Ethical selling opens doors.. and windows
Safestyle UK, the windows and doors company, is celebrating the second year of its partnership with the Institute of Sales Professionals (ISP) with an impressive set of results.
In 2019, facing challenges to revenue and profitability, the board of Safestyle UK set ambitious targets for growth. Despite the pandemic, sales gained momentum in the second half of 2020 and through 2021 delivering the highest revenue and profit since 2017. By April of this year, the company’s order book had increased by a further 26%.
Gary Pickering, chief commercial officer at Safestyle UK, said: “The Institute of Sales Professionals has been vital to our success.”
Pickering puts much of the transformation down to the “impartial standing and reputation of the ISP and the rigour and value of its professional registration” which has enabled the company to accelerate its programme of sales ethics with extraordinary results. So much so that local trading standards, once interested in Safestyle for the wrong reasons, have visited the company to learn more about the transformational change in its sales culture.
The journey to this new culture began two and a half years ago when Pickering joined the company with a vision of growth centred on customer satisfaction. He arrived with an impressive record of building ethical standards and delivering sustainable results in the energy and financial services industries and had recently been awarded sales director of the year’ by Besma, the British Excellence in Sales Management Awards.
At Safestyle, Pickering was joining a sector often disliked by customers, and sometimes seen as unscrupulous. Maybe an ambitious move but, recruiting and working with a commercial leadership team that shared his values and focus on ethical selling, Pickering believed he could make a difference.
“This was a challenge I really embraced”, he said. “I quickly ensured my entire leadership team was not only aligned to the challenge but could own and drive their own element of the solution.”
One of his first acts was to enrol Safestyle as corporate members of the Institute of Sales Professionals because Pickering said it was vital to work with “an independent body that sets professional standards and tests its individuals for their understanding of right and wrong”.
Once the partnership with the ISP had been established, Pickering made sure all of Safestyle's existing 350 salespeople completed the ISP’s professional registration exam. This not only demonstrated the company’s commitment to ethical selling and customer sales experience, it was also an ongoing commitment to each salesperson’s professional development because any business professional keen to improve their own knowledge, skills and behaviour will give back to their company and their customers, and feel valued and supported as result.
Passing the ISP registration exam immediately became a requirement for any sales consultant joining Safestyle. A new exam has to be taken every two years to make sure sales skills, knowledge and focus on customer care are up to date.
Along with the impressive business results, improvements in sales training, support and coaching have enhanced the working experience of Safestyle’s sales consultants and increased their desire to stay, with retention rising by 74% compared to two years ago.
Safestyle has also redesigned pay and reward schemes to concentrate on customer-centric revenue generation. This has contributed to a 9% increase in converting leads to sales which has increased rewards and remuneration which in turn improves employee loyalty.
And Safestyle’s commitment to enhancing sales leadership, sales capabilities and developing their internal pool of talent has resulted in more than 3,000 hours of training, coaching and mentoring each year.
Pickering says his team’s hard work has been well worth it: “Introducing a better way to sell creates a better experience for customers and wins more business. It also creates more voluntary referrals and a more positive word of mouth, or positive chatter on social media.”
”In today’s digital age, one negative experience reported online is seen by many, so we are ethical and honest from the outset, and we are obsessive about giving our customers a sales experience we are proud of. We don’t always get it right and sometimes our resolve to our customer commitment is tested. When that happens, we act immediately, not tolerating anyone who doesn’t share our customer values.”
Andrew Hough, founder of the Institute of Sales Professionals said: “The vision of creating a better world of sales is at the heart of what the Institute does. It has been an absolute pleasure to be part of this journey with Gary and his team at Safestyle and to be able to demonstrate the benefit of sales ethics to a wider audience.”