Roofing contractors often find themselves in highly competitive situations, bidding for jobs sometimes with dozens of other contractors, but standing apart from the competition isn’t just a matter of price.
Brad Humphrey, the Vice President of Human Resources Operations at Pavecon, gave roofers a crash course on creative techniques to separate themselves from the pack at this year’s International Roofing Expo. His class, ‘Four Corners of Field Leadership Excellence,’ encouraged contractors to move away from leaning to heavily on pricing models.
“I’ve won jobs and I wasn’t the lowest bid, but because I sold other issues,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey said he has had success explaining to potential customers that he can serve as an advocate for his clients.
“Now let me explain what that really means, I’m not trying to play with funny words here,” he said. “We are an advocate for materials.”
Humphrey said contractors can turn away materials if they do not meet the desired standards. He also said roofing companies can set themselves apart by advocating for safety.
He said 90 percent of roofing contractors don’t highlight their advocacy in selling points to get a job.
According to Humphrey, the four corners or field leadership excellence involve articulation, coordination, organization, and acceleration.
Articulation involves getting a point across without losing respect and building confidence in a public presentation. Coordination, Humphrey said, is lining out daily goals so there is less confusion and greater productivity.
Organization can be improved with morning and afternoon huddles amongst team members, and keeping focused on weekly goals. With the last corner, acceleration, Humphrey said time management tools can make all the difference in a roofing company.
He said good roofing companies are able to communicate effectively with clients and will apologize for specific issues when clients are upset.
“Don’t do a blanket apology,” he said. “Don’t do that to yourself. That lowers the company’s reputation.”
When dealing with clients, Humphrey said it’s important that roofing contractors have quality conversational skills and emotional impulse control.
“If you have a short fuse, and some of us do, that’s part of our DNA, you got to know what your signals are inside your body and your brain,” he said. “When you feel that temperature starting to get up a little bit warmer, you got to disengage.”
“You got to show respect for others at all times no matter how dirty they get with you,” he said.
Following through on commitments made to customers, even light ones, can also make all the difference Humphrey said.
He said even call backs to relay bad information can increase a relationship with customers and enhance the reputation of your company.
“Even if I don’t have an answer for (the customer), I want to call them back,” Humphrey said about his philosophy of keeping customers in the loop. “What’s the power of that? You’re paying attention to them. You’re following up on a commitment.”