Secret Shopper October 2019July 19th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs
For Brand’s Sake: An Indianapolis Dealer Goes the Extra Mile for No Sale
Part of being a great salesperson includes acting as a brand ambassador—sometimes even when a sale isn’t at stake. Taking the time to give every customer your full attention and singing the praises of your company’s brands—even among customers you know aren’t going to buy anything—may not fill a sales sheet, but they can pay long-term dividends. Andy Gugle (pronounced, “Just like the website,” he says) at Carter-Lee Lumber Co./Pro-Build in Indianapolis proved he understands the importance of this concept for both his company and its suppliers.
We walked into the company’s sales office intending to peruse windows from Marvin’s Modern series, but our visit got off to a slow start. We entered into a showroom for decking and doors, where the adjacent sales desks were clogged with pro customers. Behind them was a vast room filled with associates at desks—all of whom looked busy and/or were on the phone. After about 5-10 minutes of lingering, opening and closing doors, and fishing for attention, we finally noticed what looked like an additional showroom at the opposite end of the building. Could it be windows?
Crossing the sales floor felt a bit uncomfortable—like we might be passing through an area that was only for employees—so we paused to speak with the first employee we found who wasn’t on the phone. They assured us we were heading in the right direction.
When we reached the window showroom, we found it was well stocked, with plenty of Andersen, Jeld-Wen and Marvin products—so many that it felt a bit like a packed maze. The setup also blocked our line of sight with two adjacent sales desks. After several minutes, we made our way over to the counter, where Ann greeted us with a smile, asking how she could be of assistance. It was an instant turnaround for a shopping experience that only got better.
We asked if the company had any windows from the Modern series that we could have a look at, but Ann seemed puzzled by our question. She turned to Andy for input. He chimed in and explained that it was a new line of products and one that hadn’t made its way to every dealer yet, then inquired what made us interested in that particular series.
We explained that we were from out of town—openly admitting that we weren’t there to buy anything—wondering if this might diminish his eagerness to help. It didn’t. Instead, he came back to us with more questions, before suggested that he show us Marvin’s Ultimate Casement instead.
Even knowing that it would never result in a sale, Andy spent a considerable amount of time with us, going over product features, including a detailed overview of specs. He offered to provide us with product brochures and other literature. Even when we offered to step aside, so he could get back to paying customers, he insisted that we allow him to draw up a quote, giving us an idea for what the product might cost.
“I hate to do that, being an out-of-towner who isn’t buying anything,” we said.
“No, no. I’m happy to do it,” he insisted. “Let’s get you a price and some specifications to take home with you.” He couldn’t guarantee that the same figure would be accurate at another dealer and in other areas, he said, but it would give us an idea.
In the process, he took the time to look up and explain the various code requirements for our home zip code and suggested performance ratings he felt were important to our climate region.
He covered all of the finish options and configured the window to our specifications, immediately delivering a quote.
Wrapping up the experience, Andy took the time to plug each of his company’s brands—explaining that Andersen, Jeld-Wen and Marvin all make great windows, giving us a rundown of the strong points for each brand. He then gave us his card, insisting that he’d be available to answer any additional questions that we might have.
“I really appreciate you taking the time to do all of this, especially under the circumstances,” we said.
“Oh it was my pleasure,” he said. “That’s just what we do.”
If by “we” it was Carter-Lee Lumber he referred to, he couldn’t have written a better brand statement for his company. All he had to sell us that day was an experience. That he did with flying colors.
To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.