The Guardsman difference

As we enter into 2024 and the focus shifts to the year ahead, Guardsman UK is feeling confident in its objectives to deliver a superior service and is looking forward to providing continual, bespoke support to all of its retail partners.

Paul Jennings, Guardsman National Development Manager, comments on how the field-based team has evolved to ensure continued support to their retailers. “Over the past 12 months we have doubled the size of our team, which is down to market changes, regulatory focus and the growth of our business.

“We have gone from a team of four to a team of eight, four of which are new roles as Business Development Executives, specifically dedicated to delivering not only the personalised, in-store service we have always given, but also to provide additional support and guidance around the regulatory responsibilities we all need to follow.

“It’s not new news that the heat is being turned up as the FCA dives deeper into the Furniture Protection Plan insurance market, specifically focussing on the commission levels given at store level, so it’s my teams job to provide the support and guidance on how to navigate this and it’s my job to make sure they are given the tools in order to do this.”

Often the relationship between the Sales and Compliance can be seen as “challenging” for some, however, Paul comments on how the relationship between the Sales and Compliance teams at Guardsman is actually very positive and proactive. “We work well together, meeting regularly and talking through the challenges faced, it has really helped my team and allowed them to take positive steps to ensure a competent distribution of the protection plans at store level. Our combined sales and compliance approach is really paying dividends and we are seen as experts and are a respected voice in the market.”

Guardsman has seen consistent success through its Business Development Executives, which have had a really positive impact at store level, with furniture plan attachment rates improving at a rapid rate and stores requesting them to come back, especially in the lead up to the festive season. The company said that retailers are really seeing the benefit of the regular monthly visits from the team, which has deepened relationships and made each visit much more personal and tailored to meet the needs of the individual or the store.

The Guardsman team have a good understanding of business, insurance and of the furniture industry, which is an essential requirement for this type of work. The team includes Chris McGill, covering Scotland and the north of England, and Lawrence Argent, covering the Southeast, who both have an extensive furniture retail background. “They really understand the challenges sales staff face, and can help with overcoming objections by providing their knowledge of Guardsman Plans as well as being a familiar and friendly face to a lot of the stores they manage,” Paul said. 

“Adam Woodhead covers the Midlands and comes from a learning and development background so has been able to give real insight into our own training processes. Kirsty Patterson, who covers the Southwest, has joined the team with a Business Management Degree and a passion for making a difference.

“With this new team, we’ve had some really positive feedback from stores sharing their successes and improved attachment rates as confidence grows in the product. They are really seeing the benefits of regular, frequent visits from the same person, and are delighted to hear the positive impact our new team is having out in the field,” continues Paul. 

“We’re also seeing a great response to our newest recruit managing the Island of Ireland.  Ryan White joined the business last October and has both a furniture retail and insurance background, a perfect combination. He has been busy travelling around Ireland introducing himself and establishing those all-important relationships which we know help contribute to the success of Guardsman and retail partners.”

Also sharing his thoughts on the new team, Lyndon Willshire, Guardsman Commercial Director, added: “I am so proud of our team, the Business Development Executives are already proving to be a real asset to the business; I love their enthusiasm and passion and I know our retailers are noticing and benefitting from this too. Our market expertise shines through as we get closer to our partners, understand their products and their customers, so we can build the right tailor-made propositions.

“Every retailer is different, has a different strategy and a different customer profile so it’s our job to understand this and make sure that what we offer is fit for purpose, provides consumer value and protects our mutual brands. We very much look forward to cementing our existing partnerships and creating new ones in 2024.”

Please contact Zeyn Kassam, Head of Sales and Development to find out more. Tel: 07467 333570. Email: zeyn.kassam@guardsman.co.uk

www.guardsman.co.uk

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