What We Learned – Dealer Meeting Takeaways
All of us here at Isaiah Industries loved hosting many of you for our 2016 Annual Dealer Meeting last week here in Piqua, OH. We all learned an incredible amount from our guest speakers Bob DeFronzo, Brian Smith, and Patrick Donadio and valued the time to network and share best practices with each other. For those of you unable to join us, please watch for information on future events and opportunities coming soon!
The theme of this year’s meeting was “The Spirit of Excellence.” Though the economy and market is certainly not ideal, most of us are no longer in the survival mode we were in five years ago. We have weathered the storm and it is now time to again focus on making our organizations Excellent. In this issue of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, I want to summarize my key takeaways from Bob, Brian, and Patrick. These are only a few of the lessons learned that can be immediately applied to our businesses and support us in our quests for Excellence.
Bob DeFronzo was the CFO of US Home Systems, a $200 million home improvement company operating in almost 40 states, and on Tuesday he shared with us “Financial Leadership for Non-Financial Managers.” When measured and managed properly, there is so much to be gleaned from the financial metrics of our business and they can serve as invaluable aide in our decision making. Only our financial reports can reveal our most profitable products, lead sources, and crews and can reveal opportunities for improvement otherwise left unidentified. Two of the critical points I learned from Bob were:
Businesses thrive when decisions are made with critical input from a financial manager. These financial managers are not team members simply processing the paperwork for payments and payroll, but rather someone steeped in the ins and outs of your business. The CEOs and CFOs of Fortune 500 companies work in lockstep with each other, leveraging their combined expertise to make the toughest decisions for their organizations. The principle is the same regardless of the size of business.
Bob also stressed the importance of considering your sales process when setting your selling price. Too many companies determine their goal profitability and set their price accordingly, but then offer discounts to get the sale, compromising their profitability. If discounting will be required during the closing process, those discounts must be defined and considered when setting your price. If you need a 50% margin and a 10% discount, your list price must be set where you will achieve 50% after the discount, otherwise you are selling the project less profitably than required.
Attendees have raved about Brian Smith of Dave Yoho Associates and his training on the in-home sales process and sales management. Brian is a seasoned veteran of our industry, starting as a canvasser and working his way up to one of the most highly regarded sales trainers in the country. Much of his background was in sunrooms, so this experience selling large-ticket items made his content and training especially relevant to those of us selling specialty residential metal roofing. His process for handling price objections was a critical takeaway for many of us in the room:
Brian taught the Dave Yoho S.A.L.E.S system for responding to objections – Silence, Affirm, Layer, Eliminate, and Solve. Especially when selling a large ticket item, we know objections are coming, why must we immediately confront the homeowner and defend our proposal? Responding first with Silence (4 – 6 seconds) and then Affirming, ie “I understand, Mr. Smith, it is a lot of money,” ensures we do not lose the rapport we worked so hard to build by the interaction escalating to confrontation. Layering is identifying the root of the objection through additional questions, revealing “we need to sleep on it,” really means, “this is more money than we planned to spend.” Eliminating is isolating the primary objection (most often price), ie “Other than price, is there anything else that would prevent us from moving forward with your project today?” Once the objection is isolated, we have the opportunity to Solve it.
Brian also taught Dave Yoho’s “Total Offer Concept”, which is incredibly effective when paired with a sales presentation based on the exclusivity of the products and services offered by your company. We work hard to promote what makes us unique from our competition – exclusive products, special installation procedures, brick and mortar locations, etc – and often this unique value proposition comes at a premium. We can justify our price by assigning a dollar amount to each piece of value as it relates to the total selling price and the premium over our competition, ie “Our gable trim that allows snow, ice, and debris to freely slide off your roof, accounts for about $1000.00 of the $10,000.00 our price is above the average metal roof being sold in our area.” By assigning this value and relating it to our price and premium, we can then ask the homeowner if they are willing to compromise on the quality of the system in order to meet the price they expected to pay. If we have done a proper presentation and demo, they would never consider an inferior system in order to save a little money.
On Thursday Patrick Donadio worked with us on effective communication and leadership within our businesses. Patrick has 30 years of experience training and coaching leaders on their communication and the impact it can have on the health and success of their organizations. The overarching theme of Patrick’s message was the level of intentionality we must lead and communicate with if we are striving for Excellence. Regardless of the size of our organizations, how we communicate and lead will impact the morale and effectiveness of our team and directly determine our success. Here was my biggest takeaway:
Patrick taught his I.M.P.A.C.T Model for communication. The “I” in I.M.P.A.C.T stands for “intention.” What is my intention for this communication? Too often I find myself so committed and focused on my immediate goal or task that I don’t first define my ultimate intention for communication. This intention goes beyond completing a particular task, but rather true leadership defines the intention as the ultimate behavior or dynamic we want to instill that will best support our team and foster Excellence. Once we take a brief moment to define the ultimate intention, we can best tailor our communication to achieve it. How can I best communicate this message so it becomes a natural process or attitude in the future? How can my communication best articulate the critical role we need this person to play in our organization? How can my communication best encourage and support them in this role? Without taking a brief moment to consider this intention, I believe many of us default to short, curt, efficient communication that fails to build us any traction or momentum over time. This is only the first step in Patrick’s I.M.P.A.C.T. model. Watch for his book, Communicating with IMPACT, releasing later this year.
Many thanks to those of you who joined us for the Dealer Meeting last week and made it one of our most successful meetings to-date. For those of you who were unable to join us, I hope you pencil us in for mid-February 2017. It is sure to be another successful and profitable few days.
If you would like to continue the conversation or delve deeper into any of this content, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at 800-543-8938 x241 or firstname.lastname@example.org. And, as always, please let me know of any ways we might be able to serve you.