I find it more and more perplexing that in 2015, so much of the industry still refers to it’s sales force as salesmen or saleswomen. I think of selling as a rather dated practise, coming from a world where consumers didn’t really know about our window and door products. But times have changed. So is the art of selling dead?
Failure to move with the times
Selling is a practise done when a consumer isn’t really sure of what is required. But times have changed. Technology and the internet have become such a powerful tool that more often than not, consumers know at least roughly what they want before they make an appointment to find out costs.
So whilst the economic and technological environment have changed, I feel like a lot of our industry hasn’t changed with it. There is a world of choice in the window and door industry now compared to just ten years ago. And home owners know it. They are using the internet, and tools from our industry’s suppliers, to narrow down their choices and figure out what they want. That makes traditional selling obsolete.
Some big companies, especially the nationals, still work on the old model however. Sales forces taught to sell on the night, use fake discount structures heavily, use the old fashioned sales tactics to force the customer to sign up. This is a dead model and the quicker it is buried the better it will be for all of us.
The good news
Although the role of a sales person is dead, so to speak, the good news is that the role has changed to become something far more useful and potentially a lot more respected. Sales people have to become, if they’re not already, consultants and design experts.
It is now very easy for home owners to find out exactly what window and door products are out there. They don’t need sales people to tell them that any more. But there is a need for consultants and designers to help design the perfect window, door or glazed extension installation.
These designers need to be there to listen to the home owner. Ask them questions. Discover their needs and requirements. Then with that information, design and shape an installation right for their home, using the best suited products.
This way, people aren’t sold to, they are aided in a quality purchase. Something they can get excited and attached to. Not felt like they have been forced into something or backed into a corner they’re not happy with. It’s better for the customer, and it’s better for the industry.
This isn’t something that happens at the higher end of the market, it should be something that happens at all ends of the market. Whether you deal in budget or high end products, this shouldn’t stop your ability to design something suitable for the property and right for the home owner.
A salesperson is an outdated vocation. The web and advanced technology has almost rid us of the need for them. This is now the dawn of a new era in windows and doors. The dawn of clever design, improved products, better information, all packaged together by designers, not sales people.