D+AS MAGAZINE

FEATURES — Selling Green Garage Doors

© 2007 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2007
Author: Scott O’Neill
Page 62


Selling Green Garage Doors
How the Environmental Movement Can Help You Sell Garage Doors
By Scott O’Neill

I’ve seen a lot of changes in this industry in the last 20 years. New materials, ideas, and technical innovations have all helped the garage door industry grow.

So, what’s the latest trend in the building industry? Going Green!

The movie “An Inconvenient Truth” was widely viewed and brought worldwide attention to environmental concerns, whether we agree with the conclusions or not. The truth is, media attention has made more people aware of the environmental impact of our actions. There’s more momentum for “greening” now than ever, and garage doors are a part of the movement.

Gone Are the Old Days
Remember when folks used to want just steel doors, non-insulated? I’d tell them that they dent easily and let the garage get very hot. That was a hard sell. But now, people understand the benefits of insulation and often choose it without much selling.

Today, industries are working hard to provide solutions to balance what people want and what the earth needs. We’ve seen new trends leaning towards green in garage doors. Some of them include:

  • Reclaimed and recycled wood in custom garage doors
  • Higher-density insulation with higher R-values, yielding quieter operation and energy savings
  • Materials that are longer lasting and easier to maintain
  • A reversion to manually operated swinging carriage doors
  • Aluminum framed/all-glass garage doors that maximize natural light

Cheap Chet Changes His Mind
Chet came into the showroom the other day. “A non-insulated, cheap door is what I need,” he said as he walked through the door.

“A man to the point … I like it!” I responded.

But then after we talked, he decided that he wanted more than a cheap door. He convinced himself to get a stronger door. It made sense, he reasoned, since it would last longer and be better for the environment. Otherwise, he’d just end up replacing the door in a short time, wasting resources.

The Green Sales Pitch
Chet’s story illustrates that you can use the environmental angle in your sales pitch. One good way is to mention the many benefits of green products.

For example, I had a client in Berkeley (Calif.) who was building a contemporary artist’s loft. She wanted to make it “open and airy,” since she’d use the space for pottery work, which requires bright light for fine details. Years ago, maybe a top section with glass would have helped.

But she loved instead the idea of an all-white-laminate glass door so that she could really maximize natural light. Her thinking was that it would reduce energy usage, bring in the outdoors, and enhance her working area. It doesn’t hurt that the door is a modern style that brings a lot of visual attention to her contemporary property.

Everybody Wins
People feel good about buying garage doors that are earth-friendly and longer lasting. They feel even better when they get the other features they want, such as light from windows, a sleek style with aluminum or steel, and modern design features that add curb appeal to their home.

And here’s the best news. They are willing to pay more to get these features and will proudly tell their friends how green they are … and how great you are!

It’s a win-win-win!

Stay tuned for part two of this story. In my next column, I’ll report on the latest buzz at the Green Building Conference in San Francisco in September. I expect to see more emphasis on custom carriage house doors made with reclaimed wood. We’ll see.

Scott O’Neill has been in the garage door business since 1986 and a sales manager since 1992 at Madden Door, Martinez, Calif.