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Can The Business Models Of The Nationals Work In A Modern Fenestration Industry?

Can The Business Models Of The Nationals Work In A Modern Fenestration Industry?

Of the leads I have sat so far this year, nearly almost all of them I have been up against at least one of the nationals, be it the one named after a mountain, the one that likes to shout at you through the TV or the one that’s a knight riding a horse. All three of them have made the job of pitching to these potential clients very easy indeed.

Old hat selling

As I entered into conversation with the home owners, each one at some point or another decided to tell me about their experience with the “other” company. Nearly all their stories were identical. All sales people spent far too long in their homes for their liking. They all priced in the home straight away. They all started at absolutely ridiculous prices before reeling off a series of “discounts” and “manager phone calls” which magically reduced the price from moon high to just sky high. Each one of the home owners I saw who told me their stories felt pressured, angry, frustrated and turned off from the idea of buying windows and doors.

It is perhaps that latter point which is the most dangerous for the rest of us. There is a big risk that if one of the nationals, or for that matter any company that uses any hard-sell tactic, gets first pick at a home owner, the client is likely to be left feeling angry and disappointed, with the novelty of purchasing new windows and doors well and truly in the gutter. Something no one in the industry wants.

Saying that, for those installers that apply a laid back, informal yet informative and productive approach, it won’t be a difficult task to come across as the better company. But, back to the question, is this old fashioned business model that the nationals still peddle going to work in a modern fenestration industry?

The short answer is…

No. It won’t work. Perhaps a couple of decades ago the drop close, the manager close, the “sales” and the “discounts” may have worked. A couple of decades ago the internet was still in it’s infancy and wasn’t anywhere near the information portal that is is now.

Fast forward back to this year and the internet has done a very good job in alerting diligent home owners to the various tactics and diversions these companies use to trick them into a sale. This has had an effect.

I had a great phone conversation with an industry friend of mine the other day, and this person had links and contacts to one of the biggest installers of windows and doors in the UK. That person told me with confidence that right now, this particular company had a conversion rate of just 15%. I have no reason to doubt this as the person I spoke with is a genuine person with genuine contacts.

So, we have an industry giant, continuing to use all the typical hard-sell plays in the book, working on a conversion rate of just 15%. For me, that is testament to how much the industry landscape has changed and how tired old sales practices fail to bring any noteworthy levels of business in.

Company culture

I guess the next question is if the nationals and the big companies operating old these old business models can change. Again, my answer would be no.

For me, it’s down to the managers. If they have been working at the big industry establishments for a lot of years, they will have been trained and brought up within the industry to sell in the “good old fashioned way”. The chances of changing those sorts of people are slim to non. Unfortunately, it is these managers that are in charge of training their groups of sales people. So if all they know is the old way, then that is exactly how they are going to teach their new recruits. Keeping the archaic methods alive and maintaining misery for thousands of home owners every week.

Unless the company culture changes within the nationals and the larger establishments, then I fear for their long term survival. Market conditions are getting tougher by the month. Home owners are starting to become more cautious with their money. That means they’re certainly not going to start signing contracts on the night or giving away thousands more of their pounds than they have to.

Times may be tough for the nationals right now. Can they change their course to a more honest approach, or is the hard-sell company culture too ingrained for it to evolve beyond it?

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By | 2016-10-28T14:59:16+00:00 January 22nd, 2016|Categories: business, double glazing industry|

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33 Comments on "Can The Business Models Of The Nationals Work In A Modern Fenestration Industry?"

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Anthony C Jones FIAM FInstSMM - Chairman - National Federation of Glaziers
Guest
Anthony C Jones FIAM FInstSMM - Chairman - National Federation of Glaziers
Let’s hope it is getting tough for these and any other companies who use these so called sales tactics. They have created in the eyes of the public an appalling view of this industry which does not express the ethics of the majority of those working in this industry. They discredit us all. In addition, they have caused consumer-biased laws to be visited upon us. These kind of organisations are usually members of the GGF, and they call the shots there: In their arrogance, they pretend to represent this industry. The so called “Code of Ethical Practice” is a sham.… Read more »
Roy Frost
Guest
Be careful what you wish for! You ask, can the Nationals’ hard-sell business models work today. The industry has never been keen on the hard sell. And there’s never been a shortage of unhappy homeowners who were less than impressed with the Nationals’ methods. A look back over the last 30 years shows that consumer protection organisations, Which? magazine, the national media and TV ‘name and shame’ series have always put the nationals in the dock for bad selling and dodgy pricing. And there’s no shortage of bad news stories. But unhappy consumers and bad news rise to the surface,… Read more »
Giles Willson, Managing Director, GGF
Guest
Rather than engage in a public cyber squabble, we respond to Anthony Jones’ earlier post, with a few questions for Anthony with regard to his inaccurate (and bordering on defamatory) comments as well as providing some facts to help him understand the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF), our work and the scope of our long standing success, as we try to continue to improve the operating environment for our Members and the wider industry. Consumer-biased laws? For several years, the GGF Home Improvement department and specialist groups have been working hard on behalf of the industry on consumer legislation with… Read more »
kevin ahern
Guest
So to summarise , the guys with all the money have formed a club to establish influence and regulations to enable the guys in the club to earn more money . Simple I guess 😉 In fairness , I dont expect a ‘cyber squabble’ as previous form just shows that you (both personally and your organisation) ignore awkward quetsions , which is an easier option I guess , but I side with Anthony on some important aspects . The GGF does some great work , but you really can’t help yourselves on some topics To keep it simple though ,… Read more »
Garry Monk
Guest

How can Giles Wilson say “Company offer discounts but be clear” If your list price is £1000 then offer 10% and customer says I will think about it, rep offers 20% and so all the way down to 50%. If this is not hard selling what is ?

If you can do the job for £500 you should quote £500. Simple and Clear.

Section C of http://www.ggf.org.uk/publication/code_of_practice Say companies must not use High pressure selling technigues.! So why are they allowed to ?

Giles Willson
Guest
Hi Kevin, Thanks for your feedback. As you have inferred and as I have stated earlier we will not engage in a “cyber squabble”, however we do take your comments seriously. As I have stated in my earlier post; “Members must comply with the law and the GGF Consumer Code. Any Member in breach of the law and the Code (and the GGF Rules) would face a disciplinary procedure through the GGF Finance and Membership Committee.” However, before the GGF acts it needs to have evidence and a formal complaint. Therefore, can you please write to our Membership department with… Read more »
Giles Willson
Guest

Hi Gary

Thanks for your feedback. As per my previous post can you formally write to the GGF Membership and we can deal with your issue.

Giles Willson

Garry Monk
Guest

Well I dropped an L from Willson so having an R dropped from Garry is OK.

It is not my issue but customers I visit after they have had the hardsell, maybe they could write in and action will be taken against the company and not salesperson.

kevin ahern
Guest
It is so beautiful is it not , the power of social media , a perfect opportunity to promote your own interests and tell anyone who wishes to ask questions to just F**k Off . Well maybe Giles, you could file the incoming Email into the ‘ignore the guy , he will go away’ category, It will probably sit with the Emails I have sent to the BFRC regarding your ridiculous WER fiasco and the false claims the BFRC makes about it. Personally , I believe that if you are quite happy to use social media to promote yourselves ,… Read more »
alan burgess
Guest
Gents, I write as a personal contribution not in any GGF capacity (and no, nobody has asked me to contribute) This started with an accusation that “These kind of organisations are usually members of the GGF, and they call the shots there: In their arrogance, they pretend to represent this industry. The so called “Code of Ethical Practice” is a sham. Those who run the GGF, to their disgrace, are afraid to do anything about these dishonest practices”. Having served as a director of the GGF, Fensa and BFRC I find these comments distasteful and provocative. There isn’t any pretence… Read more »
Ginty
Guest

“Heritage Products Group which I chair”

Quick off-topic question Alan, does that group oversee things like the slimlite type of sealed units?

alan burgess
Guest
Ginty I suspect Slimlite is a trade name so no the GGF won’t push any one producer. If by “over see” you mean are they represented the short answer is no, but we would welcome participation/contributions from IGU manufacturers so that these can also be used to help Historic England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland understand that there are benefits with them, Obviously we know of small units and the GGF has held discussions with various councils that are testing these products and promoting narrow cavity IGU’s as THE solution instead of replacement windows etc. As with everything there are… Read more »
kevin ahern
Guest
Thanks for that Alan I would just like to say that I for one am very happy to see a succesful GGF , I am not at all envious of its members nor its personel , I have stated , even on this thread , that I believe the GGF do a lot of good work , however , on a few simple questions that SHOULD be purely run of the mill answers I have found a brick wall approach by the GGF and its subsidiaries that raise serious questions. Can it be so difficult that Giles has had to… Read more »
Ginty
Guest

Alan, I know Slimlite is a trade name. I could have phrased it better, and that the small/thin unit types I meant are not ‘represented’ by the group. Just curious to see if that whole slim sector was under discussion by your specific group mentioned. Not having a pop.
Thanks.

Anthony C Jones FIAM FInstSMM, National Federation of Glaziers
Guest
Anthony C Jones FIAM FInstSMM, National Federation of Glaziers
Challenge to a Debate from Anthony Jones, Chairman of the National Federation of Glaziers I note that the comments I posted have drawn out some interesting replies. In response, I will concentrate on the subject in question; of what is known as “high-pressure salesmanship”, something this business has been plagued with for quite some time, earned it a poor reputation with consumers, contributed to the growth of consumer protection organisations and to onerous consumer-biased legislation (such as some sections of the recent Consumer Rights Act). Let me be clear, I have no objection whatsoever to the size of businesses. All… Read more »
alan burgess
Guest
Ginty Hi, I don’t take it as you having a pop! Our group met today, Narrow Cavities are discussed by the Heritage Windows Group as they help organizations like Historic England to understand that the GFF is not just about replacement window companies. Kevin, I am pleased you are generally happy with the GGF and its work. As for the serious questions you suggest still need answering, I was under the impression that Giles had provided or offered answers you direct, previously. I cannot see why the BFRC board would withhold this information as I thought the formulae/calculations are in… Read more »
kevin ahern
Guest
Thanks for the considered reply Alan , and yes I think we have been here before , maybe over on RCG before he took it down when my argument seemed too convincing for Giles last time around ! Very simply , Alan there is very little in the public domain with regard actual facts of the WER scheme , just loads of false rhetoric, I will give you a couple of simple examples. You suggest the scheme is supported by the EU , well it is not, not in the slightest, can you actually show where it is? factually ?… Read more »
Giles Willson
Guest
Hi Anthony Thanks for your response and please rest assured I am in no way offended. I always welcome healthy debate providing it remains healthy and does not descend into an online slanging match. On the points you make regarding the GGF Consumer Code of Practice, I respond simply to correct your inaccuracies. Taking the Section C Paragraph 5 in our Code, re; the arbitrary sales call time limit of four hours and your query asking “on what basis was this set? I am pleased to inform you that the four hours’ time limit was requested by a Panel of… Read more »
alan burgess
Guest

Kevin

I know that the content of your last communication is the subject of a reply coming from Giles shortly. You’ll understand I am not ducking your questions, just getting the main people to engage in the discussion, whilst I make some windows!

Alan

Kevin ahern
Guest

Thanks Alan ,
It is just a shame that we are all too busy to do our own investigation work sometimes. Do we know what we know because we found out about it , or because we were told what to believe.
Regards Kevin

Garry Monk
Guest

I am proud to be a member of National Federation of Glaziers

Maybe it is time to remember that a small acorn grows to a large Oak tree which in time dies

Darren
Guest
I live in the North East of England. Locally there is a large privately owned company that sell conservatories, doors, orangeries etc. I have recently spoken to a salesperson who works for them and he has told me some things which makes me wonder how they get business. The salespeople are given set appointments and are sent sometimes not even knowing what the customer is looking for. He has been told a number of times on these appointments that the homeowner only agreed to an appointment to get their telesales people off the phone. One of these occasions was a… Read more »
Anthony C Jones FIAM FInstSMM, National Federation of Glaziers
Guest
Anthony C Jones FIAM FInstSMM, National Federation of Glaziers
Darren’s comments are typical of what all of us who have been in this industry for most of our lives have heard and sadly, continue to hear day in day out. Giles – I have some respect for the activities undertaken by the GGF, but that is not the point! This thread, or discussion is about specifically high pressure so called salesmanship. Please wake up to the fact that most of business/individuals that operate selling to the consumer in this industry do not act in this manner. They show respect for other people, which is at the heart of civilised… Read more »
Anthony C Jones FIAM FInstSMM, National Federation of Glaziers
Guest
Anthony C Jones FIAM FInstSMM, National Federation of Glaziers

Apologies for two mistakes to previous post:
1. The Commitment to Good Practice” .. sets out in simple (not simply!) terms……..
2. We do NOT publish names and addresses of members…………………….

Giles Willson, Managing Director, Glass and Glazing Federation
Guest
Anthony, it is very disappointing that the simple questions we have asked you remain unanswered and the industry is still none the wiser on, who you actually represent and what your remit is. It is also a pity, that you have refused our invitation to discuss these issues face to face at the GGF Offices or at a London venue of your choice. However, as we are an open and transparent Federation, we will be more than happy for you to raise your points when you visit The FIT Show at our Consumer Issues presentations – which we are presenting… Read more »
alan burgess
Guest
Anthony, Seems you wish for a better future, but unhappy consumers have more power than ever to make change happen, if they chose to. No different from the roofer who charges an elderly, unsuspecting, trusting person being charged hundreds of pounds for a single tile replacement on a roof Just that the roofer is generally a fly by night who also claims to belong to accredited trade organisation but doesn’t. The DIFFERENCE is that if it is as bad as you claim, then those affected CAN seek redress from them or the GGF to take action. Personally, I am not… Read more »
kevin ahern
Guest
I will continue to wait patiently for the response from Giles as promised by Alan , but I must pick up on the beautiful irony of Giles’ attempt to claim some high ground by his goading Anthony for some answers to the purile questions he asked. May I courteously remind Giles, that the one simple question I have been asking of Giles , BFRC and GGF has been avoided magnificently for at least the last 5 years. My question is not about membership size willy waving , my question is not about political posturing , my question is not wrapped… Read more »
Double Glazing Commentator
Guest

After reading this blog for two and half years it’s time for a post:-

1) The nationals cream off most of the best customers with their proactive marketing and sales selling to 30% of prospects leaving the dregs for the “no discounts” brigade to fight over
2) Kevin Ahern you need to get a life over the BFRC scheme no-one’s interested in you keep going on about it
3) DGB why do you keep writing about “hard sell” every 4-6 months? it gets boring!

Right ! got that off my chest now back to the day job

kevin ahern
Guest
That is pretty good commentating my friend , 2 and half years reading the blog and that is your first comment ! Not to worry though, because I was told by someone once before, that blogs like this don’t matter as its full of individuals opinions, no-one reads them and no-one cares , so I guess my lack of a life will remain secret ! I think the industry deserves answers but I guess as a lone voice I will still carry on, I don’t have a federation to back me up or anything , and I cant do it… Read more »
alan burgess
Guest

Kevin,

It has been confirmed to me that Giles will submit the data used by the BFRC to you, (he says again as I understand he has issued it previously) however it will be direct not via a blog site. either way I hope it is seen as progress!

Do say hello if you ate at the FIT Show

Alan .

kevin ahern
Guest
Thank you Alan , but he hasn’t provided the info yet in 6 years of asking ! I may not have a life according to the Double Glazing Commentator , but I think I would have remember seeing that info. Also ‘Hello’ I guess , as in the past tense I did in fact eat at the fit show last time, If I recall correctly I was well looked after at Pams House for lunch, and was subsequently served some beautiful italian hams and wines on the Kays stand. Fine fair indeed. What a life eh, I bet DG commentator… Read more »
alan burgess
Guest

Can’t promise fine fayre such as that but there will be a coffee and there’s always a welcoming handshake, even if we choose to disagree.
#Lifestooshort

Alan

Hall ! stand 160

kevin ahern
Guest

Sorry for this Alan but may I just quote you

[ Kevin,

It has been confirmed to me that Giles will submit the data used by the BFRC to you, (he says again as I understand he has issued it previously) however it will be direct not via a blog site. either way I hope it is seen as progress! ]

No progress I’m afraid , no communication , it sounds like someone is spinning you a yarn by the sound of it !

regards

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