Jonathan Young, MD of Pennine Home Improvements

One of the North East’s leading home improvement specialists has invested more than £150,000 into a new training academy for its staff.

Pennine Home Improvements, which operates showrooms in Durham and Newcastle, is looking to build on a record year that brought in £10m of orders by taking a different approach to selling.

The launch of the Pennine Way Sales Academy is a new way of dealing with customers and will look to create employees that are focused on listening and having conversations that deliver real value to the homeowner.

Salespeople are now employed directly by the company and will all complete a 14-module course that covers product knowledge, building regulations, codes of conduct, softer selling skills and how to use digital tools to provide an enhanced customer experience.

This ‘syllabus’, which has been designed by the best and most experienced people at Pennine Home Improvements and parent company the Conservatory Outlet, will create experts that can guide the client through the home improvement journey and help bring their visions to life.

“Covid-19 has been a very difficult period, but it has taught us many different lessons, some of which gave us food for thought on how we could deliver even better levels of service,” explained Jonathan Young, Managing Director at Pennine Home Improvements.

“We had switched the sales process from face-to-face to virtual, carrying out initial consultations by video call and using our own specially designed app to bring the homeowner’s vision into reality. Despite not having the showrooms for a long period of time, we still managed to break our record order intake.”

He continued: “This gave us the confidence to press the button on the Pennine Way Sales Academy, a new way of selling that could transform our sector forever.

“The emphasis is on creating salespeople who take an even greater consultative approach, have excellent product knowledge and are employed by us from the start, meaning we have the best possible chance of nurturing talent and they have access to excellent training and mentoring from experienced staff.”

Pennine Home Improvements, which sells conservatories, doors, extensions, orangeries and windows, has enjoyed a strong start to its new academy.

Six members of staff have been recruited and are completing the 14 modules, with one of the newcomers using their initial knowledge and training to secure a £40,000 sale for a major living space extension.

Many of the firm’s products are exclusive, including the Extreme collection of UPVC windows and doors and its Envisage flush casement window range, an exquisitely stylish suite of windows that come in a huge choice of colours to ensure they make a real mark on the home.

Jonathan concluded: “Our ranges really excite homeowners, but it’s the people that really make Pennine different and our recent investment will ensure we continue to set the standard when it comes to customer service.”