One thing that I have noticed is that as busy as the spring can be in the door and window industry, our industry can and does suffer from Triple S Syndrome, aka the “Summertime Sales Slump.” 

For many door and window companies, summer sales results are not as strong as expected and seem to take a seasonal dip. The reason? Well, the one most often cited is that potential customers are busy taking family vacations and enjoying the nice weather. They are not really worried about replacing windows or starting an addition to the home. They are just glad that the kiddos are out of school so that they can head to a favorite beach house or visit relatives.

So, what are some strategies you can use to counter the Triple S? Doing so could help even out weekly production quotas in the second half of the year, thereby inducing less stress on the workforce, utilizing less overtime pay and potentially improving quality.

Several strategies involve using social media and apps to reach potential customers to offer them a special summertime promotion or fun events to draw them in. One thing is for certain: no matter where potential customers go for vacation, you can count on one thing – they are bringing their smartphones.

So, you can use a combination of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and specific apps to reach potential customers while they are sitting on the patio at Uncle Fred’s place or enjoying the beach. Doing a quick search on my smartphone on Facebook, I brought up FB pages for Gilkey Windows, Rosati Windows, Champion, Universal Windows, Simonton, Kehl, Jeld-Wen, Zen, Andersen,  Milgard, Wincore, Champion, Lindsay, Earthwise, Wallside, Pella, Amsco, Atrium, Vinylmax, Sun Windows, Sunrise, Soft-Lite, Anlin, Vector, MI, Lawson and Excel, Royal Windows and Doors, RAM, Olson, and Vinylbilt. I noticed that in every case, someone I have as a friend on Facebook either works at on one of these companies, has liked their page or has checked in on their page.

‘So, depending upon who your network of friends happens to be, it seems to influence what will appear on your Facebook search for window companies. Some of these pages allow you to initiate a quote right from the FB page, and you can probably receive the quote before you even return from vacation.

Instagram is another excellent way to feature products with stunning visual displays or videos to capture the interest of followers. Doing a quick search of door and window companies posting on Instagram tells me that this forum is currently being underutilized, so this represents a current opportunity to perhaps move ahead of the competition.

But let’s take it further. Does your company have a smartphone app yet? If not, this is something worth considering. Every so often, I look into the Google Play Store to see which door and window companies are offering apps.  This is another avenue that appears to be underutilized. But I do know that one of my customers that is offering an app also happens to be experiencing record sales so far this year. Windowmaker Software also offers an app for measuring your own doors and windows using the camera on your smartphone. This info can be used to get immediate estimates or even quotes on door and window products.

Next comes what are called push notifications for smartphones. What are these? Let me illustrate. If you offer a smartphone app, perhaps you want to invite users of the app into your showroom for free ice cream and pizza on their way back from the beach (the kiddos will be excited). If your prospects agreed to use push notifications when they installed the app, you can send a push notification to their phone if they are driving past your showroom on the way home from the beach saying “stop in for free ice cream and pizza and buy 3 windows – get one free.” How did your app know they were driving past? The answer is geolocation.

What is geolocation? Most people have their smartphones set up to know their exact location, especially if they want to use their phone as a GPS device. So, you can design your app to utilize the geolocation system to know when your prospects are near your showroom and to automatically invite them to come in using the push notifications. 

Now don’t forget the people taking walks or motorcycle rides through the neighborhoods. If you recently installed new doors or windows in that neighborhood, see if you can get the satisfied customers to display your sign in the yard saying “New windows and doors installed by XYZ Windows & Doors.” You can add a picture of a QR code on the sign. The neighbors walking or riding by can take a picture of this QR code with their smartphone and it will take them directly to your website where they can see these products and consider them for their own remodeling projects.

So, what do you do for your special summertime promotion? Well, instead of just cutting price, I recommend adding value. Summertime is also a good time to add value with special promotions that are good only if orders are placed during the summer before a certain cutoff date. One example is “free argon gas with all windows featuring low-E glass.” If you have an automated IG line that automatically fills the argon as the IG unit is sent down the line, this highly efficient method affords you the opportunity to offer such a free upgrade to help boost summer sales with a minimal sacrifice in margin.

Another thing you can do is to partner with leisure companies to set up promotions where the prospects happen to be. Last summer, a group of local businesses in my community sponsored a community block party with free pizza and barbeque. Each business set up a small tabletop display and had product information, giveaways and special summertime promotions as friends and neighbors gathered for free food and entertainment. Several window companies were present at this event, and I saw quite a few interested prospects at their tables.

So where else do prospects hang out during the summer that might represent an opportunity to interact? I have seen home improvement companies sponsoring floats and handing out fliers at the community’s Fourth of July parade. I have also seen door and window companies partnering with local tour guide businesses at a resort hotel offering a free breakfast or a wine and cheese-tasting party to introduce hotel guests to windows alongside various tours and events, some of which are awarded as prizes for attending. Sound crazy? Maybe – but it works.

So, in order to combat the Triple S Syndrome, use these tactics to either draw in prospects to your website and your showroom or go to where their summertime activities are taking them and offer them special promotions for ordering sooner as opposed to later. A sale that is definitely booked today is worth more than a potential sale that may perhaps be booked tomorrow, so these aggressive marketing tactics can really pay off.

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