Finding Out What Your Customer Needs
The Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report is being written to provide you with a complete framework that will lead to more roofing sales for you. On occasion, we will also provide you with current industry information and insights. We hope that you find these reports to be helpful as you grow your business.
Before you start the in-home presentation of your product, you need to determine what the prospect wants to accomplish with their new roof. In most cases, they have specific problems they have had in the past which they want to end … forever. However, if you know how to get at this information, there also are probably a few additional things that they’d love to accomplish with their new roof. All of these things become “hot buttons” which will later guide your product presentation, letting you know which things will get the prospect to an emotional state of being willing to pay in order to achieve their end goal.
I suggest that, after you have gone through your first impression stage with the customer, and achieved good levels of mutual trust, respect, and rapport, it is a good time to invite the homeowner outside for a walk around their home. Being outside with them and getting them moving will usually make them more likely to share what’s really on their mind. It also allows you the opportunity to sincerely compliment them on their home, their landscaping, etc. And, if together you see a few problems with their existing roof, it helps to push the homeowner to an emotional state.
You can invite them outside with a statement something like “I hope that you will be willing to help me with something. Before we start discussing possible solutions to your roofing problems, I need to make sure that I understand what those problems really are. I also need to know what you’d like to avoid, as well as what you’d like to accomplish with your next roof. Would you be willing to go outside with me to walk around your home and take a closer look at the roof?”
On your way out the door, then, you can ask something like “So, I did take just a real quick glance at your roof on my way up to your door earlier. Nothing struck me as being terribly out of place. Can you tell me why you’re thinking it is time for a new roof now?” Their answer to this question will give you some real quick insight of things to focus on while you’re walking around their home.
Once you’re outside, keep them talking. If there are nearby neighboring homes and you see problems with their roofs (such as streaks and stains or missing shingles), look for opportunities to point those out as well. You want to help them understand that they are not alone in their roofing troubles. Many homeowners think they just had a “bad batch” of shingles and don’t understand that the problems they have had are everywhere.
As you talk and look at their roof, point out unusual places on their roof which will require extra attention, such as unusual valleys, wall flashings, chimneys and skylights. Don’t spoil your presentation but do provide some “teaser” information on how your company will handle those situations. Discuss their attic ventilation and help them understand the difference between intake and exhaust vents, and how they work together. If you’re in a northern climate, show your expertise by asking them about ice damming and pointing out the areas in their home that are most likely to experience ice dams.
If you see areas on their roof which you feel pose large risks of leaks or damage if they aren’t handled correctly, discuss those areas. Ask them what is underneath those areas of their roof. You want them to consider what inside their home will be damaged if they develop a roof leak in that area.
If you’re having trouble getting them to open up about their roof concerns (and rarely is that the case), ask them “leading questions” to get them talking. Things like “Even though your roof doesn’t have streaks and stains today, what do you think it does to a house when the roof does develop those problems?” can get them talking and thinking. Once you do identify areas of concern, ask questions which help them see the potential damage that can be caused by those things including leaks, rot, mold, and diminished home value. Again, the goal is to get them to an emotional state where they are willing to pay to get rid of current problems or to avoid future problems.
You can also begin to ask some leading questions as teasers about other benefits your products might offer. You can ask questions about wind resistance, low weight, and whether they are interested in a roof that might keep their attic cooler and save them on their electric bills.
Now – here’s the real important thing to all of this. Just like a doctor takes notes when their patient talks about their aches and pains, you must make notes when your prospect talks. You can do this on a pre-printed form or just on a clean piece of paper. Taking notes shows your engagement and your professionalism. Taking notes requires you to listen rather than talk and your notes will later be used when you help the prospect establish and evaluate their roofing criteria. Even if you have a memory that never fails you, there are important reasons to take notes during this phase of your client meeting.
Your goal of this “walk around” is to fully understand what the customer wants to avoid, and what they might dream of accomplishing with their next roof. This information will be invaluable to you as you proceed with other aspects of the in-home presentation. This is the information you need in order to accomplish a profitable sale.
Until our next Executive Report, we wish you happy and successful selling.
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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