Author Archive: windowlink

Selling windows – with or without software

Put bluntly, a salesperson needs just one thing when sitting down with a potential client: confidence.  Confidence in the product, and confidence in the pricing structure in use.  An effective, well thought-out and easy to understand pricing system makes life easier for the salesperson, and engenders trust and confidence in the consumer.  So why do so many retail companies operate from a pricelist ‘borrowed’ years ago from a competitor or former employer?

Printed pricelists are still in use in a surprising number of retail companies, large and small.  These pricelists tend to have several different, and conflicting requirements.  The owner/sales-director wants to know what the profit margin is, but this requires a level of complexity and maintenance difficult to justify, and which may work against the other main requirement – that the pricelist is easy to use.  Over the years window companies have come up with varied solutions.

Windowlink is often called in to set up pricing and presentation software, and we have come across all shapes and sizes of pricelist, from single-page much-simplified efforts, to large and bulging lever-arch files.  Some are based on a ‘cost plus’ basis and, at some point in their history, have probably given an idea of profitability to the management team. Many more are ‘guesstimates’, cobbled together as a few pages, or a single matrix uplifted for coloured foils, varied materials and glazing.  The best to be said is that it is easy to use, and the company seems to be doing okay.

What could possibly go wrong?  The obvious answer: a lot.  Paper pricelists are open to interpretation: it is possible for three sales-people to price a job from the same pricelist and to calculate three very different ‘correct’ prices.  They are inaccurate and have no relationship with actual costs and overheads of a business.

The good news is that pricing and presentation software like Windowlink’s can cope with any method our customers care to throw at it.  Systems can mirror software used by suppliers, ensuring that each frame-cost is correct.  Prices can then be marked-up, or could be a reproduction of the manual pricelist previously used.  What is important is that cost can now be checked against selling prices before the invoices come in.  Alternatively, the pricing could be based on any hybrid method used by the installer.

So, what is the best type of pricelist?  From a software point of view, the ‘right’ method is to take the cost of frames and glass, add fitting costs and an element of overhead recovery, then to add the margin required.  However, your target market will influence where you position your price.  If you present yourself as a top-end, ‘Grand Designs’ kind of company you will present yourself as best in sector, and you may be able to set your price-point independently of competition.  If your target is in the middle or lower part of the market you may need another strategy.

Common pricelist models tend to be either market or competitor-led.  You can base your pricing on what you estimate the market will stand, or you can attempt to match your competitors’ price.  Neither can be claimed to be accurate; neither will tell you your profit margin.  An advantage though is that they can be quicker (and cheaper) to build, and can be modified by simply changing the discount structure.

Many fabricators and trade suppliers now offer versions of their manufacturing software to give accurate costings. This can be helpful, but is of little use to a sales-person on an evening call who needs to give at least a ball-park figure on the night.  These programs are focussed on one element of a wider product range, but are of more use to the supplier than the installer, removing the need to provide quotations on demand, and allowing the installer to order directly through the software.

Presentation, visualisation and pricing software such as Windowlink’s can be set up to reflect an entire product range, costed accurately and regardless of supplier, from PVCu, aluminium, and timber windows through to high-end bi-folding and composite doors.  Set up properly, a software system can act as brochure, pricelist and sales training manual – if it is in the program it can be sold; if not, not.  It gives confidence to the salesperson and client and has been proven to increase sales.

DRAFT111

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Windowlink are getting FIT for the fourth year running

Windowlink are proud to announce they will be exhibiting at the FIT Show 2017 for the fourth year running, which this year has moved to a significantly larger venue.

Operating from stand G46 at the Birmingham NEC industry exhibition, the Gloucestershire-based developer will use a range of technologies to show installers and fabricators how its intuitive software can help them improve conversion rates, up-sell more effectively, and convey trustworthiness and professionalism to their customers.

Windowlink’s software solutions have been specifically designed for windows, doors, conservatories and orangeries, allowing installers to create impressive 3D visualisations of their products in the comfort of the customer’s home. An automatic pricing module provides instant tracking of how much the proposed project will cost – a feature that has greatly improved the relationship and trust between sales people and their prospective clients.

The Fit Show provides Windowlink with an excellent opportunity to connect with others in the industry and establish new business relationships. It also gives existing clients the chance to speak face to face with the ‘Tech Team”, who will be on hand to chat to users about how they can make the most out of their Windowlink Software.

Windowlink’s Managing Director Mark Dudley is looking forward to meeting installers and fabricators of all sizes this year but is keeping quiet about an exciting new development “I won’t say too much about it now, but what I will say is that if you install or fabricate windows, doors or conservatories, you definitely don’t want to miss our Fit Show stand this year”

The Windowlink team look forward to meeting you at their stand G46 in the Birmingham NEC on May 23rd 2017.

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Meet Tony Pepper – Senior Software Installation Engineer

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Tony Pepper has been working at Windowlink for the past 25 years and for the past 3 years in the new offices in Gloucester. His role within the company has evolved over the past 25 years and he is now the Senior Software Installation Engineer.Tony Head shot

Tony has a background in window manufacturing which makes him perfect for the role he is currently working in. He has a good level of understanding with regard to the manufacturing processes involved in window production and can therefore assist window manufacturers in their day to day processes through the use of Windowlink’s software Focus.

Tony has a variety of skills that he brings to his role within Windowlink including Information technology skills, programming, coding and development. When you add these skills to the skills he gained from working within window manufacturing, you can see why Tony is such an asset to the Windowlink team.

For Tony, working within Windowlink is a pleasure, every day is different and the team have great camaraderie. There is plenty of friendly banter around the office and everyone gets on very well.

Tony gets great satisfaction when he has managed to help a company solve a technical issue. He enjoys making the software bespoke to the needs of individual companies and takes great pride in completing jobs to the best of his ability.

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Save time and money with Windowlink’s “Focus” and “Vector”

mark-dudley-windowlink.com

Mark Dudley, MD for Windowlink Ltd

Windowlink’s Managing Director Mark Dudley has been helping retail companies improve their sales conversion rates in the domestic market for over 30 years and in his opinion the three most common mistakes made during the sales pitch to homeowners are high pressure sales tactics, “too-good-to-be-true” discounts, and not hitting the relevant chord with the end consumer.

Our sales presentation and pricing software called “Focus” and “Vector” have been helping hundreds of progressive installers across the UK improve their chances of success in the consumer market whilst selling their windows, doors and conservatories.

Outdated sales techniques like offering huge discounts, pressure selling techniques and a lack of preparation when visiting homeowners are all regarded as unacceptable to the modern and clued up consumer who now value an open and professional conduct from sales people above everything else.

“Vector” and “Focus” give the modern day salespeople the tools they need to deliver a very different kind of sales pitch, which can be regarded as hassle-free and extremely pleasant. Our software turns selling into a joint process, allowing customers to design their own windows, doors, conservatories and orangeries with the salesperson. “Focus” and “Vector” have not been designed to pressurise the homeowner into making a decision on the spot, however they are an extremely powerful sales tool that can help installers across the UK increase their conversion rates.

An instant pricing option can be added to your chosen software and it can be tailored to reflect your exact rates, alongside your personal product portfolio. Our software applications also protect UK companies from the glazing industries typical “sales staff migration”.

The high turnover rate of sales staff within a business can be a very serious setback for UK glazing companies, especially when you consider the amount of time needed to train new staff and get them knowledgeable on your products and prices.

“Focus” and “Vector” can be tailored to display only the products you offer, together with only your colours, hardware, configurations and features. The software eliminates costing mistakes due to the handy instant pricing option and by using our highly perceptive applications, new sales staff do not need to go through lengthy training sessions, which thus saves the company not only time but also money in the long run.

Click here for more information on “Focus” and “Vector”

Could our software be the answer to your time-consuming issues?

A potentially game-changing business solution for fabricators and installers of windows is available from us here at Windowlink.

Could software be the answer to your time-consuming issues?

Leading innovator of window industry software for over 30 years, Windowlink is the only developer to offer a complete package for retail companies with manufacturing operations. Combining production software with its popular design, pricing and presentation modules, Windowlink can offer an end-to-end solution to stimulate sales, simplify the order-to-production cycle, and improve operational efficiencies across their businesses.

MD Mark Dudley explains: “Our popular retail applications, Focus for windows and doors, and Vector for orangeries and conservatories, are used successfully by many installers across the country. With our complete package though, once the sales module generates the order, it will be automatically sent to the shop floor, where our production software is used to manage the manufacturing processes. There is no need to input the information again, there are no additional steps, and no opportunity for errors to occur. It couldn’t be simpler, or more effective.

”Windowlink’s integrated platform can also be implemented within fabricator-installer partnerships in a similar way, to simplify and speed up the ordering process. “We can customise our applications to produce highly accurate quotes,” states Mark. “Our real time pricing and retail quoting/ordering function take into consideration the fabricator’s built-in prices and the installer’s margins, fitting costs, as well as any additional criteria such as the salespeople’s commissions.

“There are many practical benefits to using our solution that generate a chain of positive results and enhanced performances throughout an installer’s business, or a fabricator-retailer relationship. Ultimately, we are helping window companies to grow faster, and in a sustainable manner,” concluded Mark.

Fabricators and installers visiting the FIT Show this April can talk to Windowlink on stand no. 356, where the team will be on hand to demo their innovative business software solutions.

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Windowlink get fit for the third year running

 


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Window Industry Software specialist, Windowlink, will be hitting April 2016’s FIT Show to promote its best-in-class design, sales and pricing applications.

Operating from stand 356 at the Telford industry exhibition, the Gloucestershire-based developer will use laptops and tablets to show installers how its intuitive software can help them improve conversion rates, up-sell more effectively, and convey trustworthiness and professionalism to end-users.

Windowlink’s main applications, Vector for conservatories and orangeries and Focus for windows and doors, allow installers to create impressive 3D visualisations of their products, enabling homeowners to see exactly what they’re buying. A pricing module allows both installers and end-users to keep track of how much the proposed project will cost – a feature that is dramatically improving the relationship between sales-people and their prospective customers.

“We’ve exhibited at the FIT Show on both previous occasions,” said Windowlink’s MD Mark Dudley. “For us, it’s the perfect opportunity to show off our products – we always find that when installers get to see Vector and Focus in action, they’re very quickly won over by how easy they are to use, and the difference they can make to their sales.”

“Really, what we offer is a versatile, engaging twenty-first century alternative to the traditional sales brochure. We designed our applications to be about ‘showing rather than telling’. Vector and Focus take what would otherwise be a one-sided sales pitch and turn it into a collaboration between the customer and the installer. They immediately bring a sense of trust and transparency to the proceedings – the price of the proposed improvements is always visible, and both parties can work together to design a project that meets the homeowner’s budget.”

“What’s more, they provide abundant opportunities for up-selling. When a consumer can actually see that hardware upgrade, or that more luxurious window or door configuration applied to their own property, it’s much more likely to lead to a sale.”

Windowlink’s stand at the FIT Show  won’t just be about showcasing existing products, however – Mark hints at a number of new innovations set to be unveiled at the three-day event. “We’ve got a few surprises up our sleeve – you’ll have to come and find us at stand 365 in April to find out more, but popcorn and refreshments are a clear definite!”

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Did you know? – Solid Roof Extensions

Now with more tiles and roof systems available.

This week’s installment of “Did you Know?” focuses on solid roofs. Whether you call them garden rooms, solid roofs or even use a brand name like the Guardian™ Warm Roof, you can now illustrate them in our software product “Vector”.Real Roof 2

Since releasing our Solid Roofs enhancement at the Fit Show 2014 we have made several innovations to this add-on. The new Solid Roofs allows you to take your existing styles of conservatory and transform them into a solid roof. This not only gives you a bigger selection of styles, but also makes for a slicker presentation allowing for a seamless transition from a conventional conservatory to solid roof using a simple drop-down menu.

We have also made a few changes that mean it is now possible to add roof vents with the ability of independently changing the colour without affecting the fascia colour as in previous versions. In addition to Tapco® and Metrotile we have added the Envirotile as used by Prefix Systems.

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Seal the deal instantly with Windowlink’s “Digital Signature” facility

TwitterThe Window, Door and Conservatory sector now has a new ally in their quest to speed up their sales processes and increase their revenue, thanks to a game-changing feature introduced by software specialist Windowlink. Your sales team are now able to “Seal the Deal” instantly when pitching windows, doors and conservatories to homeowners.

The market leading design, sales and pricing software modules for installers which has been developed by Windowlink, Focus and Vector, can now be specified with a digital signature facility. This means your sales team could virtually price up, quote and get the order signed, in just one interaction with the homeowner.

To simplify things even further, the programs can email the job file, specification and signed contract directly to the customer, back to your office and to as many contacts as your desire.

Windowlink MD, Mark Dudley, explains: “The digital signature works on any touch screen device that supports the Windows operating system, such as tablets or tablet-computers. Where these devices are not available, external signing pads can be used instead.”

With Focus for Windows and Doors, and Vector for Conservatories and Orangeries, your sales team can design products in any style, colour and configuration, while the pricing is done in real time by the system. Once the product has been agreed on, the software modules can automatically generate a professional quote and/or contract based on the exact measurements and features selected.

“This is when the digital signature facility comes into play,” added Mark. “Rather than returning to the office to print and post the order form to the client, both Vector and Focus now allow for the signature to be collected digitally, using the touch screen device. This accelerates the sales process and helps installers capitalise on the homeowners’ excitement for the purchase.”

Tablet devices have had a major impact on many industries, helping to streamline processes and services, and resulting in significant time and money savings. The Window, Door and Conservatory sector can now further benefit from this technology, thanks to software solutions designed to make selling to their homeowners both painless and effective.

“The impact our software modules have on retail businesses is instantly rewarding. Focus and Vector are powerful tools that help installation companies save time and money and increase sales by creating a trusting relationship with the homeowner – the price is always visible. They also represent the natural step forward – in an era of instant gratification, having to wait for quotes and contracts when deciding to make a purchase can be frustrating and even off putting for the customer, but now installers can capitalise on these modern changes with software solutions created specifically for them,” concluded Mark.

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Focus on Lantern Roofs

Windowlink has enhanced its “Focus” sales, presentation and pricing software for windows and doors, with the addition of a Roof Lantern feature, now enabling installers to seize opportunities in the fast-growing “Glazed Extension” market.

Windowlink’s MD, Mark Dudley, says this development is in direct response to new market trends and customer demand.

According to the latest report from window industry market intelligence supplier, Insight Data, the conservatory market has “reinvented itself driven by a shortage of housing stock and rising house prices, as well as product innovation, which is creating renewed consumer desire.”

“One of these developments is the rise of the integrated, bespoke glazed extensions,” said Mark. “Many of our installer clients currently using “Focus”, the design-to-sell software for windows and doors, have told us they are experiencing strong demand from homeowners investing in extension projects, and have added the innovative Roof Lantern to their portfolio in order to take advantage of this cross-selling opportunity”

Atlas Roof

“The new feature enables companies that offer the increasingly popular glazed roofs to produce life-like designs of the completed project including Windows, Bi-Folds, Patio Doors, French Doors and even including Roof Lantern’s, as part of a fully priced quotation.”

This latest development is available as an addition to Windowlink’s popular sales tool, “Focus”.

The sales team at UK Windows Surrey  has been using “Focus” for the past three years, and have recently opted to add the new Roof Lantern feature, in order to help them promote the product to their homeowners. Sales Director John Small, said: “Focus is a great sales tool, and homeowners are blown away by it. They love engaging with it, selecting their options and seeing the price changing in real time, with every choice they’re making. Thanks to it, our customers don’t argue over the price, so we never have to offer discounts. It is very effective, and I wouldn’t do a quote without it.”

Mark concluded: “Larger renovation projects offer the potential to cross-sell other products, such as glazed roofs, but this is hard to do when installers are limited by a generic sales brochure. With “Focus” installers are able to show homeowners not an ‘aspirational image’, but the exact products they are getting, down to the last detail, as well as how these are going to enhance their property’s aspect and value, and now they can pitch Roof Lanterns in the same, effective way.”

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The Conservatory Market is Changing

More and More Vector customers are looking to the new developments by the leading roof manufacturers.

“Livin Room”

Livin Room Image

 

“Loggia”

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“Solid Roof System”

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“Vector” can reproduce these features, including the sun lounge or “Livin Room”, Loggia from Ultraframe, Pilasters  and even the solid roof systems

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