Do you find it hard to believe that it is November? I know that I do. I hope that you are anticipating a great Thanksgiving with family and friends.
I saw some recent statistics and, for 2017, they reported metal at a 12% share of the residential roofing market. That makes it the second most sold residential roofing material – behind asphalt shingles. Fueling this growth, we are seeing more and more specialty home improvement contractors selling residential metal roofing. They are adding it as a new profit center they can promote to past customers and also to new customers.
Roofing is quite a bit different from windows, siding, and room enclosures for these contractors. You see, when someone goes shopping for a roof, chances are that they are going to buy a roof, and chances are they are on a short time frame. With other home improvement products, though, the homeowners usually have the option to do nothing at all, or to delay their decision for months or even years.
Roofing, however, is a necessity.
For the home improvement contractor, though, metal roofing can be confusing and even intimidating. After all, what is the real difference between all of those manufacturers? All of those metals? All of those paint finishes and stone coatings? All of those product designs and fastening and interlocking methods? How does a contractor know which to choose to offer their customers? Do you offer just one, or many?
Those are all great questions. Here at the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, we put our years of experience to work for contractors, answering those questions – guiding them through the ins and outs of a complex and complicated industry. Throughout 2018, we have been taking a look at core attributes of successful home improvement contractors. In previous issues, we have looked at Business Systemization, Professionalism, Commitment, Knowing Your Numbers, Marketing and Lead Generation, Referral Maximization, Gaining Local Expert Status, Total Industry Knowledge, Lead Qualification, and Leadership.
We continue to highlight things that will bring you to ever-greater levels of success in this, our 115th issue, by looking at a critical part of the in-home sales process – analyzing your customer’s needs. In this issue, we will look at how you can help your prospect determine their purchasing criteria and then guide them to a decision that is right for them and for their home.
Successful metal roofing contractors know how to use needs-oriented selling techniques to find and re-enforce their customer’s “pains” that may lead to a sale. I always talk about “needs” in terms of “pains” because of this analogy: Generally speaking, most people do not like to go to the dentist. But, we will go to the dentist if the pain of not going is greater than the anticipated pain of going. It’s all about being willing to “pay the piper” in order to end the pain! You use this concept when you re-enforce the pain that your customers want to avoid with their next roof and therefore you build value to justify your asking price.
A great place to start Needs Assessment is a “walk-around” of the home with the prospect. During this time, you must draw out what the customer wants to accomplish with their next roof. Do they want a roof that is more energy efficient? More aesthetically pleasing? Algae-resistant? Wind-resistant? Firesafe? Low weight? If your salesperson does not know how to ferret out customer needs, don’t let them in the house; it’s a waste of a lead.
Unless you know exactly what your customers’ pains are and what they want to accomplish with their next roof in order to end those pains, you can never present your product as a solution to their needs. A roof is never “just a roof” – it is the answer and solution to the problems, fears, and goals that your customer has!
Again, you want to find out if they care about energy efficiency, if they care about aesthetics, if they care about fire safety, and so on. Once you figure this out, you continually re-enforce those things. Then, when you go to close the deal, you can handle price objections in part by reviewing their established criteria – and discussing what “pains” they are willing to continue to live with, in order to get a lower price. Your quoted price, in other words, is what it will cost to meet their needs. Any lower price, and some of their needs will not be met.
As always, thank you for being a loyal reader of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report. Please contact me anytime to talk about what’s working well in your business, or to kick around ideas on what could be better. I’d love to hear from you!
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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