Fence Talk
Tips, Techniques and News for Contractors   •   2015, Issue 1
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Leading With the Best
How positioning Bufftech's premium privacy fence can lead to more profitable sales.
It's a selling technique that's been around for ages. We're talking about the three-tier strategy known as Good-Better-Best. Whether buying televisions or tires, furniture or fences, the Good-Better-Best technique is at play throughout all facets of business. This widely recognized sales platform is centered on offering three distinct options at three different price points.

At Bufftech, we've taken this technique and turned it on its head by employing a Best-Better-Good strategy for our privacy fence line – Chesterfield Textured (Best), Chesterfield Smooth (Better) and New Lexington (Good). While this "top-down" approach deviates from standard tactics typically used in business, when used successfully it can lead to more profitable sales. The key lies in leading with the "Best" products.

"We've developed the Bufftech business around our premium products," explains Jeff Duerr, National Sales Manager for CertainTeed Bufftech. "From marketing materials to sales tools, everything is built around selling our premium products. Our business is built on a Best-Better-Good approach."

Leading with the best offers benefits for both you and your customers: customers get more value for their money, while you generate more revenue by selling products with higher profit margins.

Selling Without Fear
So why is there a resistance to selling from the top-down? Perhaps the biggest barrier is the fear that customers can't afford a higher-priced product. Leading with the best is all about changing that assumption. As a rule, customers generally want the best their money can buy. And, they want options. Bufftech's top-of-the-line Chesterfield fence has that and more, offering a choice of woodgrain or stucco textures, 13 colors, decorative options, and outstanding performance features that enhance its overall value.

Utilizing the psychology of choice, Bufftech's selling strategy aims to take the fear out of selling. In order to be successful with this technique and help customers make better buying decisions, you've got to educate them on the differentiating features and benefits of each product. Here's a quick rundown:

Chesterfield with CertaGrain® Texture

Chesterfield CertaGrain
  • Authentic woodgrain texture emulates the look and feel of real wood
  • Choice of 12 colors, including 9 stain blends
  • ColorLast® fade protection for Natural Clay and Blend colors
  • 7/8" x 7" picket size
  • Heavy wall post
  • 2" x 6" channeled rail
  • Steel reinforced top and bottom rail for Natural Clay and Blend colors
  • WindZone™ performance
  • Meets most building codes for pool fence
  • Concave, Convex, Swoop and S Curve decorative panels
  • Lattice and Victorian Accent options
  • Lifetime limited warranty with SureStart™ protection
  • Virtually maintenance free

Chesterfield with CertaStucco™ Texture

Chesterfield CertaStucco
  • Realistic stucco texture
  • Choice of 2 colors
  • 7/8" x 7" picket size
  • Heavy wall post
  • 2" x 6" channeled rail
  • Steel reinforced bottom rail; optional in top rail
  • WindZone™ performance
  • Meets most building codes for pool fence
  • Lifetime limited warranty with SureStart™ protection
  • Virtually maintenance free

Chesterfield Smooth

Chesterfield Smooth
  • Choice of 3 colors
  • ColorLast® fade protection
  • 7/8" x 7" picket size
  • Heavy wall post
  • 2" x 6" decorative top and bottom rail
  • Steel reinforced bottom rail; optional in top rail
  • WindZone™ performance
  • Meets most building codes for pool fence
  • Swoop and S Curve decorative panels
  • Lattice, Huntington, Westminster and Victorian Accent options
  • Lifetime limited warranty with SureStart™ protection
  • Virtually maintenance free

New Lexington

New Lexington
  • Choice of 2 colors
  • 5/8" x 11-3/8" picket size
  • Steel reinforced bottom rail; optional in top rail
  • Lifetime limited warranty with SureStart™ protection
  • Virtually maintenance free

Bufftech has developed PitchPerfect™, an innovative selling system for our premium privacy products that is available to Bufftech 5-Star Fence Contractors. PitchPerfect uses the power of the iPad® to deliver a customizable, professional-looking presentation highlighting the features and benefits of our industry-leading privacy offering while touting your credentials as a qualified fence installer.

For more information on using Best-Better-Good selling techniques or the PitchPerfect selling system, contact your Bufftech Territory Manager.

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Supersize Your Sales
by Matt Richardson, CertainTeed Fence, Railing and Decking Territory Manager
I have an intriguing question for you: What is the most successful question ever asked in the history of the American economy? Are you ready? Wait for it... Wait for it...

The answer: "Do you want fries with that?" Mind blowing, right? Think about it: One simple question has led to billions and billions of French fries being sold and massive additional profits for the easiest upsell in the history of the planet.

So, what is your "Do you want fries with that" question? What is your upsell? What is your strategy for making additional dollars per sale? The game plan is simple. I'll lay it out in three easy steps:

1. Give your customer three options. Assess your customer's needs and don't prejudge as to what you think your customer can, or can't, spend by offering three options and leading with the best. You must show the value of each of these in terms that the customer can easily understand. Back up these options with leave-behind marketing pieces that the customer can review after you leave. By giving three options, you are not providing a "one-size-fits-all" solution – you are educating and empowering your customers to make the best decisions for themselves.

2. Accessorize. What supporting products could you offer to add additional value to the sale? Think decorative gates and caps, or additional CertainTeed Outdoor Living Products such as arbors and pergolas. "Would you like an arbor with that?"

3. Bundle additional services. What additional services do you have to offer that could be combined with the order? Extended warranties? Fence or deck preservation services? Decorative handrail and porch support system installations?

You have a limited number of workers and a limited season to make as much profit as possible for your company. Having an "upsell" message should be a key component of your plan for success. Simply crafted, you can drive additional profits straight to the bottom line and leave your customers feeling empowered with the opportunity to make the choice that's most appropriate for them. While you might spend a little extra time on the sales call, the upside is the possibility of dramatically increasing your average sale by simply asking if they want fries with their order.

Happy selling!

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Chesterfield CertaGrain® Fence Helps Keep the Peace in Florida Community

If – as the saying goes – good fences make good neighbors, then a new Bufftech fence just might be a conduit for peace. At least that was the case in St. Cloud, Florida, where a new home development sparked the ire of nearby residents of this lakefront municipality.

The development – Lakeshore at Narcoosee – is a private, gated community comprised of single-family homes and townhomes. The original plans called for installation of a 4' high white vinyl fence along one side of the property. But when nearby homeowners expressed concern over the development's choice of fence, the builder agreed to look into more visually appealing alternatives.

That's when Mike DeFabbio, project manager for Straight Up Fence of Orlando, Florida, stepped in to help keep the peace. Mike suggested a solution that would provide the privacy the development required along with the aesthetic appeal sought by the neighboring homeowners.

"The neighbors were not happy with the proposed fence and wanted to see more options," explains DeFabbio. "They were looking for something different than plain white vinyl, so I presented Bufftech's Chesterfield CertaGrain® textured privacy fence in Brazilian Blend, and they were sold."

The Chesterfield CertaGrain fence won over the neighborhood with its authentic woodgrain texture and beautiful blended color, serving as a natural complement to the lakefront surroundings.

A crew from Straight Up Fence has already installed 1,800 feet of Chesterfield CertaGrain along one side of the development. The builder was so pleased with the results that he commissioned Straight Up to install an additional 2,700 feet along the other side and back of the property.

"The CertaGrain fence is absolutely beautiful," DeFabbio says. "The look and the quality are outstanding. It really is the perfect choice for the community."

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It's Back and Better Than Ever
Announcing the 2015 CertainTeed $100,000 Living Spaces® Home Makeover Contest
For the fourth straight year, CertainTeed is inviting homeowners to grab their video cameras and document their wish lists for a dream outdoor living space as part of the CertainTeed Exterior Living Spaces® Home Makeover Contest. This year we've upped the ante. One lucky winner will receive an incredible $100,000 grand prize, which includes $75,000 worth of building products, plus professional installation and a $25,000 tax gross-up payment. In prior years, winners received $75,000 worth of building products and installation; however, this year CertainTeed has pulled out all the stops by not only increasing the value to assist with ancillary costs, but also by awarding energy-efficient attic insulation for complete home comfort.

To enter the contest, homeowners were asked to upload an upbeat, creative 30- to 90-second video to CertainTeed's Living Spaces Facebook® page explaining why their home needs a facelift using CertainTeed products. Video entries will appear on the CertainTeed Living Spaces Facebook contest page, where visitors can vote for their favorite until 11 p.m. EST on June 7. The top 10 videos that receive the greatest number of "like" votes will be finalists for best overall pick by CertainTeed judges. The winner will be announced in mid-June.

In addition to the grand-prize winner, the top nine finalists will receive $500 exterior living spaces prize packages.

Visit www.facebook.com/certainteedlivingspaces and click on the 2015 Home Makeover icon for all the details.

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Get Cash Back With Our Contractor Rewards Program
CertainTeed Shows You the Money with No Limits
CertainTeed's 2015 contractor rewards program is in full swing! From January 1 until December 31, 2015, every time you buy a qualifying Bufftech fence or gate product, you'll receive a rebate that will be loaded onto a custom CertainTeed Rewards Visa® debit card each time you submit your proof of purchase. 5-Star Contractors continue to receive an additional 10% bonus rebate on qualifying products throughout the year.

For more information, contact your Bufftech Territory Manager or download the redemption form.

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Saint-Gobain Celebrates 350th Anniversary

Saint-Gobain – the world's largest building materials company and CertainTeed's parent company – is celebrating its 350th anniversary in 2015. In honor of this amazing milestone, Saint-Gobain has created a dedicated website (saint-gobain350years.com) featuring more than 700 archival documents and a gallery of habitat innovations beginning in 1665 through the forward-looking "house of tomorrow" in 2065.

In addition, four pavilions showcasing Saint-Gobain's capacity for innovation and materials expertise are traveling the world to offer the public a unique sensory and artistic experience. Titled "Future Sensations," the touring exhibit will make its one and only North American stop in Philadelphia, home of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed's domestic headquarters. A fifth pavilion, "History and Future" – designed exclusively for Philadelphia – offers a 360-degree visual and audio experience showcasing how Saint-Gobain innovations and employees have an impact on the lives of everyday Americans. The exhibit runs May 30 – June 6, 2015.

For more information, visit futuresensations.com and saint-gobain350years.com.

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Bufftech Welcomes New Customer Service Rep
Introducing Adam Osborne, the newest member of the Bufftech customer service team.
Adam Osborne has joined CertainTeed Bufftech as a Regional Sales and Service Representative.

A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Adam has a B.S. degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Marketing, and years of experience in the building products industry, having previously worked at Home Depot as a Millwork and Flooring Specialist, and for Len-Co Lumber as a salesman/project advisor.

Adam looks forward to providing you with exceptional customer service!

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Pat Sadler Shares His Expertise at NAFCA Field Training School
Bufftech's application guru shared tips and techniques for installing vinyl fence.
Bufftech Senior Product Application Specialist Pat Sadler served as a volunteer instructor at the North American Fence Contractors Association (NAFCA) Field Training School in Sebring, Florida, earlier this year.

The program is designed to improve the skills of fence contractors in areas such as chain link and bias cutting, welding, wood fence construction, ornamental fence installation, gate operators, farm fence, tool safety and vinyl fence.

Sadler, who has been an instructor for 20 years, including 13 years teaching at the original AFA field training school, taught at the vinyl fence station. "I am in my element as an instructor and love teaching various methods of installation as well as the engineering behind the products," Sadler says. "The students learn how the products are extruded, fabricated and designed to aid them with field installation conditions."

The school was well attended this year, with 19 students hailing from the United States, Canada and Mexico. Students were divided into three teams and visited each station twice for one-and-a-half hours per session. Sadler had the students install Bufftech's Chesterfield privacy fence in his class.

"We installed eight full 6' privacy panels using various post setting and assembly techniques," says Sadler. "We constructed and installed a Chesterfield gate from a kit. The highlight was when each team fabricated a CertaGrain® S Curve panel. This is something new that most installers don't get a chance to experience on a regular basis."

The goal is for attendees to focus on installation quality, not quantity, while learning different methods from the instructors as well as other students from all over North America.

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Bufftech Website Gets a New Look
The new design offers easy access to Bufftech's go-to resources.
Bufftech recently redesigned its website to provide quick and easy access to our most popular links. A new side menu bar on the homepage lets you access everything from Installation Instructions and Brochures to WebSource and the Digital Asset Library in one place.

Check out our new one-stop-shop at Bufftech.com.

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Connect with Customers Through BusinessConnections™
Bufftech's online resource offers the tools you need to market your business.
Bufftech helps support your success through BusinessConnections™, our online resource for marketing and sales support. The program includes a full array of tools to help you market yourself as a fence professional, including literature, samples, displays and co-branded signs. Through Bufftech's Sales Support Program (SSP), you'll receive an annual allocation based on your previous year's sales. Plus, your Buffech Territory Manager will be with you every step of the way, helping you to plan and develop a local marketing strategy and managing your SSP budget.

For more information, contact your Bufftech Territory Manager or sign up at businessconnections.certainteed.com.

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Bufftech Products Generate Excitement at FENCETECH

The Bufftech Sales Force

Bufftech's booth at FENCETECH
The Bufftech booth was bustling at this year's FENCETECH show in Orlando. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello and learn about our exciting new product innovations. This year's highlights included our new Chesterfield CertaGrain® decorative fence products – Swoop, S Curve, Convex and Concave fence sections, plus Convex and Concave gates, as well as our expanded color offering in the Baron and Imperial product lines.

Congratulations to the winners of our Kindle Fire giveaway:
  • Big Joe Iannone — Reliable Fence in West Haven, CT
  • Nicholas Pensabene — Art of Fencing LLC, Port Orange, FL
  • Jeff Lisewski — Summit Fence Supply, Akron, OH

It's always a pleasure meeting with our customers and hearing your feedback about the Bufftech line. We look forward to seeing you at the show next January in Nashville!

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The Learning Never Ends with WebEd™
Bufftech’s popular online series brings the training right to your computer.
WebEd™ — Bufftech's interactive web-based training series – kicked off 2015 with three highly informative webinars hosted by CertainTeed product and marketing experts.

The presentations covered New Products for 2015, CertainTeed's BusinessConnections™ online marketing support program, and Gate Installation. Each WebEd session lasts about one hour and is available on two different dates and times, allowing you to choose the session that works best with your schedule.

Stay tuned for details on future WebEd sessions and watch your email for registration information.

Click here to log in and access previous WebEd sessions.

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The Inside Track: Installing the New Decorative Fence Styles
by Pat Sadler, Senior Product Application Specialist
Well, we've had our ups and downs, but now it's your turn.

Introducing the new wave in vinyl fence: curved CertaGrain® panels.

Bufftech has offered Swoop and S Curve fence in both the Lexington and Chesterfield styles for the past few years. Now, we are rolling with the times and adding decorative Swoop and S Curve panels – as well as Concave and Convex panels – in four CertaGrain colors: Weathered Blend, Arctic Blend, Brazilian Blend and Sierra Blend. Because of the dark colors, each formed top rail includes aluminum reinforcement.

All of the panels are offered in 8-foot-wide sections and each has a separate order page in the product catalog. Make certain to order the post on the specific product order page because some of the holes are slightly elongated to accommodate the curve.

Installation is similar for the decorative panels. Layout is slightly different. We suggest laying out the fence line proportionally as opposed to remainder. This way the Convex and Concave will give a uniform effect. Should you choose to install all 8-foot panels, any short remainder panels will have a lesser curve to them.

If you are installing with proportional spacing or just have to cut the curve, measure from the center and cut even amounts off of each end. This will keep a uniform radius shape. All pickets will need to be field-cut to form the radius.

  • Lay out the yard proportionally and determine your post positions.
  • Set post.
  • Install bottom rail (Figure 1).
  • Insert all pickets into bottom rail (Figure 2).
  • Determine the length of the formed rail and cut the ends if applicable (don't forget to leave about 2" in each post).
  • Once the rail is cut, insert it into the posts by an equal amount on each end and place a pencil mark down the face of the rail where it went into the post (Figure 3). (This is for future reference when you reinstall the rail.)
  • Push pickets against the rail and, using a pencil, scribe along the underside of the rail (Figure 4). Tip: Mark an X or number the pickets on what will be the scrap piece to prevent cutting on the wrong side of the line.
  • Remove pickets, keeping them in order.
  • Remove curved rail.
  • Use a jigsaw to cut each picket, running the edge of the jigsaw base along the pencil line so that the blade is cutting approximately 1-1/4" away from the line. This is for insertion into the curved rail (Figure 5).
  • Install end channels on post to prevent light exposure between channel and post. Pre-drill holes and remove PVC shavings before securing with screws.
  • Re-install the pickets back into the bottom rail. Tip: Use your pencil lines to reform the shape of the curve to make sure all pickets are back in their correct position.
  • Drill 3/8" lock ring holes back into curved rail and install lock rings.
  • Position curved rail back into one post until your pencil line is back to its original position.
  • Drop rail down over pickets and into next post (Figure 6).

Note that the radius will look shorter when the panel is cut to fit proportionally in the yard. If you are selling from a display, it is a good idea to explain this to the homeowner to prevent any later confusion.

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How to Overcome Price Objections

You've been here before.

You've discussed a prospective customer's needs, chosen the best products, and quoted a fair price. You know you represent a company that offers high-quality products and service, and that the job will be professionally done. And yet...

The customer balks at the price. What can you say to save the sale?

According to Mark Hunter, the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price (2015), asking your customer why they called your company in the first place might help.

"The customer is interested in what you have to sell based on a desire they have or a problem they need to deal with. Run with it. Don't let them forget about why they're talking to you," he says.

Quality made certain, satisfaction guaranteed
Knowing your products and their features can allow you to break down the price, reflecting the total cost of ownership over the long run. For instance, telling them that Bufftech is the only fence brand that offers proprietary ColorLast® fade protection and reminding them of CertainTeed's long-standing commitment to quality, innovation and service can seal the deal.

Put the customer in charge
Providing your customer with choices gives them a sense of control. Offering three options – Best, Better, Good – with distinct price points, features, functions and benefits gives your customer the chance to choose, putting them in charge.

Trust is an issue
Often, customers feel that they are at the mercy of contractors who may not be offering a fair deal. But you have CertainTeed's reputation behind you. For more than 100 years, we have offered products that have made us #1 with builders and remodelers, and we stand behind everything we do.

You are the expert
Sometimes, customers just need to believe. Presenting options that are sound, speaking with and not at your customers, and letting them know that we offer industry-leading innovation and benefits – like textured fence, blended colors and a lifetime warranty – can help persuade them to spend a little more to get a lot more.

Hunter says that confidently sticking to your price can be risky, but with customers who are not confident of what the right move is, your expertise can be just what they need to make the decision to buy.

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