As roofers battle against labor and supply shortages, roofing leaders find themselves under more pressure than ever.
“It’s harder right now and everyone is looking for answers to these problems because of the economic situation,” said Brad Humphrey, founder of the Pinnacle Development Group, a consulting firm that has built a reputation as a developer of leaders and a facilitator of strategic growth. “Most of the time, owners and leaders allow things to get complicated because they don’t think far enough ahead and they don’t have good strategies.”
Humphrey knows what he’s talking about. Recently, he presented a seminar on the 10 actions of successful owners and leaders at the 2021 International Roofing Expo in Las Vegas, which was among the most popular at the Expo. Here are the actions Humphrey presented at the Expo that are common among successful owners and leaders, along with some helpful explanations of each one:
1. Live and teach the acts of leadership. “Owners and senior Leaders must embrace a solid and employee-friendly approach to leading those individuals who are charged with executing much of what you need them to do,” Humphrey said. He suggests using the ACTS acronym:
2. Determine specific markets by geography and industry. “Shot-gun marketing doesn’t work. You need a clear purpose and plan to go into specific geography of work and then, the type of industry that is the best fit for you and your company. Do you like HOA’s, schools, or retail? Great! Then do your homework on best areas that your company can service and measure the amount of service both are getting to date,” Humphrey said. Basic questions Humphreys said roofers can ask themselves: what new geography and industry market should you explore?
3. Implement PDG’s 10 Points of Contact (POCs). “In these times, roofers need to power up their selling effort, and customer satisfaction,” Humphrey said. So, consider the following POCs:
- Make point of contact (in-person, phone, etc.) and discern customer needs.
- Follow-up with first POC literature.
- Call prior to meeting.
- First meeting with customer.
- Follow-up meeting with a thank you.
- Call customer to prepare them for proposed estimate.
- Pre-meeting call to confirm meeting date/time.
- Walk through bid at meeting.
- Follow-up meeting with thank you and recommended next steps including start date.
- If job won, follow-up with a personal call to say thanks. On call, confirm starting date and needed logistics. If job not won, follow-up with personal call to inquire to customer reason for selection.
4. Teach customers what they don’t know about their needs. “The Challenger Sale, is a great book that provides some proof that customers don’t want you to tell them what they already know. Lead your sales efforts to tell the customer what they don’t know. What might that represent to your customers?” Humphrey asks. He suggests roofers consider a possible list of “don’t know” suggestions:
- History of their roof.
- Patterns of their area. what is going on there?
- Long-term superiority of your solution offerings.
- What other properties are you winning and why?
- Costs associated with different construction methods to gain clarity of comparisons.
5. Create target solutions and market. “When a customer presents a problem that you know they are dealing with, and you have a ready-made solution, you will see less resistance to the solution and faster buying,” Humphrey said. He suggests considering a solution for each of the following issues:
- Customers are confused as to actual stats on new roofing materials and methods.
- New tax base will expand potential new retail and other service providers. Property management companies will need to expand and enhance current services to their customers.
- Several school districts with new school building projects prepare to go to referendum.
- Insurance and what I should pay for personally?
6. Tell customers what you will do for them. “Determining what the ‘pinch’ points are for a customer is part of Sales 101. Your company must determine where they hurt and how much the hurt is. Once identified, lead your sales folks to provide the customer with answers, security, and confidence,” Humphrey said. He suggests a few “What we will do for you” solutions:
- “We will save you 10%–15% in future roofing costs to your budget.”
- “Our job is to make your job. . .easier!”
- “We guarantee ‘no hassle, no worry’ construction.”
- “Your employees will not even know we’re here.”
- “You will not lose any customers while we are working.”
7. Promise one incentive that no competitor can promise. “This can be both tough and challenging but you must find at least one incentive for your customers that no other contractor can offer,” he said. Consider the following areas that may be very difficult for any competitor to match.
- “Money-Back” to customer if the project is completed earlier.
- Scheduled follow-up maintenance for period of time.
- Discounted fee on future jobs.
- Regular updates on work progression including photos sent via e-mail or texting.
- Provide “24/7” consulting/warranty support!
8. Be “Fast & Furious:” Fast to respond. Furious to perform. “It is still amazing how many contractors do not respond quickly to calls that come their way,” Humphrey said. “Think about this reality. If you just respond quickly, you will get the first shot at work that other contractors don’t even give themselves the chance to bid.” But once roofers get the bid, Humphrey said they must perform the work ‘Fast & Furious.’” A couple of techniques:
- Create “pre-call” sheets with every category you need for more thorough/educated interaction.
- Commit to a one-hour return call for customer calls.
- Commit to a one-day return on bid requests.
- Provide a “pre-roofing” schedule at bid time to demonstrate your company’s speed and superiority!
9. Engage current customers with selling to new customers. “Happy customers are only too happy to sell the good experience they had with you,” Humphrey said. “So, engage your current customers, those with whom you have had an exceptional experience with to assist you.” Try some of the following engagement techniques:
- Schedule two to four “lunch and learns” or “breakfast and brief” to invite a mix of current customers and prospects.
- Ask to post signage on competed work. ask for additional “show” time (one to three months).
- Schedule “show time” for completed work and have satisfied customers serve as facilitators.
- Create a “Book of Memories” for customers to share with other potential clients.
- Ask the satisfied customer for three to five references—people whom they are close to.
10. Create proposals that outshine your competitors. “Assuming that you are competing with more contractors than ever, what is going to help a customer pick you out of the crowd In a word, differentiation,” Humphrey said. “You must create a look about your proposal that is different in style, easy to remember, and sets your proposal apart from the others.” Here are a few of the ways Humphrey said successful contractors have differentiated their proposals to stand apart from their competitor’s bids:
- Placed bid on different colored paper.
- Bid delivered with a brand new one-dollar bill!
- Bid presented with a 10% coupon providing a discount IF bid is accepted by a certain date.
- Cover page which is simple numbers of bid with the following pages of definition/descriptions of work to be completed.
- Bid complete with pictures of current needs and new “photo-shopped” pictures of expected completion state.
- Bid placed on paper that has a faint background image of customer’s interest such as a favorite sport, favorite sports team, hobby, industry, etc.
“Ultimately, there are many actions we can take to acquire, build, and retain more business while also strengthening and positioning our own company for the long haul ahead,” Humphrey added. Finally, he encouraged roofers not to overlook the simple things like:
- Showing up when you promised.
- Performing quality work. . . the first time.
- Being kind and respectful to the customer.
- Being kind, respectful, and investing with employees.
- Responding with a sense of urgency and concern.
- Following up with customers even after work is completed.
“All of the basics must be maintained. These tips will stimulate greater efforts, thus moving the bar higher for your company,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey will be presenting the following seminars on Feb. 3 at the IRE New Orleans:
- 7:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.: Managing Customer Expectations
- 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.: Boot Camp for Field Leaders—Four Corners of Field Leadership Excellence
For more information about educational sessions, click here.