What Does It Take To Be Successful?
FW Dodge shows that metal has a 14% share of the residential roofing market in the United States. And that growth is accelerating. Many successful “replacement product” home improvement contractors have integrated metal roofing into their businesses. The requirements for being successful are very similar to any replacement product but considerably different than they are with conventional roofing shingles. In this issue of the Executive Report, we will provide an overview of these requirements for success. In future issues throughout the course of 2018, we will dig into them more deeply.
Being a higher investment than many other roofing choices, homeowners will expect their metal roofing contractor to have a level of professionalism and attention to detail that reflects the level of investment you’re asking them to make. Otherwise, they will never do business with you.
Contractors who are successful with metal roofing are committed to it. Their belief in the product they offer means that, throughout their organization, there is a true commitment to that product as being the best possible roofing option for their target customers.
Ownership and Leadership
Management, Accounting, Marketing, Lead Generation, Appointment Setting, Sales, Installation, and Follow-Up are critical areas for all businesses. Successful contractors have dedicated leadership in each area with a team consisting of qualified and caring individuals who accept and embrace ownership for their various piece(s) of the puzzle.
Generating leads, running appointments, and managing jobs are all major considerations of their own but a successful residential metal roofing business does so much more as well! Having defined systems in place in your business is the only way to consistently deliver the desired results and lead to success. Don’t know where to start in systematizing your business? Read “The E-Myth” by Michael Gerber.
Attention To Numbers
Knowing your numbers is key in any busy but particularly so when you are in a business that has high marketing costs and a value-based sale. If you do not track and know your numbers, it is way too easy to sell jobs short – something that never leads anyplace good.
About 6% of all homes are re-roofed each year. Of those, about 14% will be metal. Contractors focusing on metal roofing are trying to reach that 14% of the 6%. The successful ones undertake a wide variety of advertising efforts, from shows and fairs to radio, direct mail, and sometimes even television. Oh, and internet. Internet marketing is critical. Higher end customers are no longer the ones that are reached through non-digital means. In fact, your whole business must be based upon a well performing website.
The uniqueness and visibility of metal roof installations allow you to base a significant portion of your business on referrals from past customers. It is not uncommon for successful metal roofing contractors to have 30% or more of their business from referral. We recommend using a good portion of your marketing budget for activities that maximize referrals.
Local Expert Status
Leading contractors use internet content and public relations opportunities to establish themselves as their area’s metal roofing expert. This is very important as, when homeowners invest in a quality metal roof, they need someone who knows what they’re doing who they can trust. Every homeowner seems to have their “roofing guy” in mind who they intend to turn to when they need a new roof. In order to break through that noise, you must gain visibility as your area’s metal roofing expert.
Total Industry Knowledge
High value sales involve a great deal of trust. A chief way of gaining and maintaining trust from a prospective customer is to be able to show your knowledge of what you’re doing. With metal roofing, every salesperson must not only know metal roofing “inside and out” but they must fully know all competing products as well. This is not easy but it is essential. And, keep in mind, every individual in your organization will be a “salesperson” at different times as they interact with prospects and customers.
There are several components to lead qualification and the degree of lead qualification you employ may vary during different seasons of your company. For example, new salespeople need to get in front of anyone possible in order to hone their skills. The one chief indicator of a prospective metal roof customer, though, is someone who intends to stay in their home for at least 15 years. Someone who either has solar panels or is interested in solar panels in the future is also a great prospect. Look for qualifiers that go beyond price … in order to find people who will be interested in the benefits you’re selling.
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. A great place to start this is with a “walk-around” of their home with the prospect. If your salespeople do not know how to ferret out customer needs, don’t let them in the house; it’s a waste of a lead.
Successful metal roofing contractors know that, while aesthetics and long life go a long way, most homeowners must still understand the economic value of a metal roof. And, furthermore, they must understand the value of your metal roof and of working with your company as their contractor. A solid in-home sales presentation capitalizes on this.
In-Home Sales Process
Most successful metal roofing contractors have a 2 – 3 hour sales presentation. It must be well-designed and scripted but also flexible to really explore a homeowner’s pains, needs, and wishes. This presentation should include an attic inspection and evaluation as well as a “technical” sale and an “emotional” sale.
Consistent and proper installation is critical. You must have someone within your organization who has a vested interest in ensuring proper installation. Take advantage of any and all manufacturer and industry training opportunities for as many of your crew members as possible. A well-trained crew properly compensated will take great pride in working for your and for your company. They will also be an integral part of your sales presentation.
A high-ticket item like metal roofing is not a relationship that ends when the job is completed. Maximizing referrals from past customers is dependent upon maintaining ongoing relationships with past customers, maintaining your mindshare with them, and ensuring that you get referrals from them. One sale per year resulting from each past customer will double your sales each year – the numbers don’t lie!
Connection To Manufacturer
The most successful residential metal roofing contractors typically have deep ties to one or two manufacturers. They become specialists in those products, meaning that they know and understand all aspects of marketing, selling, and installing those products better than anything else. They take advantage of training opportunities from the manufacturers and receive leads from the manufacturers.
With numerous product profiles and coating options, there are many metal roofing products available today. The most successful contractors will focus on one or two products rather than offer the full gamut. In order to successfully represent yourself as an expert, you must offer your customer the product that you know will best meet the needs of them and their home, and then sell the value of that product.
Again, we look forward to exploring each of the above in future issues of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report. I wish you only the best in 2018 and, please, let us know whenever we can be of service. If you have friends who might be interested in these e-newsletters, please forward this issue to them and encourage them to register online for future issues.
Also, one final thing, please register today for the 2018 Metal Roofing Summit. This is the industry’s most comprehensive event focused on training and motivation for residential metal roofing marketing and sales. Come network with the best and brightest, March 19 – 21, 2018 in Piqua, Ohio! Registration is free.
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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