“Si vis pacem, para bellum” is a Latin adage translated as, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” Well, when it comes to selling doors and windows, if you want to increase both profit and market share, you must also prepare for war.

The market is getting increasingly competitive, and with the Internet at their disposal, consumers are more educated and savvy than ever before—and so is the competition. With the spring selling season about to kick off, it’s time to prepare our salespeople for battle.

Sharpen Your Sales

Start training the troops and sharpening their swords specifically for the window arena. Many only have one big sales meeting at the beginning or the end of the year, usually in a resort area, and it’s treated as a reward rather than a real preparation meeting. At the other end of the spectrum, there are companies that hold weekly sales meetings in order to prepare the sales group for each week in advance, and to sharpen and hone their sales skills and tactics.

During these weekly meetings, the sales group compares notes about what sales tactics worked and which ones failed. They talk about recent moves the competition is making and how to counter them. What are the customers’ reactions to new products or new product features that the company’s rolling out? What effect is the economy or utility rates having on customer buying preferences? These are the type of sales meetings that really count and will help your company win battles.

Sell Them Financing

What type of financing options are getting the customers to say yes instead of maybe? Financing is a key element of closing the sale that a customer may never mention. It’s one thing for a potential customer to fail to mention financing, but it’s a huge mistake for the salesperson to forget about it. Many customers want to make the purchase, but haven’t thought about the value that financing offers them, such as enabling them to leverage their available cash flow. Or some may feel embarrassed to ask about financing. They’ll remain interested in your products and will say they need to think more about the purchase. “I’ll get back to you!” Then, as they think more about it, their mind presents other options when it comes to how to spend their money.

Remember, unless a customer has unlimited funds, when you are selling windows you’re competing not only with other window companies but also with all of the other ways that a potential customer could possibly spend his or her money. This includes new cars, boats, jet skis and even vacations. You want the customer to choose new doors and windows instead. Financing can help make that decision easy.

Energy Savings Struggle

One of the key changes in the marketplace to prepare for is the discussion of energy savings. It’s true that energy-efficient framing systems, low-E glass, warm-edge spacer systems and argon gas fills improve energy efficiency; however, given the recent trend in utility rates due to falling oil and gas prices, homeowners may not feel as pressed to choose the higher-end options you offer. They may not feel as strongly that a decent payback on their higher investment will be realized. Quite frankly, the salesperson may also have a tough time proving a quick payback.

Everyone Likes Comfort

Then comes comfort to the rescue. Comfort and safety are great selling features that should never be ignored. No one likes to sit next to a drafty window on a beautiful winter day. And no one likes a damp window that is sweating due to poor condensation resistance. Condensation formation not only blocks one’s view but it can also lead to development of unsightly and unhealthy mold. No one feels comfortable when this happens.

Never forget to sell the value of comfort. Some of the most expensive cars with the worst gas mileage are sold every day simply because they’re the most comfortable and safe to drive.

Stress Safety, Sound

Safety is also a great selling feature. If you offer auto-closing or stronger locking mechanisms, don’t forget to sell the fact that they can deter burglary. If you offer laminated glass, sell this as a burglary deterrent as well. And don’t forget to sound off about sound control. Laminated glass is getting more popular than ever. Not only does it offer many safety benefits but it can also significantly deter sound transmission. No one likes to hear barking dogs and screaming neighbors, let alone planes, trains and automobiles. At the end of a tough day, silence can be golden.

So, get the troops together and get them fired up to go out and fight the battle. Better weapons in the form of features and benefits combined with smarter, more educated troops will win the war. Sales training is not an area to skimp on. Preparation means everything and will improve your chances for victory in the sales and marketing arena greatly.

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