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Innovative products put remodelers in a bind. Do you take a chance on something you’ve never used and risk callbacks or worse, or do you ignore the innovation and risk missing out on something that will boost your business?
Glen LeConche, CGR, has wrestled with this Catch-22 situation for years. But a visit to Professional Remodeler’s Model reMODEL in Philadelphia provided him with a solution. LeConche, owner of LeConche Design & Construction in Newington, Conn., saw products installed in the demonstration project that he recognized, but he didn’t know anybody who had used them.
LeConche approached the two suppliers during the Remodelers’ Show and told them of his interest in their products, but of his hesitancy to use them in his current project. The response: "If you want to use it in your project, we’ll show you how to install it." LeConche visited a third supplier and received the same answer. "The majority of exhibitors don’t have a clue on who their audience is," LeConche says. "They don’t know who we are or what are needs are. These three people were progressive; they gave me solutions not problems."
LeConche and the three suppliers agreed to set up a demonstration event at LeConche’s project and invited local remodelers to see how the three innovative products were installed.
Dr. Elliott Check, a pediatric dentist in Enfield, Conn., had hired LeConche to gut and remodel Check’s office building. The project was a perfect proving ground for New England Classic raised panels, No-Coat prefinished drywall corners, and Hy-Lite acrylic block windows.
Each supplier’s local representative invited remodelers then sent their top national training people to run the demonstration. "These products were applicable to remodeling, new construction and commercial projects," LeConche says. "The demo covered all three. These were cutting-edge product lines installed on a real job. We promoted it by saying, ‘See how these products can save you time and money.’"
Each supplier set up a display area at the project for the open house, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday Dec. 10. Throughout the day, suppliers installed the products, showing remodelers how to use them and demonstrating their benefits. "They weren’t just displaying one [application]," he says, "This was an entire project going on. It was hands-on."
About 20 remodelers showed up on Friday, and another half dozen stopped by the site during the following week. Response was positive, LeConche says. "Remodelers walked away with good information and talked with confidence about using the products. One remodeler who’s a hard sell walked away pretty pumped up."
LeConche says the demonstration was an authentic meeting between remodelers and suppliers. In fact, he’d like to see these kinds of projects taken up across the country, linking suppliers and remodelers in a mutually beneficial, positive manner.
Rod Sutton is the Editor-in-Chief for Professional Remodler. Please email him with any comments or questions regarding his column.