Is there a place for the traditional sales tactics employed by the national and other double glazing firms?
Speak to any salesman working for smaller or medium sized companies and they will tell you that they find it easy to sell against the big firms and the sales tactics they employ.
Engage in discussions with other independent window businesses and you’ll see a common agreement that there is no place for pressure selling, being in someones home for hours on end, telephone or door canvassing, buy one get one free offers and so forth.
Has the double glazing buying process changed?
The internet has brought a huge amount of information to consumers. Rewind 25 years or so and the general purchasing process of double glazing was vastly different. It was commonplace to get a salesman to come round your home because that was the way windows were sold.
- The customer had no idea what system they were buying.
- The customer was replacing their windows for different reasons than today.
- The product availability was far more limited.
- The consumer rarely did their own research.
- The availability of information was far less.
- Systems companies never marketed their brand directly to consumers.
- Our lifestyles have drastically changed.
We have long advocated that the traditional sales tactics of many double glazing salespeople are employed simply to secure a sale. Our view is that the reason these sales tactics came about is because of the commission only nature of double glazing sales that is still commonplace today. Also these sales tactics are an integral part of companies that really heavily on lead generation and extensive follow up calls. What is also true is that we remain in a hugely competitive market with no stability or a common theme in window and door prices.
It is right to question whether anyone should be pressured into buying a product, whether there is any logical reason for a salesman to spend hours in the home or whether huge discounting and incentives to buy really work? Does this tactic still work for many companies? Clearly it does if it secures sales. The ethics of it are another subject altogether.
Do high pressure sales tactics work?
Those of us working outside the large double glazing firms continue to question how in today’s information age and with more information available to consumers these sales tactics could possibly work.
By nature of the £100m+ turnover of Anglian, Everest or Safestyle consumers surely are quite happy with the buying experience. If not these companies would not sell the sheer volume that they do?
Is there a point of view that even with the buy one get one free offers, “manager” discounts, “valid only for today” offers and seemingly permanent discounting that customers are actually happy that they have received good value?
Look on social media and you’ll actually see a mixture of consumers tweeting delight at the products and services they have received from the national window firms as well as highly negative experiences.
What is a typical double glazing sales process?
For the large companies, sales training is far more important than product training. For many window firms, the traditional method of selling still works. It is all about focusing on the opposite to what the customer expects. Examples include focusing on customer emotion, customer needs, and problems. Other examples of how double glazing is sold includes focusing on benefits not specifications, focusing on value not price. There are still a large number of businesses that do operate this way. They will confirm established sales tactics, drop closing, telesales, door to door canvassing and huge discounting works for them and generates them sales.
The closing technique or phrase is still used by many. If you’ve had a salesman visit or been a salesman before, are any of these phrases familiar?
Is there any reason, if we gave you the windows at this price, that you wouldn’t do business with our company?
If we could find a way to deal with [objection], would you sign the contract today?
If we throw in [freebie/incentive], would that convince you to sign the contract today?
If you sign the contract today, I can guarantee we can do [special request homeowner asked for]. How does that sound?
Will you commit to doing business with us today?
Everyone perceives value differently.
The designer clothing and accessories market is a great example of brand loyalty and extensive marketing. However dig deeper and you’ll find that often it is not what it seems.
There is vertical integration in the sunglasses sector. There are huge factories manufacturing many designer clothing or fashion watch labels under one roof. There are even high end, iconic British and international brands having some their goods made in China.
The point here is that we all perceive value and brands differently. Large double glazing firms after so many years trading are cemented in people’s minds as the people to go and get a quote from. And let us not forget the multi million pound marketing budgets that these large companies have.
There may also be the issue of trust. The large companies have been trading for several decades and Everest of course has the “fit the best” slogan. You’ll know marketing slogans can be embedded in our minds for generations. Is this excellent marketing for Everest continuing to serve them well?
Therefore whilst some criticise the way the larger double glazing companies choose to sell windows, we have to respect consumer choice and perceived value. Some us may know what aluminium system Everest sell under their well known slogan. We in the window industry might not perceive it as the best, but the consumers may well do thanks to excellent marketing over many years and how the salesman ultimately presents the company and the product. The same could be said for any product.
The window industry has knowledge that consumers don’t.
It is also right to point out that we in the window industry have access to information that consumers don’t. Knowledge is power and knowledge often cements our point of views.
We bemoan the large double glazing firms selling a basic composite door for three thousand pounds to an unsuspecting homeowner. We all express our disgust at how anyone can get away with selling a door for this amount of money.
But what we have is insider knowledge at what it cost us to buy this door, our labour rates, profit margins and so forth.
The consumers don’t!
If the sales process of some is to quote several thousand pounds for a door, discount it and the customer perceives this as getting fantastic value we have to respect that as well. If by sheer size, these companies must sell at a high price in the hope they may get away with as much as possible to cover extensive overheads then that is not just double glazing that does this but many other large firms with huge wage bills, administration/operational costs and marketing budgets.
What is the right way to sell double glazing, and what is misleading?
This very website helps many consumers on a daily basis contacting us to ascertain whether what they’ve been told by a salesman is true.
“I’ve been told by my salesman that externally beaded aluminium windows are illegal, is this correct?”
“My salesman has informed me that I don’t need trickle vents if I leave my windows in the locked ventilated position”.
“I’ve been told to avoid aluminium windows because they can’t achieve the window energy ratings of PVCu?”
In many walks of life we rely on the knowledge of others to help us make a buying decision. It is unfortunate that sometimes this knowledge can be false or misleading. This is frustrating for us in the window industry that sell honestly where some salesmen choose to grossly mislead or criticise the competition in order to sell their own product.
Local window firms are changing double glazing for the better
Via the Aluminium Trade Website we receive enquiries from the general public about home replacement products. As a consequence of this, and our work creating websites and digital advertising solutions, we are fortunate to come into contact with many window companies.
What we have seen after nearly 30 years in the home improvement and construction sector is change. Today’s ethical, modern and progressive window companies are vastly different from those of years ago.
- They offer a terrific product range that is varied.
- Window companies are ethical professional and hard working.
- There is a focus on customer service and satisfaction like never before.
- There is huge investment in high quality showrooms and marketing.
- They’re shifting from the traditional method of selling double glazing.
- Window companies are working to educate the consumer.
But even whilst the smaller local firm will often offer a bigger and better range, a more personal service and better prices, a buyer has the right to compare one to another, large to small.
Ultimately the buying decision of any consumer is up to them. If they are happy with the price, the perceived quality, discount or incentive to buy, then that decision has to be respected surely?
Selling any product will always be competitive, varied and open to question. However it’s not just double glazing. PPI firms and Injury Claim companies are marketing to us via text messages and other methods. It’s either the new frustration for consumers or now another tried and tested method of securing sales.
We would really like to hear what you think about the modern sales prices, share your views on social media or via the comments below.