A Look Back at WFCT’s Education

August 9th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Learn How to Keep Customers, Financial Strategies and More from Pros

By Emmariah Holcomb

Everything from starting a business off on the right foot to knowing where to expand was covered in the mecca of things cars—Indianapolis, Ind. No matter where you turned attendees were soaking up everything they could about window film, paint protection film (PPF), and everything in between in forum-style sessions during three days of education, fun and competition.

If you couldn’t make it you missed valuable advice and tips. And if you were there, perhaps there was a seminar you missed or a fact you overlooked. WINDOW FILM magazine recaps it all so you can implement these practices into your businesses.

Financials Through Window Film

“They asked me what I wanted to talk about and when I thought about what could be the most exciting I thought of the financial aspects of window film,” Matt Darienzo, president of Solar Art Window Tinting and Graphics, jokingly said as he began his presentation.

He stressed the importance of hard work.

“… and trust me I’m not super smart but I work super hard and that’s what sets us apart. Because that’s something we can control – how hard we can work,” he said.

Darienzo said his passion and genuine love for businesses motivates him to further expand. Another main point he made was “knowing what you want,” when deciding what to invest in.

“Think about it this way: are we trying to grow and scale our businesses?” Darienzo asked the audience.

How to Thrive in Window Film

“My presentation is based on a single word, “thrive.” For me this is a personal thing, as it can mean different things for everyone,” said Jeff Franson, Window Film Depot CEO and president.

“In thriving, there’s business and there’s life. Business owners need to ask themselves if they can really thrive if they’re struggling individually,”  ranson said.

“In order to thrive in business you have to have a definition of success. As CEO you need to be an energy officer,” Franson said.

Strategies Keep Customers Coming Back

Gregg McKay, Nu-Vue Window Films president, led a seminar on methods that keep your customers coming back.

“You want to ensure your customers have and see consistency when they come to you. You want them to walk away smiling and recommending you,” he said.

McKay said this starts with your company’s customer service representative (CSR). He mentioned a few qualities your CSRs should have, which include:
• A low number of phone rings before calls are picked up;
• An interest in your customers; and
• Being knowledgeable about your services.

Key Residential Sales Strategies

Jonathan Thompson, owner of SunSational Solutions, provided residential sales tips. He began by stating diversification with “sister businesses” aids in a profitable sales strategy.

“We partner with a window treatment service because it’s related to our business and target audience. We worked hand-in-hand with the
companies and they send us clients and vice versa,” Thompson recalled.

Having “top notch” communication will in some cases make or break a sale, according to Thompson. He mentioned a time when he was working with a potential customer who was distracted about their daughter going off to college. Thompson said he asked questions about how the process was going for their daughter and if she’d gotten into any schools yet.

“Asking discovery questions and following up is what closed that sale and earned my company a new client,” recalled Thompson.

And when it came to offering discounts, he had a clever response.

“You should never give a discount without getting something in return. A lot of the time people just try to see if they can talk you down, but in the end your business has to work twice as hard to get and complete more jobs for every discount you allow,” said Thompson.

Automotive Sales Strategies

SunStoppers Window Tinting owner Mike Burke answered questions centered on growing your business during his seminar.

It was a rapid fire presentation where Burke, a tinter himself, talked to his peers about how to grow.

“I used to hire by skill level but not anymore,” said Burke. “You know the kid in the movie Rudy? That’s the kid you need to hire and teach him how to sell and tint.”

He also mentioned, you as a business owner, must know what kind of customer you want to reach.

“You need to find that select group and attack them. That’s sales,” he said.

His sales skills work and most of the time price is not an issue, according to Burke.

“The customer brought his truck in the next day without even asking for a price,” said Burke. He wanted to bring his vehicle to me because
I was so excited about it.”

Finding Success with PPF

Attendees who wanted to learn about having PPF success went to the question and answer styled seminar where experts spoke to some of its challenges. The panel included Hamza Nadeem, Get Detailed Toronto CEO; Brodie Mathews, president and CEO, DeCo Tint PPF Wrap a Tint America Company; and Carl Melendez, owner, 631 Coatings and was moderated by WINDOW FILM magazine editorial director Tara Taffera.

One question centered on timing. How long is acceptable to keep a customer’s car? “We keep our cars for five to seven days and price them accordingly,” said Mathews.

Won’t the customer complain about being without a car?, one attendee asked. “Nine times out of ten the exotic car guy has another car to drive,” said Melendez.

And if they don’t, it’s helpful to set up an account with a car rental company to offer loaners.

Another discussion area was must have items for PPF shops. For Mathews it’s all about lighting.

“I will never stop adding lighting to my store,” he said. “It’s like heaven shining down.”

Melendez mentioned an item that may have surprised some—a downdraft air purifier system.

How to Achieve Success in the Window Film Industry

Chris Robinson, owner of The Tint Guy Window Tinting in Woodstock and Kennesaw, Ga., started his session off by stating ways to achieve success.

“This is really about how not to kill your business,” Robinson humorously said.

He shared five mistakes he made in his career which were:
• Failing to plan;
• Hiring the wrong people;
• Misreading your market;
• Assuming customers will come to you; and having
• A poor family/work balance.

“There’s a big difference in being self-employed and being a business owner. A business owner can have a business that makes money on its own, so if you take a week off you’ll still be making money. But, if you’re just self-employed, if you take a week off you’re not making anything. So you need to plan ahead,” he said.

When it comes to hiring, there are a few things Robinson swears by.

“Be sure not to hire those who are under-or over-qualified, as it just wastes time. And be very clear about work expectations and compensation,” he mentioned.

Family time is “precious, but not a guarantee.”

“Up until recently I worked six days a week doing 10 hour days and then one day it just clicked because I heard someone say you only have 18 summers with your kids. And I thought and well, they aren’t any fun at three and they don’t like you at 16 so you really have around 12 summers,” recalled Robinson.

His point—as a business owner you have to learn to say no.

IWFA Education Day

The International Window Film Association (IWFA) showcased things it has been doing. A live demonstration of a wet residential installation caught the audience’s attention during Chris Obney’s, of Accent Distributing, Understanding Attachment Systems seminar.

He included a few tips:

• Using tools that can fit easily into the trickier areas, (like the corners);
• Making sure your frame is free from oils because your tape won’t stick as well; and
• Using gloves during installations because the products can stay on your hands for a few days.

Dynamic Films, Spray-ons, Gel Coatings and Other Developing Glazings

Dr. Rob Tenet, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Material Science Center senior scientist, grabbed members of the audience instantly as he stated:

“To be clear this is not a film talk, this is a technology talk that will incorporate film.”

Tenet followed his initial comment with a definition on dynamic windows, which he stated are highly insulated and energy generated.
This type of window also can be seen through thermochromic window options.

Thermochromic windows are temperature-driven, and have a simplified installation. The occupant however has no control, according to Tenet’s

They might be the best option for interpreting window film, according to Tenet.

Using Marketing Assets and Support from the Association

Steve Capoccia, Special Public Communications CEO, and Darrell Smith, IWFA executive director, gave insight on the projects the association has been working on.

“The IWFA educates people on window film with a variety of techniques like newsletters, webinars etc.,” Capoccia said.

National window film day was a “hot topic” as many were interested to learn the results of the most recent event.

“It’s five years old and it’s always on April 30th. We had thousands come to the IWFA site to download materials, help promote the day, and educate their customers on what window film has to offer,” Capoccia said.

Marketing Secrets of Women in Window Film

A Women in Window Film session made its debut at last year’s WFCT. Michelle Hurtado, co-owner and president of Sal’s House of Tint, Sarah Ortiz, Madico business development specialist, comprised a panel that spoke about how women coincide in the industry, which was moderated by WINDOW FILM magazine editorial director Tara Taffera.

Ortiz said there are times when she has seen benefits to being a woman in the industry. “People open up to me more, I don’t know if it’s because I am a women or if it’s just my personality,” Ortiz said.

Energy Analysis Software for use with Window Films

The sessions concluded with Michael O’Keefe, senior engineer at Big Ladder Software stating why he thinks there’s a need for Efilm.

Efilm is a software that was conceived for the unique requirements of the window film industry and allows for a quick estimate of in-situ performance, according to O’Keefe.

Plan Ahead

It’s time to start planning for this year. WFCT will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. September 22-24, 2020. For more information please visit www.wfctevent.com

Emmariah Holcomb is the assistant editor for WINDOW FILM magazine. Reach her at eholcomb@glass.com, and follow her on Twitter @WindowFilmMag. Editorial director, Tara Taffera and editorial assistant, Kyra Thompson contributed to this report.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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