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What Job Needs to be Done?

Window and door dealers are a product-focused bunch—and why wouldn’t we be? Manufacturer training and new innovative products are important parts of our world. We have to know how products will perform, compare and behave.

However, this focus can lead us astray, causing us to ask the wrong questions at crucial times. One recent concept I read, from the book “The Innovator’s Solution,” suggests we ask the question, “What job is my client looking to fill?” Let’s take a fictional example to see how this might work in our world.

Julie Smith visits two window and door dealer showrooms in a metro area. Both are nicely appointed, with lots of beautiful products, heavy full-color catalogs with specifications, and salespeople ready to point out the many features of the respective brands. She was even asked good questions from attentive sales staff: “Are you working with a contractor?” “Is this for a current project?” “Is this replacing existing windows and doors?” Julie left both showrooms with information, but no purchase or future meetings scheduled. Why?

Julie had a job she needed to have done: to transform her spare room into a yoga sanctuary, to give her busy life some peace and tranquility. She wanted to “hire” windows and doors to get the job done. The last things she was looking to hire were complexity and a whole new language to learn. Nobody got the job because nobody understood what her job was.

And here’s the rub: nobody buys windows and doors because they love them. They buy windows and doors because they have a job for them. Here’s a sales approach to land Julie’s job: “Julie, we have done several projects where we have created sanctuary rooms for busy people, and we can do the same for you. I need to come out, observe the space and details, then create a concept drawing. You and I would then meet back at the showroom to finalize the plan, and we can move forward taking care of everything for you. Do you have time Tuesday evening for me to stop out?”

Figure out your customer’s job, then make your resume fit.


Craig Patchin

Craig Patchin

Craig Patchin is the owner of Window Design Center in Madison, Wisconsin. A 23-year veteran of the window and door industry, Patchin also serves as a principal of PATH|ERP, a software company devoted specifically to window and door dealers.