We are in the midst of a series reviewing our System for Selling here at Isaiah Industries. Once again, here is how we define our System:
Isaiah Industries’ selling system is a fully scripted process and presentation to properly evaluate homeowners’ needs and wants, educate them on available product and companies, while leveraging psychology and exclusivity to build maximum value in your unique solution, and culminating in an exact price and proposal.
We have broken this definition down and in past issues discussed what a system is and why it is important; the importance of scripting the entire process from setting the appointment to signing the contract; and how to properly evaluate homeowners needs and wants so to make the presentation most relevant to them. We will now move to the next component of our definition: educate them on available product and companies.
We are passionate about teaching and applying a consultative approach to selling. Being a manufacturer, most contractors expect our sales philosophy to be laying our sample on the kitchen table and quickly reciting all the features and benefits, hopefully overwhelming homeowners with so much value that they could never dream of choosing a different material. Though we whole-heartedly believe in our products and their value, we know that is not how products are successfully sold. Instead, we must consult homeowners on all the available solutions and help THEM determine which is best for them.
Performing in-depth “needs analysis” and determining homeowners’ criteria for their next roof – their needs and wants – is crucial to this consultative approach. Without taking the time to evaluate and understand their unique circumstances and goals for their project, how can you tailor a solutions unique for them? The needs and wants you identify become the criteria for their project and provide you a metric by which to measure all available solutions.
Most salespeople have been taught to conduct needs analysis during their warm up and inspection, but most make the critical mistake that compromises the entire appointment – they immediately leap to proving how their solution, whatever they are selling, is the best option to accomplish all the criteria identified:
“You never want to replace your roof again? Well, let me tell you about our permanent metal roofing systems!”
“You are tired of your vinyl siding fading? Let me tell you about our “color-through” composite siding options!”
“You would like to save some money on your energy bills? Our metal roofs utilize reflective pigments and an integrated airspace to save you up to 20% on your summer cooling costs!”
All too often we come in contact with salespeople who are passionate about their products and can’t help but tout the 99 amazing benefits. But they fail to understand that making this leap – directly from needs analysis to “our solution is perfect for you!” – firmly establishes them as a “salesperson” with the homeowner. Homeowners loathe salespeople, not trusting a word they say while guarding against their closing tricks. Our goal is to establish ourselves as a “consultant” – someone who has the homeowner’s best interest in mind and is only there to educate them on all the options available and determine which is best for them. This takes time, as the homeowners know you came to their home in hopes of selling the project, but we can slowly gain trust and credibility by taking their criteria and helping them determine what product best meets them. Obviously, your goal is to still sell the project; this consultative approach gives you the best opportunity to do so.
Providing a thorough education on all the available solutions is the means to obtaining consultant status, but it is not easy! If selling metal roofing, salespeople must not only be perceived as metal roofing experts, but also experts on asphalt shingles, slate, wood shakes, tile, and synthetic products. They must provide enough information for homeowners to understand that asphalt shingles, wood shakes, etc. will not meet the criteria they have established. But salespeople must not provide too much information and become mired in minute details, halting the momentum of the appointment.
This is another reason why a script is incredibly important. Only with a script can you quickly train a salesperson to present themselves as a roofing expert while only presenting the information most pertinent to the homeowner.
This education must occur in a logical order and must not be the salesperson lecturing the homeowners on various roofing materials. I have been in too many homes with salespeople who quickly jump from point to point with no logical flow to the presentation:
“Wood shakes dry up and become a fire hazard. Asphalt shingles dry up too and start losing their granules. You said you’ve heard of synthetic slate? Well, the plastic is unproven and has a poor track record of maintaining its color after UV exposure. You ready to look at metal options?”
Education takes time – we spend 30 – 45 minutes of our presentation reviewing roofing options other than metal – and must be presented in a logical manor. We first review asphalt shingles and show how they will not fulfill the homeowner’s criteria, then do the same for wood shakes, synthetics, tile, and slate. This process cannot be a lecture – the salesperson “telling” why the products are not appropriate – but rather a fair review of advantages and disadvantages followed by ASKING the homeowners whether they believe it is the best option for them. If needs analysis and education was done properly, and you are in front of a viable candidate for metal roofing, we lead them, one decision at a time, to determining metal roofing is the only option that meets their criteria.
We often hear salespeople object to providing this level of education, believing they will inadvertently sell the homeowners on their competition. There will of course be the occasional homeowner whose best option is not metal roofing, but what these salespeople do not understand is this education becomes their most powerful closing tool. If a thorough needs analysis was followed by an in-depth education of all available options, with the homeowners deciding along the way that the other options do not meet their criteria, you can close with:
“Now Mr. and Mrs. Smith, we have completed a thorough analysis of your current roofing situation and established your criteria for your next roof. We then reviewed all the options available and determined none but metal roofing installed by us met your criteria. If we can fit this project into your budget, is there anything preventing us from moving forward on this project today?”
You have now distilled it down to only a matter of whether or not they can afford it.
We are incredibly passionate about this consultative approach and consistently find it employed by the most successful companies in home improvements. If you would like to discuss more or have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the phone numbers below.
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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