Published On: Tue, Nov 11th, 2014

Major retailers reassess their sales methodology

jjcIt is no coincidence that over the last few months two of the UK’s most prominent window retailers have reassessed their sales methodology. First, Safestyle, on the back of an impressive first half profits rise of 13%, gave insight into the change of their lead generation sources. Backed up by an expansion into the South, Safestyle reported that leads from media and online marketing grew 12% to 27,762. This was welcome news for CEO Steve Birmingham who pointed out that traditionally the company has always had door canvassers as a route to market, which is ‘quite expensive’, and that ‘online is a cheaper way to get enquiries’. The results are encouraging, with the number of frames installed rising 8% to 136,518 and unit sales price up 1.5% to £503. Joining Safestyle in its quest for a different approach to sales is Everest. The company has launched its own Sales Academy as it strives to increase the respect and value of its sales consultants. This includes adopting a model to fully employ its sales managers as opposed to the self-employed status that was the previous model.

This change in sales strategy is a clear indication that the nationals mean business, and more importantly, realise there is still plenty of money to be made from double glazing. The Government is also another dominant player that acknowledges the potential of the glazing sector. The commitment of another £100m to the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, with specific reference to double-glazing, is significant. Within the small print there is apparently a mention of plans for families to receive £100 off their council tax if they make their home more energy efficient. I have long said that if this happens, the bulk of homeowners will start to seriously look at the Green Deal and ways to improve the energy efficiency of their home.

The window industry is still dominated by independent installers and retailers and I believe the actions of the nationals reveal the growing optimism that has returned to the sector. Trade fabricators and finished product manufacturers are supplying even better products into the market, backed up by fantastic quality, service and price. I’m not in agreement with Safestyle’s CEO who believes ‘the industry generally has become more regulated and that regulation is burdensome for one man bands and smaller businesses – they might be finding other things to do’. The installers and retailers I speak to are seeing sales returning to pre-recession levels and at reasonable prices. Many, backed by a decent trade supplier, are not hindered by regulations; they just see them as part and parcel of running a professional business.