TV Designer Offers Sales Advice to Dealers

© 2006 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2006
Author: Mischel Schonberg
Pages 52-53

TV Designer Offers Sales Advice to Dealers
Focus on Garage Door Design to Build Profits

By Mischel Schonberg, Clopay Public Relations Manager

Architects, home industry trend analysts, real estate agents, and designers agree: homeowners are embracing garage door design like never before. That’s good news for the industry and for dealers. But to take advantage of this trend, you need to rethink your job.

Celebrity designer Chayse Dacoda from the TLC home improvement series “While You Were Out” believes that replacing a plain garage door with a new, decorative model can have big impact on a home’s curb appeal.

At the 2006 Garage Door Expo in Las Vegas, Dacoda shared her ideas on how dealers can grow their business by changing the way they talk to customers. Here are some highlights from her presentation.

Your New Job: Exterior Decorator

Walking the floor at Expo, Dacoda observed that garage door design has evolved from functional to fashionable. With all the new styles and product options, the job of the dealer is transforming to a higher level.

Since homeowners don’t always have the time or budget to call in a designer, they often turn to the door dealer for advice. “Suddenly you’ve been transformed from a garage door salesperson and installer into an exterior decorator,” says the celebrity designer.

“Instead of R-values, door sizes, steel gauge, and springing systems, you are suddenly dealing with paint swatches, architectural design periods, porticos, and whatever other terms homeowners have picked up from the latest home makeover show.”

Dacoda emphasized the importance of helping homeowners make the right decision. “They are investing in the single largest moving part on their home, which is going to affect its appearance for at least the next 20 years,” says Dacoda.

Home makeover shows have changed the face of home improvement and are inspiring consumers to make bolder choices. In this new environment, she adds, the door dealer’s job is to show consumers the possibilities and coach them into a good design decision.

Here’s her advice:

1. Don’t sell doors, sell inspiration. Show customers the impact of a new garage door on their home’s appearance. Use manufacturer brochures and design software so people can see how different door styles look on their house. Encourage customers to use online door designers. Before and after images also have a major impact, so be sure to keep some of your greatest hits on file.

2. Be the expert. Look at the style of the home and make a suggestion. When a designer isn’t involved, you’re the expert, and your opinion counts.

3. Consider other exterior features. Ask homeowners if they have any plans to enhance other exterior features such as replacement windows, a new entry door, a new paint scheme, decorative fixtures, or a fence. Sometimes people don’t just want a new door, they want an exterior facelift, and the door is just the beginning. If so, encourage them to integrate the design of the door into their overall plans.

4. Maximize their budget. Great design exists for every budget, so when you are dealing with multiple options, the budget is one way to narrow them down fast. Don’t show customers the $2,500 door if they are on a $650 budget. But do show them how to make that $650 door sing with decorative options.

5. Accessorize. No one likes to drive by an endless sea of boring, raised-panel steel garage doors. Help your customers make their garage door unique on their street with options like decorative windows and hardware.

6. Emphasize value. A new garage door can actually improve a home’s value. According to realtors surveyed in a nationwide study by Clopay Building Products, replacing the garage door prior to listing a home for sale can increase the asking price anywhere from one to four percent. Point: That new garage door can more than pay for itself.

Dacoda knows that garage doors are getting more exposure than ever, and they have great impact in the overall design and appearance of the house. “So tap into your ‘inner designer’ to help transform the look of homes,” she concludes, “and watch your profits soar.”