Selling without home visits
Christopher Brunsdon, founder and CEO of Tommy Trinder, argues that 2020 is the year that selling double glazing changed for ever.
My son Billy (aged 16½) opened his first bank account this week. Did he make an appointment with his local branch? Get on the bus to town? Queue up to see an advisor? No. He went to the App Store, downloaded an app and clicked on ‘video banking’.
When it was his turn, he was automatically connected to a video banker who proceeded to sign him up to the joys of a lifetime of banking with Barclays.
2020 is the year that selling changed. And if you think the double-glazing industry is immune, think again: the days of face-to-face selling are numbered.
The drivers have been with us for some time. Sales reps have long been a big cost for the installer, sometimes offer questionable customer service (particularly in triaging from sales to survey), and are in scarce supply as double-glazing salesmen get older and aren’t replaced.
Remote selling is in tune with the way customers want to shop. There is abundant resource available to train to do the job (typically ex-retail with modern customer service ethos) and it’s significantly cheaper; two video salespeople for the price of one commissioned salesperson on the road.
But the elephant in the room is the climate crisis. Much as we may think the pandemic is the biggest global threat, that will pass. Then climate will re-occupy centre stage and dominate the decade.
Selling remotely is carbon neutral. And driving, unnecessarily, point to point to effect tasks that could be done just as well online will fast become morally dubious in the public imagination. This will happen quickly; think plastic packaging, eating meat etc. Environmentally we can only justify one visit pre-install: to check the sizes and sign off on the order.
One reason that it won’t just flip back to normal post-Covid is that market leading installers know that lockdown or no lockdown selling without a home visit makes business sense. It saves time and money and many customers prefer it. The go-getters in our industry have used 2020 to master the skills of selling remotely and are not about to look back.
Activity on our Framepoint app tells the story. When the first lockdown came, like most businesses we wondered what was going to happen next. Then sales and activity rocketed. Faced with the prospect of no longer being able to conduct home visits, installers turned to Framepoint as their ‘virtual showroom’; hooking up, sharing screens, carrying out sales demos remotely and taking orders without an initial home visit.
Volumes of quotes and makeovers on Framepoint surged through spring and summer. In February less than £6 million of quotes were done on the system, by June we were running north of £28 million per month.
Mark Ramsey, Framepoint subscriber and MD of Kestrel Home Improvements, said: “During lockdown Framepoint allowed us to embrace remote selling and keep building our pipeline; video conferencing and screen sharing to use the app with homeowners.
“Homeowners have reacted in a very positive way. When a potential customer makes an enquiry, we ask them to provide images of their home and we then ‘make over’ their property live online. It never fails to impress. Remote selling has proved very successful, and the enquiries keep coming in. There will always be customers who prefer face-to-face interaction, but as Covid eases, we plan to continue with remote selling in the long-term. It’s gone so well, and many customers prefer it.”
If you haven’t tried selling without a home visit already, in 2021 we’d invite you to give it a go. Share screens, free sketch your PVCU, timber and aluminium products with your client in real time and see them rendered in full photo-realistic glory. Touch, tap and share the results of colour changes, hardware choices, bar selections. Overlay your designs onto your client’s home live and wait for the ooohhs and ahhhhs. When you’re done, transfer beautiful quotes by email in a click. And, most importantly of course, take the order.
Tommy Trinder offer a free guide to ‘Selling Without Home Visits’. Download your copy at www.tommytrinder.com/remote-selling