This article is the eighth in a series of 15 articles where we “decode” some of the industry terms surrounding replacement windows. Stay tuned for upcoming posts that we hope will help educate San Diego homeowners and allow them to make more informed decisions.
This post will focus on the high-pressure sales tactics that some San Diego replacement window companies use to try to lock customers into a contract before they’re really ready to make a decision. These tactics are not only used by window salespeople, but by many types of salespeople who come to your home trying to sell you a home improvement service. Unfortunately, they are especially prevalent in the replacement window industry—it’s a competitive industry, and salespeople will sometimes resort to saying just about anything to make a sale. However, it’s also because people generally don’t have a good idea of what new windows and doors cost, so they are more likely to fall for a slick salesperson’s line.
Now let me just say from the beginning, there’s nothing inherently wrong with using sales tactics to persuade customers to make a purchase. When it becomes a problem is when a salesperson uses deceptive language or manipulation to convince homeowners that they need to purchase right now, or else!
Here are some of the more common tactics used by salespeople in the replacement window industry:
The “Today Only” Discount
This is one of the oldest sales tactics in the books. A salesperson comes to your home and gives you an estimate on the work to be done. They then inform you that this price is only good today—tomorrow the price will go up. They may say something like, “If you don’t sign a contract today, that means we’ll have to come out for a second appointment. So, we’re offering a special price if you buy today.” Or they might say that the price of windows is set to increase soon, so they won’t be able to honor today’s price if you wait.
What a salesperson is really trying to do by using this sales tactic is create a false sense of urgency. Nobody likes to miss out on a really great deal, but if you shop around, you may find out that the “great deal” they’re offering you isn’t really that great after all.
Any reputable window company should honor their quote for at least 30 days, giving you time to get other estimates and think through your decision. They’ll also be happy to come out to your home for a second time when you’re ready to sign a contract.
The “Bulk” Discount
This sales tactic goes like this: A salesperson comes to your home to give you an estimate on new windows. He or she then tells you that you’re in luck, because they are placing a huge window order that day, and if you sign a contract today, you can get in on the bulk discount! In all likelihood, there’s no big order. Just like in the “today only” scenario mentioned above, the salesperson is just trying to get you locked into a contract before you have the ability to shop around.
Trade in Your Old Windows
With this sales tactic, a salesperson offers you a “trade-in discount,” similar to when you trade in your old car for a newer model. The window salesperson will offer you some sort of rebate if you give them your old windows. This is simply a deceptive tactic that appeals to people who don’t like to see things go to waste. The truth is, your old windows will be discarded, just like everyone else’s windows. Any discount they offer will just come off of an inflated starting price.
The Neighborhood Discount
With this tactic, a salesperson will explain to you that they’re currently installing windows in your neighborhood, and if you sign up now, you’ll get a special discount because they’re already working in your area. They’ll say something like, “If you don’t buy now, we’ll soon be moving on to another neighborhood, and then we’ll have to charge you more to come back.” On the surface, this seems logical. The installers can save time and save the company money by not having to drive all over San Diego County.
Unfortunately, this is just another sales tactic. A window installation typically takes an entire day. So, at the end of one installation, the installers will go home and won’t begin work on the next home until the next day. Unless the people installing the windows actually live in your neighborhood, it doesn’t really matter if they work in the same area day after day, or if they drive to a different location every day. This type of discount may make sense for other industries—like pest control, carpet cleaning, or window washing—that can service multiple houses in one day, but not for window installation. If you get offered the “neighborhood discount,” it’s just another way salespeople try to create a false sense of urgency and get you to sign a contract before you’re ready.
The Bait and Switch
I recently worked with a homeowner who had signed a contract for new windows with a San Diego window replacement company that shall remain nameless. They came to her house, took measurements, and gave her a quote. The quote sounded like a great deal, so she signed a contract with them and gave them a deposit. Unfortunately, she didn’t read the fine print on the contract, and realized later that the price she was given didn’t include installation! The company wanted to charge her thousands of dollars more to cover the installation of her new windows.
This is just deception, plain and simple. A quote for replacement windows should include installation. What good would a stack of windows be to the average homeowner? This company took advantage of this customer (and probably many others), knowing that most people don’t read the fine print. Fortunately for this homeowner, we were able to get her out of the contract, but most people aren’t as lucky.
A Final Word on Replacement Window Sales
We know sales can be hard work. We also understand that many salespeople work on commission and are just trying to support themselves and their families. But that doesn’t excuse them from being deceptive or manipulative. No one should ever feel pressure to “buy now,” especially when they’re dealing with a major home improvement project like replacing their home’s windows.
As you get quotes for new windows from various San Diego replacement window companies, look for companies that give you straightforward pricing. As we mentioned before, any discount a company may be offering is typically just coming off of a higher starting price, so look at the bottom line and don’t fall for “specials” that aren’t really all that special.
Also, be wary of any company that puts pressure on you to buy now or that tries to discourage you from getting other quotes. Rather, look for companies that are confident enough in their pricing and product offerings to let you compare.
Shop around. Compare products and prices. Go with a company you trust. In the end, you’ll be more satisfied with your purchase and won’t be left wondering if you got the best value for your money.