Business not quite as usual
By Matt King, Sales Manager
The industry came to a halt back in March and many businesses were forced to either close or work from home where possible. We were fortunate enough to adapt to the new norm of working from our living room tables but, just like many businesses, we feared a drop in sales and had reservations about what this meant for the future.
One thing was for sure, we were all in the same position. There was no solid direction from the powers that be. The advice was sometimes conflicting and so it was a case of take each day as it comes and try to remain optimistic.
Although a vast majority of contacts were furloughed, and projects were put on hold, we were still seeing that much of our customer base of Architects, Interior Designers, Fabricators and Sub Contractors were still busy. However, were now refocusing their design efforts in line with Covid-19 safe regulations. So, as a Sales Manager, it was my duty to still ensure we could help provide the best creative solution for their projects.
Amongst novel approaches of staying in touch, we decided to touch base with operating customers. Our online communication has been the savour of staying connected with our customers. Video calls, emails, phone calls and webinars have never been so important.
If I have my tools (laptop, phone and a cup of tea) I can do my job from anywhere. Microsoft Teams has opened us up to a new way of working and as much as I miss the face-to-face interaction with clients, it has become the new norm of communicating. In fact, after getting to grips with the new adjustment, I am finding I am way more organised than ever before. No more train cancellations and no more sitting in traffic jams. Instead, a chilled, informal ‘show and tell’ from the comfort of my home.
Do I think this will be the end of face-to-face meetings? Hopefully not. It hasn’t been the worst thing to have happened, but I do feel you get more out of a face-to-face meeting. I’m a people person, I like to catch up with my clients, discuss projects and I like having the freedom to dart around the country. I like being onsite and seeing our product come to life - so if these restrictions become permanent, I know I will be capable of adapting, but it won’t be the same as seeing someone in person.
Let’s work together
Fast forward 6 months and although business for me is not quite as usual, we have seen an increase in sales again and a more positive outlook for the remainder of 2020.
The industry has been fast to respond to the high demand of quality and reliable products, not just because of Covid-19 but because of seismic events such as the Grenfell tragedy. As we reach our eighteenth year in business, we are thrilled to announce our collaboration with the international suspended ceilings manufacturer, OWA.
OWA by Amron will consist of popular products from the OWAtecta range of metal ceiling systems. It offers designers and specifiers a range of metallic ceiling panels that provides a clean and contemporary look for any project whilst also improving lighting conditions and the working environment within a room or space. So, whilst I may not be able to meet face-to-face, at least this news gives me another reason for me to stay connected with our customers.
What will 2021 look like? Who knows?! But what I will say is, I have found time to create a more work/life balance. It has enabled me to stay in touch with my customers and colleagues but also logging off at a reasonable hour to spend quality time with my family has been gratifying.
I have learnt that you can’t control the things going on around you, but you can control your mindset. Having the ability to come out of your comfort zone and adapting to change has been something we have all learnt to do – so whatever the future may look like, I know one thing for sure, you still need metal mesh in your life!