How Homeowners Approach A Roofing Decision
I hope this finds you well and anticipating a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. The relatively mild Fall we have had has been a blessing to most of the metal roofing contractors we work with, allowing them some good weather for working on jobs that their customers want completed by the end of the year.
Now, let’s continue our discussion of residential metal roofing marketing. So far, we have covered topics such as Company Identity, Website Creation, Target Marketing, and Gaining Mindshare. In this issue, we want to make the “rubber meet the road” a bit more by looking at the process that most homeowners use when making a roofing decision, and figuring out how to break into their process and earn their consideration.
It has been our observation that most homeowners have a “roofing guy” in mind who they intend to contact whenever they need their roof repaired or replaced. Homeowners realize how important their roof is to the protection of their home and belongings and, as such, they want to have a “roofing guy” whom they fully trust to do things right and well – all at a reasonable cost. In most cases, this “roofing guy” is either someone who has worked for them in the past or someone who has worked for a relative, co-worker, friend or neighbor. Because of past experiences or the experiences of others, they have good feelings about this “roofing guy” and trust him (or her!) fully.
As an example, my wife and I have a “home repair guy.” He’s worked on our house many times over the years, from major remodeling to small repairs. He has a key to our home and we trust him to come and go. We trust him to be around our family, our belongings, and even our dogs (which is a level of trust not easily earned from my wife). Whenever anything needs attention or inspection, we just call him and he comes and checks it out and lets us know what he thinks. We trust him fully. We don’t even ask him to quote the work he’s going to do in most cases.
And, just like how we have our “home repair guy,” most homeowners have someone similar to address their roofing needs – their “roofing guy.” (My wife and I have not needed a “roofing guy” in nearly 20 years since we had our beautiful, worry-free metal roof installed!)
So, if a homeowner needs a new roof, and they contact their “roofing guy,” how does that go? Well, usually they fully trust their “roofing guy” to make a suggestion, which they readily accept, in terms of the work to be done and the products to be specified and used on their home. Most “roofing guys” may say or advertise that they do metal roofing but usually their experience with metal roofing has been limited. Oftentimes it has been no more than occasionally buying a few sheets of “roofing tin” from a local lumber yard or big box to install on a customer’s porch or out building. As a result, they usually do not suggest metal roofing to the homeowner but instead go back to the product they have worked with the most – usually asphalt shingles.
If the homeowner tells their “roofing guy” that they have been hearing good things about metal roofing, and asks what the contractor knows about it, the contractor usually says something like, “Well, yeah, I’ve put down a few metal roofs. I really don’t think metal is right for your home though. You will never like the way it looks, and, you do know it’s pretty expensive, right?” After that response, the homeowner is apt to ask what the contractor suggests they do use as far as a roofing product, and that response usually points them back to asphalt shingles.
So, when a homeowner inquires with their “roofing guy” about metal roofing, the conversation usually ends and the homeowner is directed back to standard shingles. Fact is, very few homeowners will persist in their quest for metal roofing at that point, effectively locking YOU – the residential metal roofing professional – out of the opportunity to ever work for them.
So, how do you break through that? How do you enter the mix and perhaps even become the trusted and respected “roofing guy” for homeowners in your area?
Well, we believe it starts with becoming respected as a trusted roofing expert and professional – not only a metal roofing contractor. Building relationships with prospective customers before they have a perceived roofing need is the way to unseat their “roofing guy” that they know and trust. By working hard to get in front of and stay in front of homeowners in your marketing territory, you can create a steady pipeline of future customers who call you simply because they know and trust you to guide them along a good path in their roofing decisions.
Here are some specific ways to do that:
Branding and Image. Your company needs to have a consistent image which is portrayed at all times both through your advertising and through your team members. The more people see your brand, the more they will think of you when they think of roofing. This includes things like trucks and trailers with logos and team members with easily recognized uniforms.
Uniqueness. In some way, your brand and image must stand apart from other companies. This can be done through a slogan, a mascot, a spokesperson, a jingle, the use of referrals … and any of a number of other ways. But there MUST be something UNIQUE and MEMORABLE about your company. That thing must also link back to your company. We have all seen commercials where we remember certain things but we do not remember the company. You do not want to fall into that snare. Additionally, have a Company Story that is unique and memorable, and known and told by all of your team members on a regular basis.
Be A ROOFING Professional. There’s nothing wrong with making it apparent that your specialty is METAL roofing but make it clear that you are an expert in ROOFING, not just METAL ROOFING. Offer a consultative approach. Work along the lines of “Our years of experience cut across all areas of roofing and, out of that experience, we have confirmed time and time again that METAL offers the best value to homeowners.”
Educate. Look for opportunities through your website, social media, and advertising to EDUCATE consumers. Make it obvious that they can come to you for reliable and helpful information rather than a sales pitch. Another great way to do this is to host or appear on a talk radio home improvement show in your area.
Ask Questions. Most people like to talk more than they like to listen. We feel good about other people who allow us to talk and not so good about people who do not allow us to talk. In all contact with customers, make sure that your company takes a consultative approach and listens more than it talks. “Telling is NOT Selling,” as the saying goes. By asking questions and listening for answers, you also learn the emotional “hot buttons” that will influence the homeowner’s purchasing decision.
Maintain A Great Reputation. Always do what you say you’re going to do. Have positive online reviews and BBB ratings. Get your customers telling your story whenever possible!
By following these steps, you can become the “roofing guy” for homeowners in your area. Combined with good marketing, that will make you the leader in your area – the company that prospects are lining up to do business with!
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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