The last two years have seen many of us become order takers, rather than salespeople. Demand was so strong and overwhelming in many areas that all we had to do was turn up to work and collect the sales as they came in.
We are very much not in the same place in the middle of 2022. We’re facing a market cooling down quickly, a cost-of-living crisis which is pushing families to the edge and inflation that is out of control. Prising money away to pay for new windows is about to get a lot harder.
We’re going to need to learn to sell again.
No more order taking
It’s easy to sell in an up market or during a boom. 2020 and 2021 are years we’ll likely never experience again for decades in terms of volume and demand. It was insane.
I remember getting very used to going into the office, turning up to do appointments and the clients emailing or phoning back a few hours later to give us the order. It sounds arrogant, but we got used to hoovering up five-figure orders with almost little effort. We knew it wouldn’t last forever, but it was one of the few saviours of what was a very difficult period to trade in.
We, as well as most other salespeople, became order takers. We turned up to work, did what was needed, collected the order, then went home. That is no longer the case. The economic outlook has become much worse than in the past two years, with a recession looking almost certain.
Inflation is spiralling and the cost of living is forcing millions of families to reassess their spending decisions. In an environment like this, it’s big-ticket items that are put further down the priority list. New windows and doors, an extension or a conservatory are on that list.
So, we have to move away from the mentality of an order taker to that of a salesperson again. We have to switch modes. Investing thousands in home improvements as pressure grows to cover the basic costs of living is going to become much harder this year and next. Families are going to have to decide what is more important, with bigger investments being put off for the time being.
It means we have to get sharp. Sell based on our USPs and what makes us better than the competition. Sell based on good customer service and high quality. People are going to need more reasons to part with their cash due to the environment we all find ourselves in.
Single huge USP
The backdrop is becoming harder to work against. People with less money rein in spending. We’ve not had this level of inflation in decades, and wages are not keeping up.
One of the biggest drains on disposable income has been the rise in gas and electricity. The energy price cap has already been lifted this year, with another rise to £2400 in October. This is going to sting millions of people just as the weather turns and Christmas around the corner.
So convincing people to part with thousands of pounds looks much more complex now than it was. That being said, our industry has a great opportunity to help ease the burden of heat loss in homes over the longer term.
New energy-efficient windows and doors are one of the most significant home improvements a person can make to their home. It can save hundreds of pounds a year in bills depending on the home and what is being replaced. In the context of rising living costs and the need for millions of homes needing to be retrofitted to help the environment, this is a huge USP we must make the most of.
Positive marketing messages need to be going out from our sector to the public to demonstrate the massive benefits new windows and doors can bring when it comes to saving energy. We need to be pushing this hard now to create the leads that will turn into orders in the weeks and months ahead.
Other sectors do not have the same advantage we have. Boilers, solar panels, heat pumps etc do not have the same level of direct impact new energy-efficient windows and doors do. Our products also have the direct ability to totally change the appearance of a home. The others do not. The fact is our sector has many other USPs than other markets and we need to be making sure we get those points across when it comes to selling to clients.
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