Angie’s List, Free Publicity, and the PR Game

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Excellent article written by Mike LaFollette for Angie's List on the subject of roofing scams.

Excellent article written by Mike LaFollette for Angie’s List on the subject of roofing scams.

Angie’s List sponsored this article last year…
Roofing Scam: The Door-to-Door Salesman

The author, Mike LaFollette, highlights the very real bottom feeder techniques used by unscrupulous door-to-door roofing sales people with supporting quotes from a reputable contractor out of Charlotte, N.C.

Angie’s List

This is a really good article for the members (and potential members) of Angie’s List.

I think the author did a great job pointing out a very real problem that the Angie’s List community will find interesting.

Information like this is why their subscribers pay good money to be members.

The segment of society served best by Angie’s List eats this information up… all the way up! Angie’s List knows and understands their target market very well.

Free Publicity

I find it interesting that articles like this are always written with a few quotes pulled from a reputable, local roofing company who is always more than willing to grab a little free publicity.

I don’t doubt for a second that the contractor being interviewed isn’t reputable and local. I’m sure he’s a great person and very competent in his trade.

I’ve always said that most of the people I’ve met in this business are really good people. They’ll bend over backwards to help you… and that’s a fact!

What I do doubt is whether or not they are fully capitalizing on the opportunity right in front of them… that hail storm, tornado, or hurricane that just blew through their town… and brought in all the door knockers.

Here’s what I really think…

They desperately want to suppress proactive sales approaches like door-to-door because they don’t have a clue as to how to go out and get their own sales.

They are waiting for somebody to call them based on their stellar reputation… and they honestly believe that should be enough.

It drives them crazy to think about how many of their potential customers are being snatched up by somebody who doesn’t work for them, won’t make them a dime, and worst of all… probably doesn’t even know who they are.

Door-to-door sales people are a serious threat to their livelihood.

 However, nothing happens until somebody sells something! 

The PR Game

I can almost guarantee that the number of people who called and signed up with this contractor because of his Angie’s List article is a small, itsy, bitsy, tiny fraction compared to the number of people who signed up with another reputable, local contractor who used door-to-door sales people.

These types of articles are vanity plays for the contractor. It strokes the ego, but they don’t deposit many checks.

However, I would still congratulate him on landing the article. Personally, I would love to get an article like this written. The PR Game is very real and you’ll eventually want a few things like this in your marketing tool box.

Here’s how I would use the article…

  • I would ask Angie’s List if I could buy glossy re-prints of the article.
  • I would have the article printed up by the thousands.
  • I would give a big stack of articles to every door-to-door sales person in my office.
  • I would ask them to give a copy to every person they talk to while out door knocking.
  • Finally, I would give them a special script to say at the door that would help me get even more sales by leveraging the article.
  • No! I won’t tell you what I would tell them to say.

Tools vs. Sales

I’m not against Angie’s List. I’m for it!
I’m not against the BBB. I’m for it!
I’m not against PR. I’m for it!

All of these things are tools, but only tools.

Not one of them will get you a sale on their own.

Since nothing happens until somebody sells something, just one good sales person without the help of any of these tools will outsell the best, most reputable roofing company using all of these tools who sits back expecting the phone to ring off the hook because they were just featured.

I’m not suggesting that these companies don’t have any sales ability, but they shoot themselves in the foot when they voluntarily take away the proactive marketing advantage of door-to-door sales in exchange for a little bit of publicity in front of a limited, albeit fiercely loyal, audience like Angie’s List.

Angie’s List is a great tool and I want my sales people to have access to the very best tools they can get their hands on.

I don’t want you to read this article and walk away saying, “Mike doesn’t believe in Angie’s List or the BBB.”, because that’s not true.

I strongly believe in them to help me reach the target audience they best persuade to do business with my local, reputable roofing company. If you’re not working with Angie’s List, you probably should be… same with the BBB.

…but I don’t trust them to make the sale!

Tools don’t make sales; sales people make sales.

Never forget that!

Peace,
Mike

P.S. I’ve just released a new 2 CD Set called “Getting Started in Roofing Sales.” If you have rookie sales people working with you, pick up a copy for them. It is a good investment.

About The Author

Mike Coday

Mike Coday is a retired youth pastor turned serial entrepreneur, roofing marketing consultant, author, speaker, sales trainer, and sentimental family man. He specializes in helping serious roofers launch their roofing business to the next level.

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3 Comments

  • Eric

    Reply Reply October 5, 2013

    I am always amazed that the “scam” is we point out damage that a homeowner may have to their roof. The insurance company sends out a representative and if he agrees with our assessment pays the home owner money to repair or replace. We cant twist the adjusters arm and force him to write a check. The “scam” is that insurance companies sit quiet after most storms and hope customers stay quiet and dont call them. In most construction scams that ive read about involve giving contractor too much money up front and they never show up to do the work. Where is the scam knocking and pointing out damage?

  • Mike LaFollette

    Reply Reply April 30, 2013

    Thanks for linking to my article.

    • Mike

      Reply Reply April 30, 2013

      Absolutely Mike. You are a good writer.

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