As I have talked with our dealers the past few weeks, I have consistently heard salespeople lament the end-of-summer struggle against lack of consumer urgency. Homeowners are trying to squeeze in as much as they can before Labor Day and school starting, so finalizing their roofing decision becomes less of a priority. It is frustrating investing time, energy, and money into appointments with homeowners who lack any urgency to make a decision. It is up to the salesperson to, through legitimate means and information, increase their urgency and move homeowners from “we are just getting estimates” to “we need to make a decision.”
One proven method of increasing a homeowner’s urgency is incorporating a thorough and professional attic inspection into your sales process. It is a critical component of our sales training at Isaiah Industries, and it consistently increases a salesperson’s first-night closing percentage and the dollar they command for their solution.
It has always surprised me that any roofing company would sell a roof without even looking in the attic. From a homeowner’s perspective, any portion of the home above the ceiling is the roofer’s responsibility. There could be serious issues in the attic – existing mold, masonry leaks, etc. – that you will be held responsible for if homeowners find after your roof has been installed. Salespeople should be required to at least look in the attic, so might as well make this step as valuable as possible.
By conducting a scripted inspection with an impressive set of tools, you instantly separate yourself and change the entire plane of the homeowners’ roofing decision – your solution is no longer comparable to your competition. Your scientific approach will look, sound, and act differently than your competition, establishing credibility and expert status. This credibility then allows you to help homeowners understand they need to decide on their roof sooner than they expected.
The reality is few attics across the country are properly ventilated. There is no need to fabricate issues; you must only have a process for identifying them and explaining them to homeowners. Once homeowners are exposed to these issues – unknown leaks, mold, ventilation issues, short-circuited plumbing vents, etc. –they become more urgent and appreciate you for taking the time to look and make them aware.
You start laying the ground work for this urgency during your opening survey. When asking, “Do you have active leaks?”, if the answer is no, follow up with “When was the last time you checked inside the attic?” Be sure also to ask “Do you know of any condensation or mold issues in your attic?” These questions show homeowners the importance of attic health, makes them nervous there might be issues they were not aware of, and justifies you asking them for access to the attic.
Most salespeople conducting an attic inspection do so following their opening survey and exterior inspection. At Isaiah Industries, we have a proven script and kit for this step in the process. Details are available upon request. To conduct a proper inspection, you don’t actually need to get into the attic, only in shoulder-deep from the top of a step ladder, while, ideally, the homeowner stands behind you taking notes; it is critical to engage them in the process so they can corroborate your findings. You only need a flash light to find much of what you need, but there are powerful tools available to measure moisture and airflow.
Visual Inspection – Simply looking in the attic will separate you from your competition and protect you from future liability. Use your flashlight to find symptoms of improper ventilation, like mold and rusted nails, and collect additional information that could impact your installation. Here is a complete list of what suggest looking for:
- Leaks and Stains
- Rotted Wood
- Rusty Nails
- Broken Truss/Rafter
- Type of Sheeting
- Open Intake and Exhaust
- Proper Plumbing for Bathroom, Kitchen, and Dryer Vents
- Signs of Animal Infestation
Moisture – A moisture meter and humidity pen will allow you to measure moisture level in the insulation and air. Mold will thrive if the insulation reaches a moisture level of 20% or more, but any moisture will compromise its R-value. Ideally, humidity should stay below 65%. If ambient humidity is greater than 65%, you want to make sure there is adequate airflow, so this moisture does not just sit in the attic.
Airflow – With a smoke pen, you can evaluate how quickly air is expelled from the attic. The smoke should rise steadily up to the ridge and be expelled through proper exhaust vents. If the smoke is stagnant, or worse, forced down the hatch behind you, you can then explain to homeowners how your roofing solution will include an adequate ventilation package.
When done properly, rarely will you not find some ammunition to help homeowners understand they should consider making a re-roofing decision sooner rather than later. They will now know of issues in their attic and become emotionally invested in urgently securing the protection of their loved ones, home, and belongings. They will see value in your presentation, and you will be well positioned to provide their ideal solution.
With marketing costs ever increasing – qualified appointments are costing most companies well over $300 – creating urgency is critical to your success. Time and money are saved, keeping costs low for consumers and preventing unknown problems in their attic from getting worse and more expensive to resolve.
As always, thank you for reading and participating in this conversation. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to continue discussing a professional attic inspection or any other ways we can be of service.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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