree that the product rolls off the same line, but what happens after Quality Control is another story. I have purchased several tools from Home Repo that had to be returned for missing screws etc. They were a variety of brands too. The problem is, there aren't a lot of choices nearby to purchase tools, so you're stuck, unless you want to order online, but if they are missing screws....................
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:28 PM   #20
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Re: Selling Exterior Doors......rant


Im leaning with Dave still.....feed some different materials in the same assembly line for a high volume customer like HD or Lowes. And again like Neo confirms if it isnt special order where your local can be a bonus to you the off the self prices are tough to beat.

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