Your customer’s needs are changing, so are you keeping up?
I hope this issue of the Executive Report finds you well. As we move into a new year, consider how things changed in 2020. Life looks a lot different in January 2021, especially as your customer’s needs shift.
Analyzing these needs means asking questions to understand their situation and applying your knowledge to solve their problems. When a customer comes to you for a new roof, they need protection from the elements, durability, and an attractive looking roof. This is a good starting point, but with more digging, you can tailor a solution perfect for them.
Getting the right information means asking the right questions. If you know how to listen, and really listen, you can apply their answers to your offerings and deliver the solution they may not even know they need.
The problem is, many of us don’t update our questions very often. We find a method that works and stick with it, and why update it if it works? Well, as life changes around us, we need to update our thinking. The outbreak of Covid-19 has forced change more quickly than usual, even in the sales world. Virtual selling is now commonplace, and face-to-face visits are rare. Much of our communication has become virtual, which introduces another wrinkle into your needs analysis. Now you need to be better at picking up information over video calls.
Not just video calls, virtual selling requires investment in many different areas of your sales process. According to Forbes.com, “virtual selling is now fundamental to growth in a market where remote selling is the ‘next normal’.” Rather than viewing virtual selling as a necessary evil in the short term, take advantage of the benefits it offers and permanently integrate it into your sales process. Take advantage of tools like virtual tours, videos tailored to your client, and virtual consultations .
As sales have changed, your customer’s lives have changed. Working from home is normal now, and as many people continue to work from home, consider how their purchasing needs and habits have shifted. More time at home means more time for renovations, planning out an addition, and fixing that leaky roof. The projects we normally put off are now impossible to ignore. Also, with people staying home, energy usage is increasing. As bills go up, a metal roof can make a big difference. Metal roofing with a high-reflectivity PVDF coating can bring hefty savings.
As people spend more time researching their options, you can show off the variety of metal roofing. They probably aren’t aware of the colors, finishes, and different metals available. Go through the roofs features, but don’t fixate on them any more than they help the customer. Instead, focus on the customer and work towards their needs.
Addressing objections through needs analysis elevates your solution even further. What if a customer asks you, “why would we choose a metal one if it costs twice as much?” Instead of waffling, explain how a longer lifespan can prevent an extra reroofing cycle or how energy savings can help make up the cost over time. Or mention the fire and hail resistance, because who can put a price on peace of mind and the knowledge that your family is safe? Maybe they live in an area with heavy snowfall and worry about snow falling from their roof and damaging their car. Show them how snow slides right off metal roofing, working well with snow guards to prevent damage to their family and property. No matter what the objection, pick up on it and deal with it decisively. If the objection can’t be overcome, maybe metal roofing isn’t their best option.
If you still see customers face-to-face or mainly through a webcam now, Covid-19 has changed the way we interact. Keep up with the changes and update your needs analysis to get your customer the solution best for them.
Thanks for reading this issue of the Executive Report, and here’s to a great 2021!
 Diorio, Stephen. “Building a High Performing Virtual Selling Channel.” Forbes.com, April 23, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesinsights/2020/04/22/building-a-virtual-selling-channels/?sh=60243813521b.
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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