Mark Hanson of Ultraframe looks at how one of its most successful retailers handles marketing.
When I started working at Ultraframe in 1995, High Tech Windows Ltd had already been using Ultraframe’s Classic roof for over a year. Now 15 years later and with 5000 installations under their belt, what can they share with the wider retailing community?
If one was to speak to co-directors Eric Cheshire and John Green one might be surprised to learn that nothing they do is rocket science.
They look after existing customers – 33,000 in total (all on a database). These customers are contacted on an ongoing basis, keeping them informed of all developments – this quite often leads to new enquiries, which account for half of the company’s turnover.
Recommendations are a major source of new business too.
High Tech Windows works hard to generate new business. One particularly useful source of new business comes from their membership of the prestigious Ultra Installer scheme. They were the first to join in 2004 and are now part of a nationwide network of like minded retailers, who are vetted by the BBA, to ensure compliance with the GGF’s Guide to Good Practice, the only national building standard and one that all members must work to.
The last 16 leads generated over the course of the month on the internet for High Tech by the Ultra Installer web site have proven very fruitful, with two confirmed sales for £32000 ( which excluded base work on one job) .High Tech also recently built its first portal framed Ultraframe tiered glazing Orangery, again this was a lead provided by the Ultra Installer web site – the value of this contract was £29,000.
John Green, the director of High Tech with responsibility for sales has a simple philosophy, “In today’s tough trading climate, ALL new enquiries are treated with the utmost respect – I use a simple three step sales process to ensure we don’t waste good leads”.
The three main steps are;
One – All new enquiries receive an immediate personal visit from a member of the sales department, who will deliver relevant brochures and make a firm appointment to discuss alternatives and to offer a quotation.
Two – The First appointment – this will be confirmed in writing. The appointment will then consist of an initial sales presentation to include: -
• Presentation of company and guarantees.
• Product demonstration, window, roof sample, light box.
• Finance presentation.
• Measuring and design issues, using laptop and computer software.
• A site photograph is taken.
• A list of local installation is shown to potential clients.
Three – The second appointment - again always confirmed in writing. The second appointment will consist of: -
• Presentation of prepared computer aided drawings.
• Conservatory image projected on to a previously taken photograph of the house.
• A discussion on all conservatory options and extras.
• Results of all planning enquiries made between the first and second appointments.
• Delivery of the price and anticipated installation dates.
Additional Steps (as and when required) include a showroom visit or the building manager may visit to discuss the execution of a difficult detail.
During the whole process Regional Managers will also be in contact with the potential customer to ensure that all is going well and that expectations are being met.
As one can see, there is no rocket science deployed here, just careful management of a well defined process by two experienced and hands on directors. Lead generation is probably one of a retailers biggest costs, yet it is one that sometimes is left to a commission only sales man, where follow up stats, conversions etc are not properly logged or monitored.
John Green again, “Brand is something that small and medium sized companies think is something for big companies – nothing could be further from the truth. We always try to create customers for life, whom we can return to and sell other valuable products and services to. Moreover, we want these self same customers to go and tell their friends and family what a great job we did – in effect we attempt to make them ambassadors for High Tech Windows, so that when the chips are down and we are up against someone on price, the consumer has no qualms about engaging us, even if we are a little more expensive.”