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Approaches for selling exterior doors

The first step to successfully selling an exterior door is simple: pay attention. When walking  up to a house, a sales person should pay attention to what the home’s exterior door need is, says J.D. Diskin, chief sales officer of Chester, Pa.-based Power Home Remodeling Group. 

Diskin’s second step is to remind homeowners how home sales today rely heavily on images found on the Internet and, therefore, how curb appeal and good looks are more important than ever. “If you’re looking for a home, you receive emails with a lot of photos of houses,” Diskin says. “Every single profile of homes for sale starts with an exterior shot, which will have the entry door as the focal point. When you have an older door, it’s going to take away from the overall beauty of the home. A beautiful exterior door will make a house pop, and sell.”

The third consideration for selling an exterior door is the amount of use it will get. A family of four, for example, will leave and arrive home several times throughout the course of a day. “That door is getting hundreds of uses every month,” Diskin says. “It needs to be able to handle that type of wear and tear.”

Diskin recommends steel or fiberglass doors for maximum durability and safety. He notes that if it is manufactured and installed correctly, a door could last for as long as 40 to 50 years. “It should be the last door any homeowner should ever put on their home,” he says. 

Diskin has seen the largest increases in sales in the fiberglass door category. “When the manufacturer takes the time to make a door properly, it can look like authentic wood,” he says. “Homeowners get the best of both worlds – the beauty of wood without the maintenance.” This can be a strong selling point.

Return on investment

The return on investment for a fiberglass door can take several forms. One is the monthly savings in energy bills realized from upgrading to an energy-efficient door. The bigger return on investment, however, is the increased resale value, Diskin says.

“That’s the really nice thing about investing in a nice exterior door versus a kitchen or finished basement,” he says. “Homeowners are going to see the return on investment every month in the form of energy savings. Then, because of the enhanced curb appeal and ‘wow’ factor, a home will sell faster, and that’s really key. You can have the nicest kitchen in town, but if you have an old beat-up door and the first picture people see on your home’s online listing is of that door they won’t even look at the other photos let alone visit the house. The return on investment from a nice entry door is extremely high and can help the ROI for other improvements in your home by enticing potential buyers to see the rest of the house, and those improvements.”

Sales techniques to avoid

Too often, a homeowner is presented with what Diskin calls a pre-meditated sales approach. “Remodelers might meet with a family thinking they’ll sell a door, but they haven’t taken time to learn the condition of the home’s existing door, or the rest of its needs,” Diskin says. “They might have had the door replaced a year ago and not even need a new door, so look for improvements the home actually needs rather than focusing on what you want to sell.” 

On a similar note, Diskin cautions against trying to sell a specific door or style without first talking with the homeowner about his or her wants and needs. “Ask questions such as if they want glass, caming or an upgraded handle set, and then present options based on what they are actually looking for.”

Diskin continues: “The other thing that unfortunately happens a lot in this industry is instead of trying to promote the benefits of their product, the inferior sales person will bash the competition. Instead, talk about what you can do and how you can help the homeowner.”