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Nanawall vs. Panda Windows & Doors

Finjohn

Hello all,

I'm on here often and enjoy reading the sarcasm of the Regulars. Many of you are hilarious! I reached out a year ago asking for advice on how architects prefer to be contacted by sales reps. Yes, I got the expected, "All you salespeople suck, why are you on our site?" from some but I also got some great advice and really appreciate it. Peter Normand, Non Sequitur, Miles Jaffe, Donna Sink and Tinbeary There There gave me great advice that I have used this year and it has greatly benefited me.

I'm wondering how many of you have heard of Panda Windows and Doors? 

One of the few companies I feel Panda is comparable to is Nanawall. I say this in regards to quality, superior engineering, ease of use, durability, warranty and aesthetically appealing design. 

Nanawall has done an exemplary job in marketing and advertising that Panda hasn't. They also make great products. Panda is known for high end windows and doors, massive panels that can be easily used with just a finger, barefoot friendly tracks and we often do jobs our competitors either cannot or will not do. The problem is that Panda isn't as well known.

Panda has been around over 25 years and I'm still amazed at how many architects I speak to haven't heard about Panda. 

I'm curious how many of you have heard of or used Panda products? If you have I would like your feedback. If you often specify Nanawall or other manufacturers consistently what is it about their products you like so much?

What is your advice in regards to me making Panda more well known in the world of architects? I sincerely believe we have superior products compared to most I have seen or used. Builders, GC's and homeowners often tell me how they are blown away by our products when they install and use them. They instantly can tell the difference compared to most of our competitors. 

 I have had many Lunch & Learns at architect firms this year. Many we have gone to are specifying our products now. Our marketing department also sends us several architect contacts but most are principals that I know don't even read the emails I send out daily. 

Thanks to you I no longer waste my time trying to reach principals directly to set up a Lunch & Learns. I simply ask whoever answers the phone who I should speak with or email to set one up. By doing this, thanks to your advice, I now set them up 90% of the time vs. the 10% I used to.

I've noticed that Nanawall is specified very often with commercial jobs. People even call us sometimes and ask for a Nanawall door LOL!  I hear that many of their top sales people primarily spend their time golfing with their potential clients.. I would love to be able to do that! They are specified so much that they don't have to do much actual selling. But since we aren't as well known I have to do the grind and sell our benefits, features and value.

In summation I would like your advice on what is the best way to make Panda Windows & Doors known to architects and how to approach architects that have already specified Nanawall or another manufacturer? Does it bother you to get calls from sales reps wanting to send you a quote when you have already specified another product? Are there events, trade shows or other places you go to in search of new products?

I'm looking for advice and not simply trying to promote our products. To those of you inclined to mock the sales guy go for it. I'm thick skinned and will laugh. But for those who will give me advice I will greatly appreciate it and I value your input and time. 



 
Dec 18, 18 1:39 pm

3 Featured Comments

All 7 Comments

Non Sequitur

Our offices specifies Nana in one of our client's large luxurious gym chain buildings and I've never heard of Panda. 

Are they cost comparable? Are they as sexy? Will the junior in our office be setting up a L&L with a Panda rep in the near future?

Also, props for the shout-out.


Dec 18, 18 2:11 pm
Finjohn

Pricing is cost comparable to Nana. Yes sexy too. We are starting to have big national companies come to us that used Nanawall in the past and getting specified more often. I will check with the Regional Manager that handles the Ottawa area regarding a L&L. I don't think they have any field reps in your area as I do in most of my territory. My territory is 9 states in the SE and the Caribbean. If you go to my page on here I have some of the projects we have done. Our website is being redone now as the current one is lousy in my opinion. It isn't user friendly and easy to find technical info as architects prefer. I learned that on here and shared this with the guy redoing it.

Non Sequitur

Market is a little small here so unless you’re the biggest pond, you get no share of the market. How do they perform thermally?

Non Sequitur

*biggest in the pond.

Finjohn

We have thermally broken systems for every product we make that perform very well thermally. If you go to the NFRC website many of our products and there performance results are on there.

senjohnblutarsky

I've actually had a lunch and learn with someone pushing Panda.  Most of my clients are on a storefront entrance system budget.  Nanawall and Panda don't really get floated very often as options.  

That said, the stuff I've seen looks nice enough.  I just never get a chance to specify it. 

Dec 18, 18 2:34 pm
archanonymous

You are basically completing with the "Kleenex" or "Elmer's Glue" of operable glazed wall systems, so its always going to be tough.

- Subcontractor outreach is huge. Doesn't matter if Nana get's specified, if the GC or sub says "we can do Panda for 80% of the cost, and it looks the same", well, we all know the outcome.

- Lunch and learns are good for the whole office, but more targeted outreach to directors and project architect's is probably the most effective in terms of getting your stuff spec'd

- Have a good product, test it, improve it, and get it in front of people and your company will grow.

Dec 18, 18 3:49 pm
Featured Comment
senjohnblutarsky

A lunch and learn or similar is the only way to get in front of those people at my office. Our directors/higher-ups mailboxes are full of stuff from reps. All goes in the trash. A sure fire way to get us to listen, at least briefly is to show up offering continuing ed credit.

Good advice here from archanonymous. Sounds like from the OP you're already in sync with senjohn's advice.

Finjohn

Thanks. I've heard it said that Nanawall is the Kleenex of Folding doors and Panda is the Kleenex of Lift & Slides. Reaching out to Subcontractors or GCs is a good point. I just received a deposit for a job in NC that was spec'd Nanawall but the GC had done a job with Panda in the past and insisted on using us instead.

Get started in the convention and trade show game if you want to get in front of more decision makers and stop paying for lunch for the interns and administrative staff. Lots of principles and PAs never go to our lunch and learns, but the interns and admin always do. However, offices will hardly ever pay to send anyone other than a decision maker to conferences and other events.

National conventions/trade shows for AIA and CSI would be the obvious ones, but you could also look at the ArcUS (Bond Events), SpArc (Opal Group), or MSR (CSI) events for more detailed one-on-one opportunities with pre-vetted decision makers.

Dec 18, 18 4:30 pm
Finjohn

That's a good point too. We're going to do more conventions in 2019. This year we only attended the IBS (International Builders Show) in Orlando. We did get a good deal of business from that . One of our biggest projects in the Albany, Nassau Bahamas came from a brief meeting with a Principal at an AIA convention in FL in 2017. I travel to my territory often but with limited time it can be tough to get in front of many like you can at conventions or trade shows. I haven't heard of ArcUS, SpArc (Opal Group). I will check them out.

Featured Comment
archanonymous

I'm inclined to start a lunch and learn consulting company.

I definitely see both sides of the L & L thing. If you want the decision makers to come, you must offer CEU credits, ideally for AIA/ State Licensure, but LEED is ok too. If there was a way to discourage the interns from coming, I would do that, but maybe it's the price you pay for getting in front of the adults? Maybe the interns soak up some info also?

My firm's L&L attendance is usually a handful or PA's and technical directors, a smattering of jr. design staff and all the admin/ accounting/ other staff that doesn't actually need to be there and doesn't even know what the product in questions is or does.


Dec 18, 18 5:46 pm
Finjohn

We offer CEU credits with our L&Ls and often have decision makers attend. This year we've been teaching a course call, "Sustainable solutions for large openings." Throughout the presentations we have pics of jobs we've done so even though we don't talk about Panda in the presentation they see our products and are very impressed. One thing I always like to say to architects is that Panda will often do the jobs others either cannot or will not do..

One firm we went to in Naples, FL invited us to do a end of the day Product knowledge/Social hour. we brought wine, cheese, beer and some finger food. It went well and was much less formal than L&L presentations. This firm has done this with a few different types of manufacturers.  No CEU credits but more fun.


Dec 18, 18 6:15 pm
Rusty!

I tried getting Panda products on couple of projects that required oversized units. 

Competing with Nanawall should not be your primary objective. You actually offer a higher range of products than they do. If you want bigger pie of high end sliding glass products, you may try an entry point with one of your other offerings. 

 And no offense, but Panda Windows is a terrible name for Architectural Products company. First I heard of the company I assumed it was a company that made low end PVC windows for residential. 

Dec 19, 18 2:11 pm
Finjohn

When our company was founded the owner's daughter had a big thing for Panda bears and that is how he came up with the name. People often think we are based in China with the name also.

Finjohn

Competing with Nanawall isn't a primary objective. Getting our brand more well known is the primary objective. What do you mean by trying an 'entry point' with one of our products?

Rusty!

Oversized glass pivot doors for commercial projects is a market segment no one has captured yet. You'd be surprised at width and height limits almost all door manufacturers have. And recent design trends has designers really pushing for jumbo everything. You could really make your name there. You seem to offer products that could work great for such applications, but marketing is focused on residential side of things.

Finjohn

We often do over sized glass pivot doors. We had a pretty large one (4' wide x 10' tall) at the IBS show and Orlando earlier this year and it did get a great amount of attention. Like you said many were saying they didn't realize there are such large pivot doors on the market. We did a very custom one in Texas for a very high end home that was 18' tall and about 6'wide! It also had several panes of elaborate unique and expensive glass built in. Panda is also one of the few that specializes in bent glass and custom radius units. Those are increasing in demand lately also.

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