A review of Zenith Staybrite by John Doe written on Thursday 25th of September 2008
I worked for Zenith windows for 3 years. I started as a tele-canvasser in the evenings, was promoted to tele-canvassing manager, transfered to door canvassing manager and eventually ended up in sales.
Telephone canvassers are paid a low wage and are paid a bonus when an appointment turns into a pitch. A pitch is a rep going on an appointment and giving a price. All appointments should be made with both decision makers there so the rep wont get the old put off of "I need to discuss it with my partner." Calls are made from a directory supplied by head office, composed from details from a central database. Telephone directorys are never used.
Tele-canvassing managers are paid a low basic and get commission from their teams appointments converting into pitches.
Door canvassing works very similar but is based on a commision only basis for the canvassers and the manager. Because of this rewards are higher as long as you work for it. Areas to knock doors are picked by the manager.
SALES-REPS & MANAGERS:
The sales reps go on a 2 week residential training course. The course is very professional and in my training no practices of bad salesmanship were ever suggested. In fact it was adamantly deterred. Sales reps are also commission only based and dont even get travel costs to cover their petrol.
If a sales rep is unable to close the sale on his own he is to call his manager. The manager will then offer the customer a new lower price which basically means taking away the reps commission and he will earn nothing from selling the windows.
Quotes are rarely left as from my experience in doing this, and my colleages doing this, we never got the business if the customer came back. If a rep did not sell on the night, any customers that came back were given to the assistant manager to sell to. He also got to call all failed pitches back and lower the price if possible to generate more sales. In doing this, it kind of created a punishment for reps who were not able to sell on the night. This is why some sales reps can be pushy in trying to get a deal on the night.
If a rep does not convert many sales, the manager then starts to give him less quality leads to sell to. He then has to prove himself to start getting better leads. The better a salesman is, the better leads he will get. The reason for this is the manager wants to convert as many sales as possible so will always give the better reps the better leads so as not to chance a less skilled rep ruining the chances of a sale.
Because of this a rep can sometimes get very stressed and resort to tactics such as bad selling in an effort to make a sale so he can earn some money. Being commision only can be very uncomfortable for someone who is not selling much. This does not excuse bad practice though.
The showhome promotion when I worked there worked like this. (It may be different now, but I think it's the same)
Zenith windows print a quarterly magazine which is simply used as a selling tool for reps and canvassers to show potential customers. In the magazine are before and after photos of Zenith windows installations.
A customer will be contacted by a canvasser via telephone or door and asked if they would like to have their windows changed possibly for free. It is then explained that by being selected to appear in the magazine they would recieve a full refund. I will state now that this is entirely true but the chance of being selected is very remote. Only 12 every quarter across the country, and normally only the small jobs so that the refund is minimal.
The sales rep explains all this in his pitch and also explains that by having a board outside the house advertising Zenith windows they will recieve a 'Showhome discount.'
This is where the only form of misleading I experienced came in. The initial price given to the customer is inflated by approx 50%. The rep then sells the quality of the window to the customer and gets them to agree that this price is value for money even if they think it's expensive. Once that is done, the rep then discounts the windows by the inflated amount to the true price of the windows. If the rep sells at this price he will recieve full commission. The customer at this stage, after agreeing the previous price was value for money then see's a very good price for a good product. If the customer does not agree to purchase the rep will then telephone the manager who will discount the cost further. This is done in stages so as to try to earn the rep money but ultimately the price will be bottomed out to achieve the sale. In doing so the rep will earn nothing from this. His punishment for not achieving a sale. The full commission when I was there was 30% so thats how much further the price could reduce.
Original price £10,000
Showhome price £5,000 (50%off. Full comm for rep of 30%)
Bottomed out price $3500 (30% comm taken away. Rep earns nothing.)
Zenith do offer a great product, it actually is! Thier selling practice is not dis-similar to many other sales companys from different industrys. Every company offers some sort of promotion to make the customer believe they are getting a good deal.
I simply reccommend, never take the first price at face value with any company.Always haggle until they walk away, then you know you have the lowest price possible. Try not to be too mean on price as the rep has to earn a living and stopping him from doing so increases pressure and increases temptation to mis-sell to earn money. Always get more than one quote. Ther is a big difference in styles, quality, design and price. Finally, speak to friends, family, neighbours about their windows. Nothing works better than word of mouth. If they are happy with what they have and you like their windows, maybe thats where you should buy from instead of being tempted by promotional offers.
Please leave comments on my review. Thank-you.
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Map showing Zenith Staybrite on Milton Road