Vector for Conservatories and Orangeries

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.


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

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”

Windowlink get fit for the third year running



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!”

Click here for more information on our products



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.

Click here for more information on our Solid Roof Extension product


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.

Click here for more information on our products

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 on house1

“Solid Roof System”

Real Roof 2

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

Click here for more information on our products 




The future of I.T

The use of Information Technology (I.T) in the Glazing and Fenestration Industry is changing rapidly.  After decades of businesses perceiving software as a necessary evil or an expensive luxury, the organisations coming out most strongly in the industry these days, are those who have embraced software in all areas of their business.

While cross-platform software is still relatively rare in the window, door and conservatory markets, the desire by sales-people, surveyors and others who work away from the office, to use software on any number of different devices is one which is driving Windowlink’s planned future development.


For many manufacturers and installers the ‘Holy Grail’ in software is the ‘Fully Integrated System’.  As we move into the second half of 2015 this may seem as unlikely a proposition as a fully integrated transport system, but exciting developments are in the pipeline.  “Focus” (for windows and doors) and “Vector” (for conservatories, orangeries and solid roof extensions) software already spans the process from the lead through to manufacture, and we aim to bring surveying, ordering, stores, fitting and post installation care into the loop.

Click here for more information on our products