In this issue of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report we are going to continue our conversation on the Hallmarks of a Successful Metal Roofing Contractor and discuss the benefits of systematizing your business.
Systemization is a critical topic for any high-functioning organization, but even more so for us as we strive to building sustainable and successful organizations in the niche market of premium, specialty metal roofing. Though there are obvious benefits –insulated from competition, unique marketing messages, increased profitability, etc. – there are added complexities, at every level of our organizations, that simply wouldn’t exist if working in a commodity business.
- We must manage greater marketing budgets and must make the most of every lead we generate.
- We sell at a value-added price level so need a sales system to articulate the value of our products and other systems to ensure we are not forced to sell higher than need be due to mismanagement or waste.
- We cannot run to a big box store or traditional distributor when we run short on a job due to mis-measuring or wasting resources, costing us dollars on unforeseen materials and precious time to complete the project.
Defined systems allow us to manage these complexities effectively with the goal of running an efficient organization while providing the highest level of customer experience possible. Our most successful dealers have systems at every level of their organizations, so every team member knows exactly what they are to do and how they are to do it, to guarantee efficiency and customer satisfaction.
In marketing, we must generate a cost effective lead, provide a positive first impression of our organization, and convert the lead into an appointment. We are going to talk about the importance of tracking numbers in a later Executive Report, but developing a system to accurately track your marketing dollars and their effectiveness is critical. We must also develop systems for managing marketing efforts that might be less expensive but require more effort: social media, blogging, E-Newsletters, etc.
Systematizing and scripting any position with direct contact with potential leads and customers will better guarantee a positive impression and increase our chances of converting them into an appointment. Providing team members in your call center and home show booths, or those hitting the streets to canvass, with a script and system best equips them and your organization for success.
We have devoted many past issues of the Executive Report to the importance of a defined sales system. Our dealers with a selling system and presentation consistently close at a higher percentage. Using a system we know is successful gives us something to measure to. If we are in a slump, we can record ourselves and compare and measure back to the system. If we hire new salespeople, a system gives us a means to train and equip them for success. When we spend a significant amount of money to generate the lead and convert it into an appointment, we must give ourselves the best opportunity to then convert it into a sale. A sales system is the only answer.
By giving our salespeople a successful system, we also prevent them from resorting to hard-closing, arm-twisting, heavy-discounting sales tactics that compromise our customer’s experience. We hear from homeowners every week who have had the unfortunate experience of a disrespectful salesperson at their kitchen table. These salespeople don’t have a system, a system they could rely on rather than their closing and discounting tricks.
Systems in production for properly measuring, ordering, and installing a project may be the most critical systems in your entire organization. Whether you have a salesperson or other team member measure the roof, having defined guidelines and paperwork prevents having to return for missing measurements or your purchasing department receiving materials lists on scraps of paper. And your purchasing department working closely with your partner manufacturer or distributor will create a close relationship built on successful systems to manage lead times, shipping arrangements, and quality.
Having systems for your production teams will ensure every project is installed the same way, to the manufacturer’s specifications, with no room for improvisation. By your crew having a system for flashing vent pipes and skylights, managing every other element of the installation, and knowing each of their individual responsibilities, you will ensure the highest level of quality in the most efficient method possible, both directly contributing to your organization’s overall efficiency and your customer’s experience. You also won’t lose money, consumer confidence, or referrals by having to return to the project due to improper installation.
Also, by having a system for your production teams to report their time and material usage back to your Controller or CFO, you can properly manage your costs and allocate the appropriate amount of time for future installations, never forcing your team to rush to finish a project and undoubtedly compromising quality in the process.
These are only a few examples where systems can directly impact the performance of you organization, both in efficiency and customer experience. You are all incredibly busy and work incredibly hard, systems will ensure you reap the greatest possible reward for all your efforts. Having proven, documented systems in place will bring great value to your business should you ever choose to sell it. In fact, systems are often the major differentiating factor that makes a business worth more than a similar business. It’s hard work to build systems into your business but it will pay off financially as well as in terms of your customer experience and the work environment for your team.
If you would like to further discuss the systems we have learned from our most successful dealers, please do not hesitate to reach out via email or either of the phone numbers below. We have examples of Action Plan templates and other things that can help you as you create a well-systematized business. In fact, we have an entire presentation on the importance of, and how to build systems, that we can deliver to your company. We would also love to learn of any other opportunities we have to serve 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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