We’ve had a damn good year at our place. Not ashamed to say that. And I personally have had my best ever sales year, by a country mile. Myself and my Dad were talking about the reasons why we thought our sales figures were so healthy. Chewing the cud, we came to the conclusion that it was down to the time we spend with home owners styling and creating their new windows and doors, rather than blasting them with technical specs, hard sell tactics and generally boring stuff.

Over the past few years, as our product portfolio has become more diversified as an industry, I have noticed that the things we thought were important to home owners, like the number of locking points, accreditations and so on, have become less important. These days people expect things like high security to come as standard. We know that. You can actually see most people’s eyes start to glaze over when you start talking about PAS24 and Building Regulations.

When we move on to door designs, colours, custom glass spraying and so on, then interests start to peak. Things home owners can visualise and start to choose on their own has become the most important part of the buying process.

We’re all becoming designers

The amount of choice available as an industry now is vast. Diversification has been extreme, and the end result is a plethora of options from manufacturers which has made the decision process for home owners much more exciting and arguably more difficult. This is why as sales people we need to focus on the product and product selection, rather than rush to close a sale.

It’s not just home owners who have the difficulty of narrowing down their choices. We as sales people have to know more and more about the products we’re selling. As more options per product become available, there’s even more to know. And manufacturers are bringing out more and more. This time next year there will be even more to know than there is at this very moment. So we have to know our stuff.

Doors, glazed extensions and full house replacements are projects which require attention to detail and attention to the customer. To rush the sales process and bypass the design process not only risks leaving future complications once the project is installed, but leaves the customer feeling rushed and undersold. You can wave your margin goodbye once you get that quote sorted.

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No time for details? Wave goodby to sales

There have been a large number of contracts that we’ve signed up at our place this year where customers have told us that the reason why they chose us was because we bothered to spend the time with them. We bothered to sit down, show them all the options available and not what we thought they should be having. That we listened to their needs and helped to design their own custom windows and doors down to the finest detail so they get what they want.

Because we do that at our place, we find that we need to do very little conventional “selling”. The good news is that we’re winning contracts and market share from our competitors that don’t bother to do what we do. Most are still positioned to sell on volume, on the night, with high pressure tactics that home owners are growing increasingly tired of. So we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, and they’ll keep doing what they’re doing, and we’ll keep bringing in the contracts and making home owners happy.

In this new evolved fenestration industry, if you do not spend the time on the physical appearance of what you’re selling to home owners, to tailor their needs and produce a project that they can get excited about, you’re going to lose that sale to a company that does, and probably for more money too.

Customer’s tell us that we’re not the cheapest, by some margin sometimes. But, the level of detail they get in their quote and products, the service from us, the end results and the fact that everything they get from us is custom designed, means they want to pay more for what they’re getting.

This is what happens when you sell to a home owner on the back of high quality products and a thorough specification process. Proven results at healthy margins home owners are happy to pay for. In our highly diversified times, more of this, and less of the “salesy” stuff I think is required.

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