Volume 42, Issue 1 - January 2007


Sell! Sell! Sell!
A Few Tips for Up-Selling Your Next Replacement Job
by Paul Bieber

Letís discuss buying and selling replacement insulating glass (IG) units. As a glass shop, you buy these when you get a call from a customer with a broken or fogged unit. You generally have to visit the customer to get exact measurements, confirm glass type or tint and often you put some temporary glazing in. This is where a glass shop may sell up, and really improve the sale.

Up-Sale Opportunities 
First, figure out why the glass needs to be replaced (Duh!). Perhaps a kid threw a baseball through the window, leaving a perfect hole. Your first thought may be to replace this annealed unit with exactly the same annealed unit. But if you take a minute with the customer, and explain the advantage of tempered glass, you very well may sell the more expensive unitóand do your customer a favor. Maybe, for example, they have three windows facing the backyard, and this has happened before Ö so suggest replacing all three with tempered. This has the customerís attention. 

Now letís go for the big one. You have explained that tempered glass will not break as easily as annealed, but if the inboard light is laminated, you donít have to come out and do temporary glazing, which really saves your customer quite a bit in the long run. Also, laminated glass offers better home security. Now youíve sold tempered over laminated units, and since you are replacing all three units, letís go for the advantage of low-E, and donít forget to mention argon gas, too. This definitely improves the energy value of the unit. 

If the unit broke from an indoor game of catch, reverse your suggestion of tempered over laminated glass by placing the tempered on the inboard side. Aside from the safety advantages, having laminated glass in an IG unit almost completely stops the UV light transmission, which reduces fading of furniture and rugs. Laminated glass also reduces sound transmissionósomething every customer can see as an advantage.

A Reason Why
The key to this type of upgrade is finding out why the original unit needs to be replaced. If the units are 15-20 years old and one has failed, suggest to the customer that they should all be replaced so that you make one trip, saving them labor costs in the long run. If there is a stress crack, track down the source. Has the old caulking dried out? If the house has shifted, maybe you have to cut out and reset units near this one with more flexible sealant so they donít stress crack either.

Older units may also be single-sealed. Most units today are double-sealed, which usually means a deeper sight line, but a better quality unit. By discussing this upfront you will turn a potential problem into a possible sale of more units in a quest for uniformity. 

You should always suggest an upgrade to low-E when you are working on a cluster of units. If you have the space in the jamb, suggest a thicker unit. It will resist impact better and give better insulating value.

If you are sending a glazier to do the measuring, train him/her on how to up-sell by doing practice sessions in your shop. Up selling on glass is no different than a sharp waiter asking if you want an appetizer or a delicious cheesecake for dessert.
 Increasing the bill is the goal (along with enjoying your dinner). Give your glazier a sheet showing the advantages of tempered and laminated glass to use during presentations. Then, create a simple commission; perhaps $20 if the sale goes tempered, $25 for laminated and so forth. Donít get involved with sizes and details in this commission. Keep it simple, and you both gain. 

Paul Bieber has 30 years in the glass industry, including nine years with C.R. Laurence Co. Inc., and 21 years as the executive vice president of Floral Glass in Hauppauge, N.Y. He retired from Floral Glass in 2005. 


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