I get a lot of private messages and email…from all over the country.
Unfortunately, I can’t answer all of them because I don’t have enough time.
However, one sure way to get my attention is to ask a great question when you book an appointment with me.
I’ll warn you in advance that I reject 90%+ of all appointments because they’re either pathetic or spam, but this question from John got my attention:
Hi Mike: When you’re knocking doors for roof sales, what do you usually say when the homeowner first comes to the door? How do you introduce yourself and explain why you are there?
Old School Sales Training
Most of you are familiar with the sales formula AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire and then Action). Old school sales training teaches you to immediately #1 Get Their Attention. Once you have their attention, you must #2 Arouse Their Interest. After you get them interested, your next step is to #3 Increase Their Desire and finally, #4 Ask Them to Take Action.
I’m here to tell you that things are different in this day and age. What worked in sales just 10 or 15 years ago, will cost you money today. You could double your income by making a few tweaks to how you approach door knocking.
The AIDA formula hasn’t changed much in 100 years. The way you understand and implement the formula is completely different. I’m about to tell you what’s changed and how to use your new understanding to completely dominate your sales market.
Before we get to the good stuff, let’s explore why your old sales training is hurting you more than helping you while you’re out in the field knocking doors…
Advanced Roofing Sales Training
Keep reading the article below because you’ll find some really solid advice to help you right away.
However, you’ll want to check out the advanced roofing sales training available from the Roofing Salesman University. This is the same program used by some of the nation’s top roofing salespeople. If you have questions about joining the program, use the form below to request an appointment to speak with Mike directly.
The Suspicious Society
We now live in a very cynical and suspicious society. When somebody opens the door these days, there’s a little voice in the back of their head yelling, “don’t open the door! they might be an axe murderer!”
Would you open the door to somebody you don’t know?
Would you let your wife open the door to somebody she doesn’t know?
Watch the news. Bad things happen when strangers come to the door. Sadly, we quit being surprised a decade ago.
Now, we just expect the very worst to happen.
They Still Open The Door
Amazing! We all think that stranger at the door is going to chop you into a kajillion little pieces and store you in their garage freezer, but there’s still a large segment of society who will open their door to a total stranger.
Go ahead, think about that for just one minute…
Why, would somebody open their door to a stranger?
Who Killed The Cat?
Ever heard the saying, “Curiosity Killed The Cat”? People are naturally curious. We were made that way… we want the details. If you’ve ever been stuck in meaningless traffic because of a wreck on the OTHER SIDE of the highway, you know that people are insanely curious. Always have been. Always will be.
This is important… “People still open the door, despite the voice in the back of their head, because they are curious.”
In the old days, every sales person in almost every industry knocked doors. These days, nobody knocks on the door unless it is important. Getting out of your truck, walking up to the door and knocking is 90% of the battle.
MONEY MAKING TIP: You’ll make a lot more money when you stop driving around neighborhoods like your truck door is welded shut. Get out and knock because your odds of making more money go way up.
Some Folks Take Their Chances
Remember the AIDA sales formula? If you’re knocking on the door these days you’ve already kicked the first two letters in the butt… Knocking on the door gets your prospect’s ATTENTION and arouses their INTEREST at the same time. Everybody knows you don’t knock on a door anymore unless it is extremely important or you’re an axe murderer.
Some folks are still willing to take their chances and they’ll come to the door. When they do, you’ve just knocked down half the AIDA sales formula in one door-knocking blow.
Some folks won’t take their chances. They’ll act like they’re not home, peep at you through the blinds or coyly yell, “who is it?” from behind their door’s seven layers of dead bolts.
There’s Only 2 Kinds of People
There’s two kinds of people; those that will open their door to a stranger and those that won’t. The sooner you find out which type you’re dealing with, the faster you’ll make more money.
Don’t wait around forever hoping they’ll open the door. That’s lame and pathetic.
It is much better to move on quickly and have to turn around when they finally open the door late than it is to wait an extra minute while they stare at you through the front blinds trying to figure out if you look like an axe murderer. Move on baby. Move on.
Here’s another MONEY MAKING TIP: People who answer the door quickly are more curious than people who answer the door slowly. The greater the curiosity, the greater your chances of making a sale. Find the curious people.
How To Kill Your Advantage
Obviously, we know that just knocking on the door gives you an instant advantage because you’ve already got their attention and aroused their interest. That’s before they even open the door… before they even roll off the sofa, but there’s a few sure-fire ways to kill your advantage once they open the door.
What are you wearing?
This goes without saying, but if you’re wearing anything that remotely looks like what an axe murderer might be wearing, you just killed your advantage.
Okay, let’s imagine together what an axe murderer looks like by playing a game I like to call, “You might be an axe murderer if…”
Let’s start with the shoes. They aren’t very nice shoes. I’m picturing old tennis shoes with grass stains or maybe a pair of ragged out boat shoes with paint drippings on them. Even if the shoes look average, there’s still a chance that you’re there to murder, rape, and pillage.
Obviously, you have to wear pants. Even Sponge Bob wears pants, but do you wear jeans, shorts, dress slacks, khakis?
If you’re standing at the door waiting to do evil, you might wear an old pair of comfortable jeans or pants with unfashionable holes in them. Again, paint drippings or even grease stains would be a dead giveaway. Wrinkles are also a sure sign of imminent danger.
You probably wouldn’t wear a nice pair of shorts… they’re too casual… too friendly for heinous crimes. You would look more like a neighbor from down the street coming over for a weekend BBQ. Pressed slacks would also do the trick.
Same goes for the shirt. Dirty, old, stained shirts will kill your advantage.
Actually, anything that looks like you just came over after a “Business Casual” office party at a Fortune 500 corporation would be out of character for any self-respecting criminal, but that’s perfect for you.
What are you saying?
There’s a subset of behavioral psychology that comes from the pioneers of psychotherapy called NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). One of the fundamental teachings of NLP is that we use frames (yes, like picture frames) built from prior experience to interpret and understand the context of what happens to us in life.
Let me give you an example:
Suppose you just sat down to dinner with your wife and children. The phone rings and you pick it up even though nothing showed up on the Caller ID (because you’re curious). The caller immediately rattles off a phrase that sounds like this…
“Hello Mr Jones. This is ________ with ________. The reason I’m calling is because ________.”
Who is calling you?
If you answered, “a sales person”, you would probably be right. You based your answer on your life’s experience to build a frame to understand the context of that phone call. You’ve been interrupted at dinner with a phone call from a pushy sales person more than a few times in your life.
Before the caller ever gets to the reason why they’re calling, you already know they want to sell you something… and you’re “not interested!” click.
Now, you may not have thought about it before, but now you know exactly what goes through the mind of your prospect as soon as they open the door and hear you say…
“Hello. My name is _________ with _______ roofing company. The reason I’m here is because _________.”
That’s exactly right… Click. Goodbye. Get out of my yard. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
They might smile when they tell you “NO!”, but you’ve just invoked the most powerful, negative, instinctive reaction that’s known to man. Your prospect used their past experience to interpret why you’re at their front door… and it didn’t turn out good for you.
All Politics Is Local
It was Tip O’Neill, former U.S. Speaker of The House, who was credited with saying, “all politics is local”. You don’t get elected to office in Washington, D.C. until you win the political battle in your own back yard.
What’s happening right under your nose, at the house you’re at, with the person talking to you at that very moment, is the only one game that counts.
Some roofing sales people get distracted looking at the big picture. They want to take over entire neighborhoods overnight by
trashing dropping flyers on doorknobs or getting a telemarketer to torture an entire city with a tired sales script that goes, “Hello. This is _______ with _______.”
Pay attention to the person standing right in front of you. They’ll give you a world of clues as to what to say if you’ll pay attention. Watch. Listen. Learn.
After all, they aren’t interested in you. They don’t care about your roofing company. At that very moment, they could care less about how long you’ve been in business, how many nails you use per shingle, or whether or not you belong to the BBB.
All they want to know at that moment is #1 Are You An Axe Murderer?
If you can pass that test, the next thing your prospect wants to immediately know is, “Why are you interested in me?”
Dogs, Cats, and Babies
Remember, they aren’t interested in you.
You have to earn the right to talk about roofing. It doesn’t have to take a long time, but you can’t expect your prospect to sign a contract with you if you won’t show them a little respect first.
Before I give you a few ideas about exactly what to say to complete the last two steps of the AIDA formula (e.g. Desire and Action), let me warn you about dogs, cats, and babies.
The fastest way to kill any chance of making a sale after you’ve passed the axe murderer test is to diminish, even in the slightest, anything your prospect believes is valuable to them.
Trust me on this, if their dog doesn’t like you, they don’t like you.
Even if you’re scared to death of dogs because you were bit on the back of the right leg while out jogging in your neighborhood as a teenager (I won’t mention any names), you better pet that dog if they come close to you.
Don’t look the dog in the eye, but bend down low enough where you can hold your hand out, palm up, with your hand much lower than the dog’s mouth. The dog will come up to you, sniff you in a few inappropriate places and then lick your hand… usually.
Once their dog has licked your hand, you’ve just earned the right to continue your conversation with the prospect.
Same is true with cats. I don’t care if you break out in hives and sweat sprays out of your forehead. If the cat wants a little rub and you refuse, a true cat person will take that as a personal insult to them. Buy some Claritin if you have to.
Goes without saying that you should be nice to their kids. If you don’t already know that, you’re an idiot.
So, What Do I Say Mike?
Let’s review our two rules:
#1 All Politics is Local
#2 They Aren’t Interested in You
Obviously, you want to say anything that references something happening in their world (Rule #1) and then focus like a laser on them (Rule #2).
Here’s a few really good lines that make the biggest impact using Rule #1…
Neighborhood: “Hi. You may have noticed all the roofing signs around and wondered what’s going on in the neighborhood.”
Keeping Up With The Joneses: “Hello. Your next door neighbor is getting a new roof and there’s a chance you might qualify for a new roof too.”
Using any sales frame that sounds remotely like our dinner-time telemarketer is the kiss of death. Both of these approaches break the frame. You can probably think of some other lines that would work. Whatever you say, make sure to honor Rule #1 “All Politics is Local”.
Now it’s time to focus like a laser on Rule #2…
What you say here will change from door-to-door. This is where you WATCH. LISTEN. LEARN. Pay attention to the person standing right in front of you. They’ll give you clues that tell you exactly how to handle Rule #2 “They aren’t interested in you.”
Obviously, if they aren’t interested in you (yet!) then your job is to figure out what they are interested in. Dogs, cats, and babies can kill your chances, but using them for sales leverage doesn’t pass the smell test. Stay away from my kids, you freak!
They scrambled to open the door in 2.3 seconds flat because they’re hoping you’ll want to talk about them. If you strike the right chord, you’ll raise their level of DESIRE (AIDA) and earn the right to ask them to take ACTION (AIDA).
I can’t tell you what you’re going to say at this point, but I can tell you that anything that honors Rule #2 is going to beat the standard opening line every other roofing sales person on the planet is using right now.
What I will tell you is that people buy from people who they believe are like them. Don’t be a dirty, cheap trick, slime ball and try to re-make yourself into something new for every prospect you talk to. You’ll never be able to keep up with all your disguises. Here’s an article I wrote about the incredible value of being yourself.
Some Will, Some Won’t. So What! Who’s Next?
You aren’t going to be able to sell the same people the other guys in your sales office will be able to sell. We all have different personalities and strengths. You may walk away from a prospect thinking they’re hopeless, but they might be the exact right fit for another salesperson in your office.
Here’s my last MONEY MAKING TIP of this article: Find the people who are like you and who you like as quickly as possible.
If you want to explore the Law of Liking, read “The Secret of Making Prospects Like You“.
As always, leave your comments below. If you leave a good question or comment, I may write an article to help you because you probably have the same questions as a lot of other roofing salesmen.
P.S. If you would like to learn more about my personal selling system, check out my Sales Domination System: The 5 Modules of Roofing Sales Domination.