GGP talks to Apeer’s sales manager, Alex Moore, about the benefits of the manufacturer’s bespoke training packages, and how they are designed to support customers and maximise sales opportunities in 2020 and beyond.
It is no great secret that consumers are more prepared to do their research when it comes to high value purchases these days, whether they are looking to buy a new car, replace an expensive electronic appliance or indeed, invest in new windows and doors.
And with regards to the latter, it is clear that homeowners have also become more aware of the range of design possibilities available to them – hence the increasing demand for stylish, contemporary or premium heritage fenestration products – and will spend a considerable amount of time and effort looking at various options before parting with their money as a result.
All of which means that, while it has always been important to know about the item that you’re selling, installers and salespeople should now place an even higher value on being able to fully articulate all the advantages of their product range. Ultimately, not only will this help to deflect any interest in competitor products but will win over the confidence of even the most discerning customer, and gain more sales in the process.
It is for these reasons that Apeer places such an emphasis on its training programmes, which cater predominately for sales, but also for installation if required. The Northern Ireland based manufacturer, which offers a market leading range of composite doors – including the recently introduced aluminium alternative Silka door, plus the ultra-contemporary Lumi system – offers in-house training for its entire product portfolio. This includes entirely bespoke training if requested, in order to provide the best support for its customers, where they feel they need it the most – the direct opposite to the kind of ‘cookie-cutter’ training often found elsewhere in the industry, as the company’s sales manager, Alex Moore, explains:
“There are numerous benefits to running all our installer training in-house,” he says. “One of the main advantages is that we have complete control over the process, which ensures that we are able to provide the latest information and the most accurate advice. As a result, we are able to deliver our training more efficiently, both in terms of cost and time, than if we were to simply rely on outsourcing through an agency for instance.
“It means that everything we do is 100% accurate, whilst affording us the flexibility to offer a tailor made training package for individual customers, so they can be sure that they will get support where they need it most.
“Training is therefore provided as required by our customers, as all have differing needs,” he continued. “There is obviously a core set of criteria that we cover at initial training sessions, typically for brand new trade partners or those customers who might have experience with our composite offering but want to add Lumi to their portfolio for instance. After that, we can tailor each session, so it could focus just on Lumi for example, or the Apeer composite doors, or both – and if that means spending two hours getting up to speed on a new product, or a day in the factory in order to become familiar with the entire range, then we are happy to oblige.”
Apeer reported a significant increase in the amount of training it provided throughout 2019, partly due to an increased awareness in the service it was offering, but also as a direct result of customers requesting more information on new product launches such as Lumi2 and the smooth-skinned Silka composite. Lumi2, a development of the original G-Award winning Lumi system, offers the same frameless, ‘edge-to-edge’ glazing aesthetics but with double glazing instead of triple, and in a format more suitable to extensions and replacements. Silka, which also features design elements inspired by Lumi, is the latest addition to Apeer’s composite range, and boasts the premium aesthetics of an aluminium door, but at a more competitive price point.
“Whether it’s product training, advice on fitting, or even marketing and social media training, we are perfectly equipped to assist both new and existing customers make the most of our product ranges,” continued Alex.
“We’ve had incredible feedback from those who have already taken advantage of our training service, including those who have returned to ensure they are up to speed on our latest products such as Lumi2 and Silka, simply because other manufacturers do not offer this kind of service – and if they do, it’s certainly not as flexible, or as bespoke as what we can provide at Apeer.
“Training continues to be a key focus for us going forward, we now offer an Approved Apeer Supplier certificate, and we want our trade partners to be in a position where they can make the most of the growing demand for premium products into 2020 and beyond,” concluded Alex. “We would encourage all our customers to make the effort to visit us, and while this might require travelling over from the UK mainland, we would suggest staying overnight – or even extending a trip into the weekend – so that the experience can be as worthwhile, constructive and informative as possible.”