Stepping Up Solar Control

August 5th, 2021 by Bryan

How to Sell These Films and Gain Additional Jobs

By Lewis Pitzer, Paul Taucher and Jonathan Thompson

So you’ve got an audience with a new client. Maybe it’s a lunch-and-learn (see Window Film March/April 2019, page 18) or you’re sitting down with someone one-on-one afterwards, ready to move on to the next step of actually getting window film into the building. Great! Now what?

Identify the Needs

Decorative window film is a wonderful invention. It’s beautiful and can enhance a building inside or out. It can often be the key to getting a foot in the door, when a company wants to project a certain aesthetic. That’s great and you certainly want to court that market if it’s one you do; but let’s say you’re looking at the schematics of the project and it’s heavy on the glass. As a window film expert you know, almost instinctively, that the client could benefit from solar-control window film. It’s time to give the client a little nudge, maybe encourage them to make the jump to film with even more power.

You can approach property managers and building engineers, and if you’re working on a large building that’s sublet to many different companies, the building owner or property manager is most likely going to be the one making the decision. Whether or not you have an “in” at a building via another form of window film (decorative or security), you can open the door to energy-efficient film if you identify and point out hot spots and glare spots.

Building Blocks

Knowing that the building in question would benefit from energy-efficient films, you’ve got to get that option on the table. You may very well meet with resistance. Cost is likely to be a big deterrent; you might have clients concerned about the use of film voiding warranties on windows or doors—and these are valid concerns.

So start with the basics and build a solid, logical case for energy-efficiency using six key pillars around which your case should be constructed. These pillars are the decision points that are of most importance in the commercial market, but you also need to tailor your pitch of each pillar, along with the order of importance and emphasis, to the client you’re working with right then and there.

Product Performance: Sell your potential customer on increased energy savings via lower run rates; enhanced comfort that leads to better tenant productivity; and protection of interior for increased life cycle of furnishings.

Product Appearance: Because the appearance of film on glass is an important factor, you may get push back if the decision maker has misconceptions about film related to appearance, or if they worry that it’s too shiny or too dark. This is where you need to provide reassurance and describe the appearance of different films—and especially the one they have chosen—against the existing glass. Samples, if possible, are important here or photos of similar buildings with the film in question applied. The view from the interior may also be of concern to the decision maker, so address those head on, and if the client expresses concern over a mirrored appearance discuss that, too, and introduce the advantage of alternate technologies.

Product Longevity: No one really wants to make an investment on a product that will not last as long as the time it takes to pay off the cost (or recoup the cost in sales and savings). As a window film professional, explain to the client what scratch-resistant coating entails, such as the pros (its durability and that it’s easy to clean). Include a copy of care and maintenance instructions, though, so they know what it takes to optimize the film and have it last as long as possible.

• Product Warranty: If you haven’t already reviewed the composition of a window and window film—and how they work together—it wouldn’t hurt to help them understand, and tackle the elephant in the room by taking on thermal glass breakage and seal failure as well as warranties that address it.

• Manufacturer: The client may very well want to know who is manufacturing the product and backing the warranty. If they didn’t meet a manufacturer’s representative previously, such as at a lunch-and-learn, you can invite the rep to meet your client. You and your rep are a team and you sell the products you do for a reason. Be proud of them and sell your client on this particular brand of film. Stay focused on strong, relevant facts and emphasize the manufacturer’s expertise and the quality of their products. Mention ISO 9001 Certification or other relevant testing results.

Installing Dealer: You’ve given your client all this wonderful information—where the film comes from, how it’s going to help them. Yes, they’ve hired you to do a job, but maybe not the job you want. Maybe not the energy-efficiency film related job you know they need—they know you only as a decorative film company. No matter how well they know or don’t know you, sell them on yourself. Sell yourself as a solar-control film dealer and installer. How do you do that? Start by describing the history of the company and how you got into the energy-efficiency side of things. Provide professional biographies of key managers and develop a detailed reference list of other clients who can vouch for your work and the product’s benefits and you can do that by using social media such as LinkedIn professional references and referral. Share professional affiliations and accreditations. Whenever possible, invite the client to tour completed projects.

Before you start the job, while you’re still in the planning stage with your client or even before, develop procedures and plans to facilitate smooth installations and share those with the client. This includes having a site project plan and providing a pre–installation meeting agenda and pre-installation memo; these documents are a way to show you’re organized professionals with your installations.

Lewis Pitzer is the architectural solutions provider at National Glass Service Group. Paul Taucher is the owner of Solar Control of Jackson, Miss., which he opened in 2007. Jonathan Thompson owns Sunsational Solutions in Austin, Texas, which he opened in 2007.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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