Well, the holidays are behind us. Feeling refreshed and renewed, it’s time to get back at it and hit the streets hard!

The first thing to start with is sales training. January is typically the slowest month of the year in the fenestration industry. However, spring will be here before we know it, so now is an excellent time to get the sales troops together for training. Even the most seasoned sales veterans need training to stay on top of their game. This is a dynamic industry so ongoing sales training is essential to make sure that your sales team is on top of their game. Keep in mind these four key areas when you set up the sales training agenda.

No. 1: Technology

The state of the art is constantly evolving. What new low-E coatings are now available to further improve window performance? What are fourth surface low-E coatings? How do they boost performance and what are the potential drawbacks? What is new in terms of profile design? How do new profile designs impact overall thermal and structural performance? How do these new glazing designs accommodate thicker glazing capacities, which in-turn opens up new possibilities for insulating glass performance? How are impact glass and sound control evolving?  How much better can it all possibly get?

No. 2: Codes and Regulations

Codes and requirements are changing. What will be the potential impact of an Energy Star 7.0 Version for windows, doors and skylights? Is it possible that recent developments in energy codes and other product specifications may surpass the specification levels outlined by Energy Star? If so, what does this mean for the future of Energy Star? Will it lose its significance? Or is it so far ingrained in the market that it will remain a key benchmark?

No. 3: To Whom You’re Selling

The demographics of who we are selling to are changing. LivingFacts defines our six generations as the Greatest Generation, the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. Which of these generations are most likely to be in the market for new windows? What makes each generation tick and how do we use this knowledge to connect with each of them thereby increasing our chances of selling them doors and windows?

No. 4: Competition

Our competition changes and evolves. What is new with our closest competitors? How are they adapting and evolving in the marketplace and how does this affect our chances of becoming more favorable in the eyes of our prospective customers?

Notice the phrase “in the eyes of.” Yes, when it comes to getting the sale, perception becomes reality. It may not matter how good your product actually is as compared to a competitor’s, but rather how the prospective customer perceives it to be. In the end, once the sale is made the game is over.

One thing that I must stress here is the importance of providing your sales team with competitive test data. This is often overlooked by many companies because it costs money. But imagine if you were fighting a war and your soldiers ran out of ammo. There are no words that a commanding officer could say to the front lines to convince them to charge forward if you’re out of ammo. It’s game over. If you have competitive data, especially data generated by an independent test lab that shows your products are superior to the competition, then your troops have ammo. This can make all the difference when it comes to changing perception and closing the sale. It can also make all the difference in building motivation and morale among your sales team as they will come to believe that you have their backs. Proof is power and it cannot be underestimated. Arm your troops!

I believe your actual sales training sessions should be two days at most. Too much information will not be absorbed. Mix it up with some extracurricular activities which foster bonding among salespeople themselves as well as between salespeople and management. Relationships like these foster synergisms. Ideas are exchanged and bridges are built. These relationships will last a lifetime and can also help build loyalty to the corporation.

So, get this training done while the snow is falling, and construction activity is at a low point. Get the marketing team in gear to sign up for the spring home and garden shows. Get the showroom updated. Crank out first-rate window samples and other sales aids that show your door and window products at their very best and are also easy to carry into “battle.”

It’s a new year and a new decade. Sprint out of the gate and have a fantastic 2020!

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