Hope you all had a good Bank Holiday and didn’t burn too much in the sun!
As we were all packing up and ready to go home, a good old fashioned Twitter rager kicked off. Industry related of course. And this time it was the subject of women and their ability to sign for new windows and doors to their own home. Because you know, the year is 1885 and the car has just been invented.
Is your husband going to be home?
This was the tweet that started the whole thing off:
Is it true that a woman cannot sign a contract to buy fenestration products in the home unless a husband/partner is present? @glazingblogger re conversation on fb at present. Saying its Fensa rules?— Petita 'Pickle'™ (@PetitaWiles) May 25, 2018
Of course, it is NOT true that a woman cannot sign for new windows with their husband or partner being there. Yet, it appears that at least one major company out there has been spouting this utter bullshit. At to be honest, it’s a story that I hear just about every week when I go see my own customers.
Get this, some are even saying that it’s part of FENSA rules! Can’t remember seeing that in the handbook. Perhaps FENSA could just give a nudge to some of their members and put them in the right direction. You know, before anyone starts to accuse them of sexism.
Before I get into a rant, lets apply some logic. If this garbage were in fact to be true, that would mean women would not be allowed to go out and buy anything. No more going to the supermarket. No more buying on Amazon. No more signing for deliveries. That would also mean that a husband or partner would have to be with them pretty much at all times. I know people like being married but I think both husband and wife wouldn’t be able to stand that much time together!
Back to reality. This is total crap, and is a classic sales ploy by some well established names in the belief that if both halves of the relationship are at home then a decision will be made that night on whether to buy windows and doors. It’s also a classic hard-sell tactic that home owners in the most part know to expect. I suspect that it loses more business than it wins in 2018.
Naturally, in an age where equality is being hard fought for in all aspects of life, that fact that any company could even ask or suggest that someone else be there when it comes to the original sit or signing up for new windows and doors is unthinkable. To add to that, it’s totally stupid to think that with social media and far stricter laws, any company would even risk saying this to a woman. As you may have seen if you were on Twitter on Friday and over the weekend, it did indeed kick off on social media, and was told that it was kicking off on Facebook too.
The companies who were being mentioned were attempting to hide behind other organisations, like FENSA. I’m sure FENSA would not be happy to hear that supposed members were using their name in such activities. They can’t hide behind “company policy” either. Because if they are, and that is indeed company policy, then that policy is sexist and could land them in a heap of bother.
Frankly, to see problems like this crop up isn’t a surprise to me. Although as an industry and society is always trying to move forward, there remains large parts of our sector who continue to bury their heads in the sand and refuse to move with the times. I believe that the things they continue to do that home owners complain about are still things that work. If this is true, then the long term future for these companies is shaky.
Sexism, hard-sell, false discounting. All age-old problems in our industry that are not exiting as quickly as they should be. It’s not as if these are brand new problems we’re only just realising are here. They have been actively talked about for years, decades even. Everyone knows about it, the companies still practising said tactics know about it. The organisations with any sort of teeth to be able to do something about it know about it. And yet, here we still are, hearing about archaic methods that are certainly not welcome in 2018.
The stupid thing is, it’s perfectly feasible to sell windows and doors in this industry without the need for said old practises. There are many of us out there that do well in this industry selling on the back of quality, customer service and fair pricing. You know, actually treating the home owner like a person and not a hard-fought sales tactic. You might find at that point that the home owner enjoys the buying process and won’t feel the need to go on social media to complain about the company.
The sad thing even, even as I write this, I know that much will carry on as per. There is very little intention in the larger sections of the industry to change. No interest in changing, updating the sales methods and business models. Perhaps it does need a social media scandal to bring this to the fore properly.
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