Volume 35, Number 3, March 2000



changing the way you think may enable
you to add-on the profits

by Don Marley

The year 2000 marks our company’s fortieth year in the industry, and many changes have occurred in the glazing industry since Meek first began. Change, it appears, is inevitable.

Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric (GE) said, “The secret of success is changing the way you think.” Welch has provided leadership to make GE one of the most successful companies in the world, and has a philosophy to be number one or two or get out of business altogether. There is no doubt that a primary goal of all businesses is to be successful. The issue at hand, however, is will we change the way we think in order to meet this goal.

When we attend national and regional industry trade shows we are aware of the current success experienced by our industry. We also hear complaints of too much business, difficulties in hiring good employees and other growth issues. And yet, we see very few glass shop managers diligently working to increase their current sales and profits.

Now is the time to make our companies more successful. There is a way to do this without additional marketing, inventory or capital expense. We can do this through suggestive or add-on selling. For example, when a customer purchases a product or service, take the opportunity to suggest additional “add-on” products and services.

Dell Computer is one successful company that drove this point home to me last week. Dell started in a college dormitory room and competed against IBM and Compaq. They changed the personal computer industry by redefining distribution and manufacturing, and through simple marketing tactics such as add-on selling.

When our company called to purchase a Dell computer, the customer service representative suggested optional service contracts, expanded memory and additional hardware. We purchased some of those options, increasing the sale by more than 25 percent. Dell took the initiative to increase their sale to us and change our way of thinking.

There are many ways glaziers can increase sales and profits with add-ons. For instance, we manufacture theft-proof mirror frames that are sold primarily for commercial applications. An easy add-on sales tactic would be asking the customer if they had considered surveillance mirrors. Consider this example. A store typically will purchase two wall mirrors. The add-on sale potential is four surveillance mirrors. Here lies an opportunity to double sales and profit.

You could also take the opportunity to sell bathroom accessories to the convenience store. The convenience store may purchase two mirrors and also two soap dispensers, two towel dispensers, two grab bars and two toilet paper dispensers. You can also increase your profit by offering installation service.

In both examples the increase in sales was accomplished without additional marketing expense, inventory or capital expense. We ship the additional product at the same time of the mirror order, and the service truck has the tools and supplies to install all of these items. If you don’t sell these items, then your local building specialties supply store will.

We have seen glass shops lose an estimated 80 percent of the theft-proof mirror market business because others changed their way of thinking and offered add-on selling. At a recent trade show, a well-established glazier told me the plumbers had the bathroom accessory business, so he wasn’t able to make the sale or installation. Less than five minutes later an entrepreneur told us he was working with contractors in the same market area providing mirrors and other items with installation as a marketing appeal. The entrepreneur wasn’t a plumber or with a building specialties company. He had changed his way of thinking and was changing the thinking of the general contractors.

Consider changing the way you handle your sales opportunities and increase profits with add-on selling. It works for Meek, and it will work with your product lines too.

Don Marley is the president of Meek Manufacturing Co. in Ft. Smith, Ark. Glaziers Guild appears monthly with rotating authors.


Copyright 2000 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.