Are Your Customers Too Busy?

Christina Lewellen
August 22, 2011
THE TALK...
A recent blog from the Wall Street Journal hit close to home for me. The writer is asking readers whether they too suffer from what she calls her “home improvement inertia.” I think many of us fall into this category depending on how busy life seems to be at the moment. I will admit that it recently took a home alarm company three visits to my house to catch me at a good time (a persistent salesperson with a patient personality kept me inviting him to try again), and I’ve been telling my husband for almost a year that we should replace our front door or consider a storm door so I can see our kids when they’re playing in the driveway.
This made me think of the window and door industry, and whether it’s increasingly difficult to get your customers (or potential customers) their own “inertia” to make time for you? Regardless of whether you’re a manufacturer, supplier or retailer, is it tricky to carve out time in your customers’ schedules to present your newest products or special deals? Has it gotten worse with the economic slowdown? That’s our poll question for this week.
Please take a moment to post a comment or send me an email to share your experiences. Are your customers pulled in more directions in recent years? Is “home improvement inertia”—or perhaps “supplier change inertia” for those of you on the manufacturing side of things—on the rise as we’re all trying to squeeze more productivity into a standard day?
 

Survey Results as of 08/30/2011 :

 

Getting customers to make time for the sales process is:

Noticeably more difficult in recent years

  

 

71%

Somewhat more difficult, but overcome with persistence

  

 

17%

About the same as it was 5-10 years ago

  

 

11%

Easier, believe it or not (and tell us why!)

  

 

1%

We have a significant majority this week indicating that it's tricky to get the attention of would-be buyers. I appreciate the comments below, and the authors point out that companies have had to build more flexibility into their business plans (longer hours, for example) to work around crazed consumers.

I'll add one additional thought from an industry rep who shot me an email this week. He contends that the financing hurdle also makes many consumers slow to move on home improvement projects. He writes:

"People spend money either when they have excess cash on hand that they don't need for something more pressing, or are willing to take on debt because they are confident that the benefits of the purchase outweigh the financial implications of the debt, and they have a reasonable expectation of being able to handle the debt in their future personal budgets."

So between the issues that homeowners are often time crunched and overburdened with other priorities, we also sandwich in the fact that it may take a considerable amount of planning and effort to secure the necessary funds for a project. I would say that this certainly makes it more complicated to nail down would-be customers.

So I suppose I should go see about figuring out my front door situation...

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at clewellen@glass.org.

Comments

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Panic Attack Treatment

Two Title explanations "Tire Kickers" and "Window Shoppers" period!

More customers do not want to take the time to come in to the showroom.

Some communication is adequate by phone and we are utilizing e-mail for most information conveyance.

We provide free consulation and measurement at the customer's home and this helps get the projects going with preliminary quotes.  But, customer's really need to see the products to understand the differences between the offerings and the additional value by choosing upgraded items.  We often schedule appointments after normal hours so our customer's can come to us at their convenience.

 

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