April 12th 2021. That is the date targetted by the Prime Minister as the earliest possible date at which non-essential retail in England would be allowed to reopen to the public. For fenestration, that means this could be the first opportunity for installers to be able to reopen their showrooms to the general public.

I say “could” as nothing is certain and whilst we do have a roadmap, it is by no means set in stone. Still, its the only date we have to work on so that’s what we should do.

For installers, this isn’t just a day to reopen a showroom, this is the first major sales opportunity of the year.

A date to build upon

Whilst we’re looking at this from an industry perspective, we must also remember that this is another important date for the general public as it marks another step on the path back to freedom to move and interact. Yes there will continue to be masks and social distancing, but people will have the ability finally to visit shops, and in our case, visit glazing showrooms again.

For installers who have showrooms, this really is a golden opportunity to start building now towards what could well be a big sales day. Think of the hype and anticipation installers could be building around that date.

At our place, we have had a number of customers wanting to place orders but want to see the product first before placing an order. Plenty have been happy with virtual appointments or conducting business via email, which is great too. But there are one or two who still want to at least see a product to confirm that they are indeed happy to go ahead. I suspect that is the case for many installers up and down the country. So, there could well be a swell of pent up orders waiting to be placed just as soon as showrooms reopen. Think of the potential installers could tap into.

Yes, there is potential in those who have had quotes however want to wait to see a product, but also from those not yet at quoting stage but who wish to start their home improvement projects soon. Given how high demand remains at the moment I suspect there will be plenty out there itching to get started.

My point here is that installers have a well of potential to tap into right now. Installers need to be using April 12th as that date to be the driver of those sales. Call customers who have yet to decide. Advertise hard the fact that next month showrooms can reopen. Start booking showroom appointments as soon as possible and get that sales pipeline working for you. Push it on social media and other marketing avenues and start to create the buzz and interest now.

There will still be social distancing measures in place, so it can’t be a free for all. Installers would likely need to space out the time between appointments to control foot flow and conduct cleaning each time. But I really do think that first day and indeed that first week, when showrooms can open again, could drive a ton of new sales for installation businesses. And now is the time to start promoting it.

Remain flexible

Whilst many expressed relief at the hearing of the roadmap announced by the PM in February, there also remains a lot of scepticism about whether that timeline will be carried out on time. Given how many twists and turns, delays and additional lockdowns haven taken place during this pandemic, there doesn’t appear to be too many willing to bet on the plan being implemented fully on time.

It is very tempting to cling to these dates as stepping stones to freedom, and I can assure you I am very much looking forward to the day, as soon as we can, where I can enjoy something as simple as having friends over for a BBQ. But I think we also have to remain flexible and prepared for that timeline to be pushed back a bit. We don’t know for certain what lays ahead. The last 12 months have taught us that all too well.

All being well, we make it to April 12th and installers are able to reopen their showrooms to the public and begin another major sales push as companies get one of their most powerful sales tools back.

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