Differentiating Yourself with Branding

By Mike Coday •  Updated: 03/29/21 •  4 min read


Pick a shingle. Any shingle.

Pick a color. Any color.

Pick an installer. Any installer.

The overwhelming majority of consumers will NOT be able to tell a lick of difference in two roofs when the shingle and color are the same.

Almost as many consumers will be totally clueless as to quality differences in installers.

Shingle brands, colors, styles, and even installers are nothing more than interchangeable widgets to most buyers.

Sadly, they are NOT defensible competitive advantages.

Want proof?

Ask any veteran salesperson who has sold a job out from another salesperson by simply matching the shingle brand and color the first salesperson presented.

Shingle colors, brands, and installers are not a solid foundation from which to grow revenue.

Why? Because they are normally easy to duplicate or substitute.

NOTE: I said normally. There are always exceptions. For instance, the Amish do an outstanding job at presenting themselves as a unique installer option. Their advantage is obviously hard to duplicate or substitute.

Actually, there’s a long list of things far more important that shingles, colors, and installers in the mind of most buyers.

If your competition can duplicate what you’re selling, you are wasting precious influence peddling the virtues of a brand you can’t defend.

If your competition can easily substitute what you’re selling, you’re out of luck when the next salesperson, with just a little more selling ability than you, starts talking to your prospect.

Brand Loyalty?

Shingle brands are NOT entirely invested in you because you are easily replaced.

They’re really only interested in two things – #1 Selling more of their brand, and #2 Getting you to help them with #1.

If you don’t believe me, ask yourself how often — and how easily — your preferred shingle brand will lose money, go out of their way, or inconvenience themselves to make things right with your customer. When there’s a problem, and it’s clearly their fault, how fast will they respond?

Will they do it in a day? Would you?

Will they do it in a week? Would you?

Will they do it in a month or within 3 months? Would you?

If you would take care of your customer faster, you already have your answer as to where you should be investing your influence.

It shouldn’t be too surprising when your favorite shingle manufacturer’s rep switches teams to play for the other side.

Neither should you be surprised when your favorite supply house starts pushing the other brand … and quits keeping a full stock of the brand you’ve got NASCAR’d all over your truck.

If you’re like I am, you know a lot of salespeople who used to sell Brand X, but now they sell Brand Y.

MONEY MAKING TIP: You make money when you buy, not just when you sell. There’s a reason why they’re now selling Brand Y.

Shingle brands are not important until the salesperson makes them important, but even then, they’re too easily duplicated or substituted by your competition.

Brands Are Tools

Brands are only tools.

Tools are only as good as the salesperson using them.

If you’re leaning too hard on your brand affiliation, or certification, there are plenty of great salespeople out there who look forward to taking advantage of your vulnerability. They can’t wait to come in behind you and take your sale by duplicating or substituting your brand. It’s almost too easy.

The only 100% Guaranteed defensible branding position a salesperson or company can take is to be fully themselves. You have to sell you before you sell a brand. As a matter of fact, you are the brand your prospect is buying.

Nobody else can be you. Nobody else has your same story. Nobody else can be your brand.

There isn’t another salesperson on the planet who can come in behind you and replace you.

You are irreplaceable!


P.S. Yes, I have been approached by brands who would like me to represent them or would like me to use my platform to influence your buying decisions. If a brand ever came along with enough money to get my attention, my advice to you would still be the same … invest in yourself first because you are irreplaceable!

Mike Coday

Mike started selling roofs in '95 while working as a youth pastor at a small church in North Texas. A decade later he transitioned to speaking at industry conferences and training outside sales teams. Today, he works exclusively as the premier consultant to roofing company owners who are driven for growth.