Communication is key to sales success

Regional Sales

With advancements in technology, we seem to be communicating across more and more channels – meaning that consumers are better informed about products than ever before.

Howard Hirst, Sales Director for Liniar, discusses what implications this could have for the sales person at the front line.

At Liniar we’re getting more and more enquiries through our website from consumers who have heard all about our product range and would like to be put in touch with an installer.

Obviously this makes us very happy – but it also highlights a potential knowledge gap due to the nature of the supply chain when it comes to finished products.

The challenges of the supply chain

As a systems company, we’ve developed the Liniar uPVC profile from scratch to be highly energy efficient, designing fabricator, installer and consumer friendly features into each of the products in the range.

Our customers are window fabricators, who manufacture the windows and doors to Liniar’s exacting standards, then either install the products themselves, or sell onto trade or installers.

This means that there can be up to four links within the supply chain before the products are sold to the end consumer – who is highly likely to have already carried out his or her own research about what they want to buy.

Knowledge is power

Do you know why one profile is more energy efficient than another? Do you know the Windows Energy Rating or U-values of the products you are selling? Do you know how to achieve even better thermal ratings by asking your fabricator to add enhancements such as the glazing flipper or the thermal dam?

This level of detail may not seem too important at first glance, but when faced with a well-informed customer, if you don’t know the answers to these questions, your credibility could be seriously undermined.

Critically important for installers

Not only is it important for the fabricator to understand the benefits of the window system they manufacture, it’s arguably even more critical for the installer to know, and be able to communicate the unique selling points to customers.

If you’re a fabricator, it may be worth considering how you communicate with installers at the point of purchase. Maybe you could produce flyers or posters, or rely on face-to-face communication by ensuring counter sales staff and even drivers are knowledgeable about the product range.

Not only should you focus on the system features and benefits, but also make sure you emphasise the reasons they should continue to buy from you; from the high quality of your hand-finished products to your impeccable customer service and fast turnaround times.

You could also point installers in the direction of useful resources such as installation guides and videos – as well as ensuring they know about the latest matching products in the range.

Not only will this add value for your trade or installer customers, enhancing your relationship with them, but it will give them a greater potential for cross selling to their customers – resulting in more business for you.
Make it your business to find out

If you’re an installer, you should be pushing your fabricator for this information, as not all window systems are the same. If you can’t find out, turn to online resources and make it your business to educate yourself and your team about the various benefits of the products you supply, including the various colour options and lead times from your supplier.

Most system companies have a website, so make that your starting point. If you have a website of your own, you could also provide a link to the systems house site so consumers can discover the benefits for themselves.

In addition, you could ask the systems company for logos, wording and other resources to help create your own marketing tools – most will be happy to help with this.

Check out social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest and follow the systems company for links to other useful resources and latest news – and subscribe to its YouTube channel so that you’re notified every time a new video is uploaded. You can even embed the videos on your own website if they’re useful to you as sales tools.

Find out what technical support is available, and download guides and brochures to use with customers.

After-sales care

Finally, as an installer, it’s important to provide customers with a lasting reminder of your details so they can get in touch again for any future work they may require – or pass them onto neighbours who’ve admired their new window installation.

Find out what after-sales tools are available – at Liniar we provide a full maintenance and operation guide, product guarantee certificates and even door hangers with useful information for the end user.

Referrals are arguably the most valuable lead source when it comes to marketing. People tend to ask their friends and family before making large purchase decisions – so anything you can do to keep your details to hand and make it easy for them to refer you is going to help with that.

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