Harry works for a FENSA Approved installation company. He's on a mission to help professionalise installers and protect homeowners across the UK, so he started this advice column.
I thought I might give my account of what a day is like in the world of double glazing.
Some background information first about the company I work for; we are a small family run business based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. We will have been in business for 30 years by January 2011. There are three of us that are involved in the selling side of the business.
Im a fully self employed salesman. This means simply that I have no basic, and Im paid on what I sell, so its all purely based on results. Being self employed comes with the perk that I can arrive to work as and when I want, though I do get into the office at 9am every morning, despite having flexible hours! It does also mean I work damn hard for my money. The spectre of not being paid is one I do not like hanging over my head!
First thing for me is to check the diary for leads. I need to know where Im going so I can plan the rest of the day around my appointments. During the busier spring and summer periods we can expect to have at least 2 leads a day each. It can be more sometimes due to others being away on holiday for example.
Once I know what leads Ive got its straight upstairs to get the showroom open. The outdoor conservatory show site is usually opened up by the time Im there. A quick sweep round to see if anything needs adjusting by the service engineer and if there are any bulbs that need replacing. Then its tea and breakfast time!
The way the leads pan out mean we usually have a mid to late morning appointment, and then one in the afternoon. So the hours in between are filled by catching up on paperwork for quotations for clients youve seen previously. If Im lucky enough to get caught up and I have a bit of spare time I get myself out of the office and on-site. If a customer is kind enough to give you an order, I always think its nice of the sales person to go out occasionally and show some interest in the job while its going through the fitting process. I try and do this as often as time will allow me. Its fantastic PR, but its also helped my fitting knowledge massively. Without going out on site I wouldnt know 10% of what I do now.
Anywhere between 12-2pm is lunch. It can vary like this depending what time leads have been booked on for you. It can also leave you feeling light headed and starving if you have a 12:30pm and you dont get back for a couple of hours and youve not had time to eat.
All the above is assuming you have a quiet day in the office. We are a showroom also. This means we get people regularly coming through the doors wanting to see what we have to offer. So depending who is in and whos turn it is we give demonstrations of what we sell. These can range from anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour depending on what the customer wants and how much they wish to know. The desired end result is that they arrange for one of us to come see them at their property to give them a quote for the work they want doing. Luckily for us we get plenty of people through the doors and we make plenty of leads to go around all three of us.
So, you can have a day where you get in at 9am, not have time to eat because your doing a showroom demo straight away, then go on your morning lead, and get back by 1pm-ish hungry, hot and bothered!
Because we try and space the appointments out, that usually gives us an hour or two again to get paperwork up to date and quotes ready for delivering. If time allows us, the three sales people try and get together to talk about sales figures, what targets we should be aiming for and reviewing what weve done over the past few weeks and what we can be doing to improve. We arent as regimented as some companies on daily/weekly/monthly meetings. The reason is that both me, by brother and my Dad (the boss) all sell. It means we can talk about work both at home and in the office, so we find no need to set time aside during the working day to talk targets. I understand that most other companies dont have that luxury.
During the busier days I have a sort of flexible routine. During the afternoon I get my quotes ready for delivering, then go on my afternoon lead. After that I go straight from my appointment to hand delivering my quotes. This is something we all do at our company. I feel it gives a much more personal touch. Obviously if weve been out somewhere thats 30-40 miles away we would just put the clients quote in the post! The spring and summer months being the busiest means these are the times I regularly finish anywhere between 7-9pm. You could have 2-4 quotes to deliver in one drop, all miles apart from each other, and you may have to spend some time with each customer going through the quote. I usually get at least one order per night doing this.
Then thats my working day done. The job I do isnt a physically testing one. Not like the fitting side of the job is. But its a mentally tough one. Uncertain wages, constant late finishes, the nature of my job means Im out and about all the time, never really sat down relaxing, always on my feet. Its ultimately quite frantic, and thats what takes it out of you.
However, I love what I do. Im a people person. If your not a people person, then your not right for selling. But I am. And despite the fact that I have no basic wage, I do ok for myself. Ive been doing this for about 4 and a half years, and Ive got better each year. The recession years were tough, but it made me improve and become better.
This is an outline of a typical day for me, other sales people at other companies will have something a little different. Hope you enjoyed reading!
Check that you use a FENSA Approved Installer but also check the following: