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Do we have the right mindset?

Mike Parczuk, Managing Director of Sternfenster, doesn’t have a crystal ball, but believes there are plenty of signs that things are picking up. Here he explains why.

As a nation we’re too quick to talk ourselves down – you turn on the news and it’s always bad.

This lack of positivity can be very damaging. For example, I think the economic prospects for the second half of the year will be better than the first. Inflation seems to be under control. We’ve got a general election, which normally means money is going to get thrown at everybody to try to win votes. And I think customers will be in a better position to part with their cash as interest rates come down, so there will be more consumer confidence in the market.

But I do think that our job as business leaders is not to talk everything down, and instead be a bit more positive. Yes, the market is tough, but we’ve been here before and we’ll be here again. It just means that we must work harder and work smarter to win new business.

It’s a conversation we regularly have with our customers, because we have a range of tools that can help them win business and keep their operations running efficiently and profitably. For example, our EasyAdmin package can create professional looking quotes, track deliveries, and allow customers to have full oversight of their profit and loss.

We’ve seen that, since the start of this year, more of our customers are engaging with these tools, and they are doing better than those customers who don’t. Similarly, customers who want to learn more about our product ranges are engaging more successfully with homeowners, because they can more easily sell them a dream with a wide choice.

You can’t sit and wait for the phone to ring and expect the leads to come flooding in.

In fact, it is this mentality that fuels the race-to-the-bottom on price. Where is the imagination?

We are very proud of the range and the quality of our products, but we are a fabricator, like many others, who make and sell PVC-U and aluminium squares.

The differentiation between us all shouldn’t be price, it should be the added value and extra services we offer. As I’ve outlined above, this can be much more effective at generating leads and winning sales than simply cutting prices, because you are engaging with what the homeowner truly wants.

I hope that the conferences and summits that are becoming popular in our industry can address some of these issues, because I think that if we are a little more professional in our approach – doing the right things at the right time in the right way – then I think there is plenty of work out there for everybody.

With the right approach, the second half of 2024 will be better than the first.


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