As Billy Grant takes a seat at Everest’s head office in Cuffley, he nestles into the chair in the same satisfactory way many of us sink into the sofa at home. Perhaps his level of comfort isn’t overly surprising given the fact he was born on the exact same day Everest was incorporated.
When did you start working for Everest?
I’ve been here for 14-years now. I joined in September 2001 as a trainee and have never looked back.
What attracted you to the job?
Honestly, when I first turned up to the interview, I had no idea what I was interviewing for! I’d received a call out of the blue and, as I was looking for work, I agreed to go along. It ended up being a good meeting of minds and by the end of the day I’d agreed to join the team.
So you started as a trainee and now you’re the Divisional Development Manager of Scotland and the North? That’s an impressive climb.
Yes, it’s a complete career! I started in Aberdeen and was soon promoted to Area Manager of Stirling. I then went north to Dornoch, which is aptly pronounced “Door-knock,” in 2007. I was promoted to Divisional Sales Manager of the Highlands in 2009 and in 2013 I was made Divisional Development Manager of Scotland. As of this year, I now oversee Scotland and the North.
That’s quite a journey! How do you keep yourself motivated after all this time?
I’m just drawn in by the variety of work and the challenges set by myself and the company. We continue to make progress at an incredible pace and, for me, the motivation is the fact we are number one, and everybody intends to stay there. You can’t be idle because somebody will eventually overtake you, and helping develop and motivate people to be at their best is so rewarding that not for a moment could I ever get bored. I have to pinch myself every time I wake up because I have the greatest job in the world, and I honestly believe that. It has far more highs than lows.
You obviously have a great passion for the company. Why do you, and why should customers, trust Everest?
We’re industry leaders for a reason. We’ve outlived our standard guarantees five times over, and some companies don’t even outlive their basic guarantee. You only have to look at the accolades Everest have won to see that it’s the experts who say we’re the leaders, not us. We are the best and it’s thrilling to be a part of it. We’re constantly changing the face of the industry; it’s as clear as night and day. What’s more, our guarantees are unconditional. There’s not a person at the other end of the phone with a list of fifty questions trying to catch you out on why you’re not covered. If that happens then what’s a guarantee even worth? At Everest, we stay true to our word.
What exactly does your role entail?
I attend a lot of Manager’s meetings and am in daily contact with Everest’s Sales Director, Tom Devine. The majority of my time is spent coaching our TDM’s (Territory Development Managers). There are 44 territories in the UK and 9 of them are under my control – so Scotland and the North make up a big part of Everest’s demographic. I usually start work at six in the morning and am on the road all week, so it can be quite demanding, but it’s incredibly rewarding, too.
Better Capital took over the company in 2012 and have made great efforts to improve the Everest customer experience. Have the results been apparent to you?
Very much so! It’s my view that the majority of our consultants have always tried hard, but there’s definitely been renewed emphasis on ensuring they’re as well equipped as they can be before stepping into a customer’s home. Generally, if a customer books an appointment, it’s because they want to improve their home, so as long as our consultants know our products well enough, we believe the customer will always want our products if the benefits are explained properly. If a consultant is ever “under-performing,” a big part of my job is placing an arm around them and finding where they’re going wrong. We don’t lecture them, but encourage them. We perform role-plays with them in our academies, which are made to look like real homes so the consultants can learn to feel comfortable. They should be comfortable. They’re consulting people about the best products and representing the finest home improvement company in the land!
A lot of people become anxious when hearing the term “salesman.” What do you think of that word?
It makes you think of the hard sell, but at Everest we provide consultants – people who know about the product and want to work with the homeowner to achieve the best results. These consultants also carry samples of our products, so they can bring our showroom to you. We don’t operate the same way as other companies. We are different. We’re pleasant. We listen.
Many customers prefer to deal with local companies rather than national. What do you say to that?
I think there’s a misconception about Everest, because we are local. Our consultants are local to you. Our installers are local to you. You’ve probably already seen them in the street! And they’re bringing you the best products that are largely made in the UK. You couldn’t get much more local than us – it’s just that we’re backed up by the reputable brand of Everest.
On that point, is it right that people often call you Mr Everest in the street?
Aye, all the time! Over the years I’ve had a certain level of success, so there’s been some coverage in the region; leaflets with my face on and that kind of thing. Plus, I throw a lot of charity events that help bring the community together. We recently raised £10,000 for cancer and often people come up to me and say “Hey! Mr Everest, I’m looking for a patio door” or whatever it may be. It’s nice that people feel comfortable enough to approach me at events, and of course when I send a consultant to them, there’s a warmth that already exists from that initial meeting. To me, Everest is associated with my name and so it’s not just a job. I carry the company with me every day of my life and so I obviously want to be proud of our work. The customer’s happiness is integral to that.
We would like to thank Billy very much for his time and wish him a very happy 50th birthday!