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June 28, 2018
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YOUR PROFITS
A Customer Focus: Three tips for keeping customers at the center of the sale

By Katie Gregg, WDDA

Customers today are more savvy than ever. Long before they've reached you, they have read reviews, talked to friends and neighbors, perused design-inspiration websites and searched the internet for brand data. In an era where endless information is at customers' fingertips, how do you stand out?

It might just come down to the art of your sale. We've all been on the receiving end of a hard sale where it is immediately apparent that the salesperson values their quota over our best interests. And it doesn't feel good.

One member of the Window & Door Dealers Alliance, Craig Patchin, president of Window Design Center, wisely notes that, "customers don't want to be sold to, they want to be interacted with." Although fundamental, the following tips are best practices we hear from WDDA members like Patchin over and over again. They can help your sales team build customer relationships and, in turn, increase long-term revenue growth.

Listen and understand
Take a sincere interest in your customer. In addition to their budget, find out their challenges, aesthetic preferences, and how they live around and use your product. This enables you to deliver the product that they will be most satisfied with and may even provide you an opportunity for an upsell.

Educate
With customers so well-informed, how do you cut through the clutter? Of course you need to know your value-proposition, but also know your competitors'. Be honest about your strengths and even your weaknesses. Consider giving customers a list of questions to ask as they shop around, demonstrating that you are an industry resource and that you are confident in how your product measures up. At the end of the day, give customers the information and the power to decide what's right for them.

Cultivate customer relations
It is imperative that dealers capitalize on each stage of the customer relationship lifecycle—from attention and acquisition to retention and growth. Continually cultivating relationships makes each customer feel like a VIP. A positive interaction with your business, whether it leads to a sale or not, will pay off with either a return visit or a positive recommendation or review. Word-of-mouth marketing is worth far more than the investment it takes to maintain the relationship.

These customer relationship building blocks are often only given a cursory glance on the way to closing a deal. In an industry where customers are the lifeblood of business, a reminder that close relationships close deals is always welcome.


Katie Gregg is Associate Director, WDDA Industry & Member Engagement. Feel free to contact her at kgregg@glass.org.


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