I have written this post to address some of the points raised on the ATS site, more specifically, this post: http://www.aluminiumtradesupply.co.uk/8547/double-glazing-sales-tactics/

Public Still Aware Of Dodgy Tactics

According to Nick: The public remain cautious of the home improvement industry and its dubious reputations no matter how good your own company is. Do you really know whether your sales force employs questionable sales tactics or not?  Simply asked, is there a good case that a double glazing salesman turning up late one evening is putting the customer on edge that he may never leave? What impression is a salesman giving to a customer by suggesting or accepting a late night call even if the customer requested it?

I absolutely agree. The general public know that our industry is pretty low down on the list of reputable sectors. However, if a customer rings asking specifically for an evening call, say 6:30pm, I would argue that in their own mind they have already prepared themselves to eject a high pressure sales person on the off chance they get one.

To be honest, this idea Nick gives about a less than positive impression being given if a company sits an evening call is a new one to me. Not once have it heard it elsewhere in the industry and not once have I ever heard from a customer that they think it’s dodgy if we do evening calls. I can only say that in my experience (7 years in sales full time – if that counts for anything) people have always told me that they were glad they didn’t have to take time off work for us to come see them at home.

As far as I’m concerned, unless you’re a national or known for being unreputable, evening calls don’t create a negative impression.

No Pressure To Do Evening Calls

I absolutely agree that no window company is ever forced to do evening calls. Nick is right, no other industry does it, so why should we? Well, I think one of the few things the industry has done well is to spot that most other industries work 9-5 hours, which to some will be inconvenient. It has done well to make itself available outside normal hours to accommodate for those who may want an evening call and cannot take time off work to either visit the showroom or make it home before 5pm.

Nick mentions the typical corner sample being used in the home. Well I’m not sure that there are that many installation companies out there which do carry old fashioned corner samples anymore. Installers are learning to get people into the showroom. But on a home visit, new technologies such as tablets are doing a much better job than old hat corner samples. Speaking from a personal point of view, my customers have quite enjoyed the experience of being handed some modern kit and simply flick their way through the plethora of windows and doors.

I have previously written in the past about the importance of a good showroom. It is the ideal place to show off the very best of what you do. Potential customers should always be guided there. However, there are scenarios where people either won’t be able to make it, or don’t actually want to visit until they have had a price from you.

For example, we deal with a lot of elderly people in our area. Not all of our elderly clients are able to make it into our premises because of health reasons. What if they wanted us to come in an evening? Am I supposed to tell them that unfortunately because they’re physically unable and because we don’t work past 5pm that we can’t service their requirements?

Another example I can give I experienced the other day. I saw this particular client, by request in an evening, at their home. As I was going through the motions, I mentioned to the client that they should visit our showroom as they can see and understand better the products we have been talking about. His reply to me was that once he had my quote and he was OK with the price, then he would come and see the showroom. For me, that is a fair enough answer as I cannot force him into the showroom.

Nick says: A reputable window company operating flexible opening hours should have the ability to entice their potential customers into their showroom to accurately represent their products and their company without feeling pressured to attend late night sales calls.

I can assure him that most installers don’t feel pressured to carry out evening calls as they probably advertised evening calls in the first place. I can also assure him that a window company can be reputable whether their customers come into their showroom or not.

OMB’s Doing Evening Calls

For those online in the land of Twitter, you will know that there are quite a few regular OMB’s active in the conversation. They will tell you that they do evening calls, simply because they have to. So, totally agree with Nick’s point.

Seeing Both Partners Together

Nick says: From a legal stand point then a joint credit agreement obviously has to be signed by both parties.  But to insist on both being present for the salesman to measure the windows and discuss the window style is an implicit acknowledgement that they intend to hangout for a signed order.

Not all installers ask if both partners are going to be there. We never do. I blame that on the nationals, as I believe it was a tactic of their’s from the start.

Heard It All Before?

I absolutely agree that there will be some VERY generic sales people out there. However, the industry I believe is quickly learning that these old style tactics are dying a death quite quickly and are having to change styles, which is good.

My own style, and the style of the company I work for is very relaxed, no hard sell, no closes, no pricing on the night. We treat each person as we see them as there are many different people. We like to think we are different to most, but at the same time being able to demonstrate why their money is better spent with us.

To Sum Up…

Nick raises some decent points against evening calls, however I don’t believe any of them are strong enough to proclaim the negatives of them. I don’t believe that evening calls damage a business’s reputation. I do believe that providing the business behaves morally and correctly, evening calls can be good for relations between a client and the company.

Not every installer is the same. Nick’s article I think unfortunately tars a lot of honest and hard working businesses with the same brush, which is very harsh. I know that in many corners of our industry there are a lot of companies working hard to turn around a reputation that has been put on them thanks to the hard-selling handful of national companies.

On a side note. I have been accused of being unbalanced and biased when writing on my site. In response, I would like to say that if I truly believe in a particular topic, such as this one, I am well within my right to argue for it if I believe there isn’t a strong enough opposition to counter that argument. Of course on wider industry issues I will always try to write about the more inclusive views, but with my own personal take on things.

Also, for those that have followed this site from the start, they will know that this site started out as a place for me to air my frustrations and angers with the industry. The original remit of the site was never to be a Switzerland style neutral site.

If you managed to read all that, thanks and well done! I would love to know what your thoughts are, so please leave them in the comments section below.

Next time: funky new skylights from John Fredericks, by Eurocell.