You’ve done the marketing. You’ve made the investment in developing the lead, and your sales team has worked hard to get the appointment and present your solution. Now you’ve got to close the sale. Improving your close ratio, which is the number of kept appointments divided by the number of signed and paid contracts,is a critical component of growing your business. If you’re successful, improving your close ratio also offers the most immediate and direct improvement on ROI you can make as a roofing contractor.
Assuming your product is decent and fairly priced, improving your closing ratio is usually a matter of roofing sales training and helping your sales reps improve their roofing sales pitch technique. Investing in one of the many great sales training programs out there is a great idea to help you close sales and bring in more customers.
Mastering roofing sales techniques can take years for roofing contractors - whether you are selling a small patch or repair or trying to close on a whole new roof.
But you can start with these seven roofing sales tips:
1. Qualify the customer before the appointment.
Ask, “Who needs to approve the work?” Ask if all parties necessary to the approval will be present. If all parties can’t be present, try to find a time where everyone involved in the approval can be present.
This is common with couples doing work on private residents: You or your sales rep shows up, does a great presentation on a job that’s necessary, fairly priced, and within the prospect’s budget - and then instead of walking away with the order, you get “I need to talk it over with my husband” or “I need to check with my wife.”
These are called “one-legged appointments. And while sometimes they’re avoidable, you should do as much as you can in advance to avoid them. Make sure the people at the meeting have the authority to make the decision.
Qualifying your leads is especially important if your sales rep has to travel out of his or her local area. Make sure that the person they're meeting with is the homeowner or someone authorized to make roofing and other business-related decisions. regarding the property.
2. Act on roofing services leads quickly.
When you get a roofing lead on one of your marketing channels, or through organic traffic on your website, you must get back to the property owners as quickly as you can - even if it’s only an auto-generated response that one of you will contact the client within the business day. Even then, make sure your call is early in the day, rather than later.
If they triggered your inbound marketing system, chances are good they triggered someone else’s too, in the process of researching their upcoming roofing project. The first sales team to respond, and to get them on the phone to make the appointment, has the advantage.
In today’s competitive environment, that means you should have an autoresponse system set up to capture and respond to sales leads, and route them automatically to your office to forward to your reps in the field.
Responding quickly and efficiently to leads is a matter of technology, organization, and initiative.
Also, don’t buy leads if you don’t have a system and process in place to work them - at least at the company level.
3. Dress like a roofing business professional.
Roofing isn’t a suit-and-tie business. But it is a professional business, and you and your reps are out there asking affluent and wealthy homeowners and commercial landlords to write you five- and six-figure checks. Your salespeople interacting with them must dress appropriately. That means a clean, snappy, ironed polo shirt or golf shirt or dress shirt with your logo, slacks or clean, presentable denim, and a nice case or folder for documents and contracts.
Professional image is important. Don’t tolerate your field reps selling to your prospects and clients looking like day laborers, and don’t you do it either. Make a good first impression, and keep it up every time you meet with clients or potential clients. Dress with respect for every human interaction.
This doesn’t mean you don’t get your hands dirty on the job. Sometimes you will - especially with smaller companies. That’s fine. But when it’s time to do your initial estimate and sales presentation, and when it’s time to pick up the check and get referrals, dress professionally.
4. Introduce financing early.
Make sure the customer knows right away that you have an easy way to finance whatever work they get done. Offer payment options. With roofing, the customer is usually already nervous about what it’s going to cost them. Put their mind at ease by saying, “I want you to know from the outset that we have payment plans and financing options to make anything you decide to do very affordable."
The idea is to set the client’s mind at ease about having to pay a lot of cash upfront to get the work done. Otherwise, they may be on guard, and subconsciously trying to look for ways to get the job done cheaply, rather than financing a little bit more, and doing the job right. You want them relaxed and thinking about what’s possible, not worrying about what’s affordable.
Then when you present the price to them, you can give them a choice: Option A is the cash price; Option B - assuming they qualify - is a series of payments.
TIP: Estimate the payments a little high. Then say ‘let’s see if you qualify for our roofing financing program’ and have them fill out the app. When the payment comes out lower than you estimated, “because of their great credit,” they’ll be happy to buy, and you’ll look like a hero.
5. Build value before you talk price.
Before you can talk pricing, you have to build the perception of value in what you have to offer. You need the customer to understand that roofing isn’t a commodity - there are real differences between you and competitors out there in terms of the quality of materials and workmanship.
Mentioning price too early in the process, before you’ve taken the time to build value in your product, risks causing sticker shock. Even if you’re correct, potential customers will put you off, jeopardizing the sale. Then someone else will come in, the prospect will say, “the last guy who gave me an estimate tried to charge me $20,000 for this job! Can you believe that?”
Then your competitor guy will laugh with your prospect – even though he knows your price is right, find a few corners to cut, charge $18,500, and walk away with the order.
All because you didn’t build value in your presentation.
If you do it right and walk your prospect through the logic of each step in your estimate process, the price should not come as a surprise at all. It should be expected. Or even a little lower than they feared.
6. Differentiate yourself from fly-by-nights, uninsured, unlicensed contractors.
As a contractor, you understand that there’s a huge difference between the people who do it right, and the cheaters: Unlicensed, uninsured contractors, storm-chasers, people who use illegal labor, and people who don’t carry workers compensation insurance. But your prospect might not realize that.
So educate them. Ice out the cheaters before the game begins! Show your customers that unlicensed, unbonded, and uninsured contractors put your customers at risk. Show them how to look up license numbers and inspect the disciplinary and complaint record for your own company and those of any competitors.
Show them how to ask for a certificate of insurance for any other contractors they might hire. This protects them, the workers, and their neighbors.
That way, when someone comes in after you and bids the same work at a ridiculously lower price, many times the customer will go with you. “It was just like you said it would be,” they’ll tell you. “The price was low, so we looked into it and found they weren’t even licensed.
7. Offer an affordable financing solution from a consumer lending company that understands your business.
Usually, the customer’s bank or credit union isn’t the best choice. Their applications and decisions take too long, require too much information, and too often do not adequately serve people with some dings on their credit. Rejection rates are too high.
Credit cards can be convenient, but their limits are often too low to meaningfully finance roofing projects. And interest rates are usually too high.
Roofing sales tips can only get you so far. If your customers can't afford the repair or the cost of an entire roof, you won't necessarily get more sales. Instead, it’s usually better to work with a third-party consumer finance company that specializes in companies like yours. You can partner with consumer financing companies like Time Investment to help your customers afford your roofing services.
To get started, fill out this quick information form. One of our credit professionals will contact you shortly to work out some financing solutions that suit both you and your customers.