Will Penguin Story Have an Impact?
February 16, 2011
News emerged recently that Penguin Windows, one of the largest home improvement companies in the country and a past Window & Door Dealer of the Year, swiftly and unexpectedly closed down its corporate headquarters and drastically downsized its operations. A company official attributed the move to market weakness, according to at least one local press report, but it's hard not to think the legal issues the company faced were at least a contributing factor.
Last year, Penguin settled a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General's Office. Penguin had been accused of misrepresenting its products, making false claims about the energy savings customers would achieve, and misleading consumers into thinking that the in-home appointments they set up with Penguin were something other than sales calls. While the company admitted no wrong-doing, it agreed to tone down its marketing approach.
Years ago, when I interviewed company executives for the Dealer of the Year profile, Penguin was described as aggressive in its sales approach, but the leadership asserted that cost-conscious customers benefitted from its high-volume business model and systematic approach to installation. Whether you agree with Penguin's aggressive sales approach or not, do you think the company's story will have an impact on how other window and door dealers decide to go to market? Will some companies back off from more aggressive sales tactics?
Please take a moment to vote in my poll this week and let me know if you're changing your ways or if you think other dealers are. Are changes driven by legal concerns or do other methods simply work better with homeowners today? Post a comment or send me an email if you'd like to share what you're seeing.
Survey Results as of 02/21/2011:
Are legal suits targeting aggressive sales tactics having an impact on home improvement dealers' marketing strategies?
Not yet, but they probably will.
The results are split this week, and I think that this topic is, indeed, one that will divide a room. As the reader below points out, high-pressure sales tactics can have a significant impact on consumers. In all the years I've been meeting with window and door dealers, I've never run across a single company that was excited to walk into a home after a competitor's aggressive sales pitch to be greeted by wary and skittish homeowners. I guess time will tell whether dealers will alter their marketing approaches, and the extent to which consumers will continue to tolerate such tactics.