Last fall Chris Bowling, owner of HomeWorks Central in the Quad Cities of Illinois, got hit hard by the loss of his two principal window suppliers, Kensington and Schuco. Needing a new supplier, he by chance learned of a new “dealer” opportunity that was just launching: EnviroView.
The timing could not have been better. Not only did Bowling successfully replace his window line with a solid new line from Associated Materials Inc. (AMI), but he came to market with it on January 1, 2009, about one month before a new $1,500 tax credit for energy efficient improvements was laid out in the stimulus package. Bowling, whose firm billed $2.25 million in 2008, is now expecting to hit $3.6 million in 2009 using his same team of four sellers. Year to date, Bowling is up 64 percent.
Aside from being able to offer an energy-efficient product that meets Energy Star and Canadian ER standards, the new dealer program, which carried none of the traditional franchise fees, came equipped with an extremely detailed sales training program developed by Brad Pompilli of Tri-State of Branford in Branford, Conn., and longtime industry sales guru Rick Grosso. The week-long sales training at a dedicated facility in Pompilli’s Connecticut office and the level of detail it provided, says Bowling, was the real difference maker in the performance of his team this year. “It has been a Godsend.”
Brad Pompilli, who began working with AMI and Rick Grosso 18 months ago to create the new EnviroView window and the companion EnviroWall siding opportunities, says his local company has also benefitted significantly from the conversion to the program. Revenue for Tri-State of Branford is up 42 percent this year and the company expects to hit $14.5 million in sales, up from $10.2 million in 2008, with 17 sales people in the field. He credits the product, but even more, he credits the “scripted” nature of the program he and Grosso created.
“In the past this business has been driven by great sellers with their own styles,” says Pompilli. “The problem with that was that if they were having issues at home, or they were for whatever reason not at the top of their game, it showed in slower sales.”
Under the new system, says Pompilli, sales people are asked to stick with the McDonald’s approach.
“The reason why the French fries always taste the same at McDonald’s is because they have a procedure and everyone in that process sticks to the procedure and the result is consistency. That is why this program works.”
Pompilli says that the strength of the EnviroView program so far has been the two-hour-and-thirty-minute presentation and the success of the closing sequence. So far, says Pompilli, the company’s closing ratio is at 46 percent this year, up from his team’s track record of a 38 percent closing ratio. “For this program to work, the sales person needs to follow the script.”
To that end, each sales person is frequently tested to see that they have not gone back to their own individual approaches. “Each time we encounter a sales person whose numbers have slipped, we can attribute it to varying from the script. It is that simple.”
The other benefit of the tightly scripted approach is that even sellers without a natural gift for the business have had good success using they program. At Tri-State, the company has even hired a package-delivery person from one of the overnight services with good results.
Rich Bayer, owner of Green Energy Home Improvement in Boston, Mass. is another very satisfied EnviroView dealer. Green Energy is a relatively new name for the company, which was in the works well before the transition to EnviroView, says Bayer. The company, which for many years operated under the Alumabilt Inc. name, did $4.5 million in sales last year and is expecting to hit $7 million in 2009 with eight sales people in the field. About 95 percent of their jobs are for replacement windows; the other 5 percent is from EnviroWall, an insulated vinyl siding product that carries a “double lifetime” warranty on color fade and hail damage.
“This was truly the right opportunity at the right time,” says Bayer. He says conversions are way up and that the company has been doing a very good job of building a solid base of leads. The company has partnered with three BJ’s Warehouse Club stores, including the company’s flagship outlet in Framingham, Mass. In addition, the company has held onto detailed records from over 25,000 customers they have served in the past. “We stay in touch with our customers.”
For his part, sales consultant Rick Grosso says the success of the program has been very rewarding. “Our industry has a high failure rate, but the success rate of ‘franchises’ is 96 percent. We wanted to create a ‘franchise’ without the franchise fee. We have scripted video, scripted audio — everything. And the close works extremely well.”
Pompilli agrees. To date, the dealer network has expanded to 22 medium sized firms with between $3 million and $15 million in sales. By 2010, Pompilli hopes to have representation in the top 50 markets. Also in the works is new roofing program, details to come later.