Hard sell. It used to be the only way double glazing worked. Then (some) companies got wise and realised pressuring a customer in their own home is a pretty crappy way to sell to someone and understood that a more friendly approach would do their chances a whole lot better. Still, the practise of hard sell continues at a lot of companies, and remains the main tactic of the nationals.

In fact, it seems like it’s the only tactic of the nationals. Whenever I go see a client, if they have had Everest, Anglian or Safestyle in, the story is the same. They’ve stayed far too long, tried to get the order right there and then with the customer feeling pressured in their own home. I know if I were in the customer’s shoes I would be pretty angry and throwing those people out of my house. But who is to be blame for these frankly ridiculous methods?

We often blame the sales force themselves as they are the face of the company and the only people customers ever see. But in truth, it is not the sales staff that are to blame but the managers and the MD’s of the businesses that are to blame. I have had anonymous emails in the past from sales people who have explained to me that when they join these big national companies, they get various training courses which teach them how to do the hard sell and how to pressure people in buying straight away. They also get given their targets and what they have to do to achieve them. They feel forced into having to sell that way as it’s either the business’s way or become unemployed.

Now you could argue that sales people should stand by their moral fibre and say no to these sorts of practises, even if it does mean not having that job anymore. But in a world where job security doesn’t exist anymore and the cost of living going up every week it seems, try telling someone to stand by their moral fibre then, especially if they have a family to feed.

The responsibility for the hard sell, which has tarnished so much of our industry, lies firmly at the feet of the managers and MD’s of some of the biggest installation companies our industry has. They are the ones responsible for training the many thousands of sales staff running riot with the hard sell approach. Their ultra-high targets and unfair pressure they put on their sales teams have turned what could have been a reputable industry from the start, into an industry known for being sleazy, corrupt, unprofessional and generally bad all round.

However all is not lost. There are many smaller businesses out there which understand that the hard sell approach is very much dead and buried. It has no place in a world which is trying to rekindle the idea of respect for each other. They know that the friendly, professional, 100% honest approach is not only the best way forward for their own business, but for the industry in general too.