There are two types of installation companies in our industry; those that use highly inflated discount structures and those who give their best price in the first place. We all know of course that some companies use very inflated discount structures to give the impression that home owners could be saving a lot of money, when in fact they are not. And in all honesty, most home owners know that.

The reason why I approach this subject again on DGB is that in our office at the family run business, we were given a copy of a quote from a much bigger competitor of ours which highlighted such a practice. Although this was not news, it still gave us a chuckle.

£21k to £6k in two goes

My brother was at the start of the process of quoting for a home owner for a house full of windows. During the demo, which was our usual laid back approach, the home owner felt inclined to show us some paperwork left by the previous company which they had out also.

On this paperwork, it clearly showed a starting price of £21,000 for a typical semi-detached house worth of windows. However further down the page it then showed what they called was the “list price” which then brought the price down to a mere £17,000. But they weren’t done yet. Throw in the “family and friends” discount, and the price then plummeted to just £6000.

As it happens, this particular client has signed up with us. They weren’t hoodwinked by these ridiculous swings in price, as most people aren’t. But my biggest problem with practices like this is that the sales person and company dropping prices like that also lose their credibility. It becomes a joke. Almost like the DFS sofa adverts. Everyone knows that their sales always end on a Sunday then start again on the Monday. They don’t mean anything anymore, and the same can be said for the window industry.

As for the company in question, you know the one…

What if there was an investigation?

We all know that this shouldn’t go on in a modern fenestration industry. We all know this is a tactic that should be dead and buried for the good of us all. But that’s not going to happen.

I do wonder however what would happen if some of the biggest companies in our industry were suddenly investigated. There are plenty of other industries in the spotlight at the moment and have had investigations of their businesses practices. I would put a fairly solid bet that they would find something worthy of a fine or worse.

Whenever I write about this subject I sometimes find myself thinking that as a sales person, would I really want companies to stop using hard sell tactics? At our business we only use the laid back, informative approach. No pressure. No hard sell. It leaves the clients we see in a much better mood and opinion of us, and it makes us stand out in a much better light against the other companies they may have had in who did indeed spend four hours trying to make them buy windows and doors when they didn’t feel comfortable in doing so. If this stopped, there is a chance it could make my job easier.

But that is the selfish point of view, good for our business, not for the industry has a whole. Realistically though this is never going to go away. Not whilst the biggest companies continue to teach their sales staff that this is the way windows and doors need to be sold to people. It’s the managers and those in positions of power at fault here. I feel sorry for the sales staff in a way. Selling like this can be miserable and demoralizing. I know I wouldn’t want to do it.

As always, your thoughts are welcome via the comments section below. And don’t forget to subscribe to get your weekly DGB email update every Thursday morning!

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