With the new construction market being hampered due to high interest rates, our industry will be leaning heavier on the remodeling and replacement (R&R) segment of the market to help us achieve decent sales growth this year. With many companies choosing to limit their Energy Star rated products or to drop out of the Energy Star program altogether, it becomes more important now than ever to do a refresh of your sales strategies and tactics. So, if you have not done so already, now is the time of year to get your sales team together for training.

Sales meetings represent a great opportunity to bring your industry veterans together, along with the newbies, to exchange ideas and tactics. Bringing both the new guys together with the veterans accomplishes two things. First, the new guys on the team add a fresh perspective and ask questions or challenge practices and/or policies that perhaps nobody has ever asked. This can lead to healthy discussion and possible changes in sales policies and tactics that perhaps would not have taken place otherwise. Secondly, the veterans are masters of the “tried and true” sales techniques, and they can convey these valuable sales tactics to the new guys. In fact, one or two of your most experienced sales veterans should be called upon to do presentations with the sales manager acting as the orchestrator.

It is often nice to choose a fun place as the venue to make the sales meeting more enjoyable for all, but do not overlook the value of holding at least one meeting nearby your door and window factory, if possible. Indeed, showing your salespeople how your window is made is a great learning experience for them. Walk them through the complete manufacturing operation every step of the way. Show the men and women who will be selling your products the special manufacturing processes and specialized equipment that your door and window company has invested in to make a difference. When they are out on a sales call talking to prospective customers, knowing first-hand how the window is made and understanding the investment that the company has made in modern equipment can make a huge difference in how they come across to prospective customers. This native knowledge of the company’s commitment to quality and workmanship comes through as passion in the presentation. Prospective customers can pick up on the salesperson’s sincerity versus someone who seems to be just going through the motions.

If your company uses automated machinery that reduces the number of manufacturing steps necessary to manufacture doors and windows, then this is something that should be mentioned in the sales pitch. The fewer the number of manual steps required to make a product, then the lower the likelihood of imparting variability into the production process. Describing to your prospects how your company has invested in automated machinery to increase both manufacturing efficiency and improve overall quality is an effective way to let your customers realize that they are getting more value for their dollar.

Now a great resource to draw upon when it comes to educating your sales staff is your material and component vendors. Many of your vendors will be happy to meet with your sales staff to educate them on the added features and benefits that their components bring to the table. The extrusion supplier will have information on energy and structural ratings versus competitive designs. The glass supplier can speak to the energy savings gained from low-E coatings and how these coatings also help reduce fading of carpets, drapes or even artwork, due to the reduced transmission of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. They can also address creature comforts, such as reduction of drafts that are due to cold glass surfaces. Warm edge spacer suppliers can talk not only about reduction in U-values, but also improved condensation resistance during the cold winter months. And finally, hardware suppliers love to talk about how their designs offer improved ergonomics and safety while helping to meet egress codes. This interaction is also vital to the vendors as well, as they can gain valuable insights from your salespeople about what future components would be welcome additions to the door and window industry. So, it’s a two-way street.

Lastly, do not go cheap when it comes to arming your salespeople with the best sales aids. Window samples and sales presentation kits are expensive but are invaluable tools for your salespeople. Arm them with the best tools to get the job done. I am sometimes horrified when I see window sales samples displaying less than the best workmanship. These samples should show your product at its very best and not look like they were made in a hurry at the end of a shift. Any prospect will assume that a door or window sample is an example of your very best. If your “best” looks bad, then what will they assume about their chances of getting well-made windows from regular production?

With the emergence of Energy Star 7, only one of five windows will be displaying the Energy Star label. So, it’s more important now than ever to fully train the sales group on how to sell all the features and benefits that your doors and windows bring to the table. Energy efficiency is only one.

So set up a sales meeting and set it in motion!

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