New sales academy

Pennine Home Improvements has invested more than £150,000 in a new training academy for its staff.

The company, which operates showrooms in Durham and Newcastle, is looking to build on a record year that brought in £10 million of orders by taking a different approach to selling.

The launch of the Pennine Way Sales Academy is a new way of dealing with customers and will look to create employees that are focused on listening and having conversations that deliver real value to the homeowner, the company said.

Salespeople are now employed directly by the company and will all complete a 14-module course that covers product knowledge, Building Regulations, codes of conduct, softer selling skills, and how to use digital tools to provide an enhanced customer experience.

This syllabus, which has been designed by experienced people at Pennine Home Improvements and parent company the Conservatory Outlook, will create experts that can guide the client through the home improvement journey and help bring their visions to life.

“Covid has been a very difficult period, but it has taught us many different lessons, some of which gave us food for thought on how we could deliver even better levels of service,” Jonathan Young, managing director of Pennine Home Improvements, said

“We had switched the sales process from face-to-face to virtual, carrying out initial consultations by video call and using our own specially designed app to bring the homeowner’s vision into reality. Despite not having the showrooms for a long period of time, we still managed to break our record order intake.

“This gave us the confidence to press the button on the Pennine Way Sales Academy, a new way of selling that could transform our sector forever.

“The emphasis is on creating salespeople who take an even greater consultative approach, have excellent product knowledge and are employed by us from the start, meaning we have the best possible chance of nurturing talent, and they have access to excellent training and mentoring from experienced staff.”

Six members of staff have been recruited and are completing the 14 modules, with one of the newcomers using their initial knowledge and training to secure a £40,000 sale for a major living space extension.

Many of the firm’s products are exclusive, including the Extreme collection of PVCU windows and doors, and its Envisage flush casement window range.