A Friendly Reality Check

Sunshine & Rainbows
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I’ve never been a great recruiter for roofing sales. 

Fundamentally, I have a sincerely held belief that it’s wrong to push another human being into a career where 9 out of 10 folks will fail inside the first 90 days.

I think it’s wrong to promise endless days of sunshine to a person desperate for the slightest ray of hope, don’t you?

There isn’t one person in the full-time business of roofing sales a full year after they’ve started who can’t list by name the people they’ve personally seen fall away. Some got away just in time to save their car from repossession, getting evicted, or losing a relationship…some did not.

This job isn’t for everyone.

Heck, at times it’s barely worth it for anyone. 

When roofing sales is good, it can be very good. When it’s bad, it can be disastrous.

Why Do Roofing Salespeople Start Roofing Companies?

This is the primary reason why the overwhelming majority of successful salespeople eventually go on to start their own roofing company.

When business is slow, and the margins are thin, it is easier for a good salesperson to invest their time running the other aspects of the business than to continue giving up 50%, 60%, even 70% of the profit. This is especially true when the salesperson finds and develops all of their own business.

They think to themselves, “Door knocking is the hardest part of this business. Why am I giving up all the profits when I have the hardest job in the company?” After all, nothing happens until somebody sells something.

Almost everybody who owns a roofing business today started somewhere in sales or production.

Very few company owners were handed the reigns through inheritance or purchased the company as an investment. Successful roofing companies are successful because they have good people in high positions with hands-on experience in both sales, production, and organization — usually, that happens because a great salesperson or installer decides to take the leap and do their own thing.

The Great Challenge of Roofing

The great challenge in learning the business of roofing is that opportunities to grow often disappear faster than learning how to take advantage of them happens.

I’ve often said that many people have the ability to make some money in roofing sales for a few weeks after a fresh storm. Eventually, they run out of relatives and friends. After the easier sales are sold all that remains are the sales that take real skill, technique, and experience.

The 90 Day Drop

Most rookies don’t learn enough in the first 90 days to survive the next 90.

They may have leveled up in their favorite video game but they haven’t leveled up with their competition. They get choked out and fail.

As an entrepreneur, my job is to identify long-term revenue opportunities that I can scale into stable, growing income.

I only invest in people and processes that have a high potential to create a mutually-beneficial future.

Not every prospect you talk to is worthy of your goals. The salespeople that make it past 90 days learn to quickly recognize the difference in good prospects and bad prospects.

Not every salesperson who answers your classified ad is worthy of your long-term objectives. The companies that make it longer than the 2-year small business failure rate learn to recognize these differences in good and bad help. Failing to do so can be fatal in bad press, stolen checks, or untapped opportunities.

Your job right now, today, is to recognize that your opportunities are expiring at an ever-increasing rate.

Unless your sales ability is increasing at a faster rate than your opportunities are decreasing, you will also be among the have-beens.

That’s just a friendly reminder from somebody who cares about you.


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. His expertise is coaching roofers to the next level of success.

Facebook Comments


  • Tony

    Reply Reply May 13, 2016

    Hello Mike,
    I just came across this article today, (almost a year later), and was a bit surprised. Yes, I agree, this job isn’t for everyone, but it ends there. By job I would substitute ALL SALES, not just roofing. And…your beginning sentence is only 1/2 way there. Adults make their own decisions, you, as a recruiter, just show them where you think they can go.

    Here’s why the entire “sunshine & rainbows” argument is flawed, in my opinion.

    People attracted to sales are attracted in spite of knowing or not knowing you. It stands to reason that if you have to push them, they’re not really attracted, i.e., they are not the right candidate for the job.

    Secondly, this entire modern society was built on sales, heck, we come out of momma selling by crying for attention. “Drop everything you’re doing mom, I need your attention”!

    Some human beings have grown wary of sales people, (sometimes rightly so), perhaps because they were on the wrong end of a deal with a poorly trained or simply unscrupulous sales person. In turn, that has carried over whenever they find themselves in the salesman’s shoes. If you have a funny taste in your mouth about sales, then, guess what? It’s not for you! No need to apply!

    On the other hand, open minded individuals, armed with the knowledge that sales is what really makes this world turn, (and some good sales training under their belts), can go out there and literally tear it up.

    The reason for that is simple. They understand the psychology of the “NO”. Of all the thousands of “No’s” I’ve received in my life, I simply cannot remember one that was meant for me, personally. They have never changed my birth date, my dog greeted me exactly the same way each evening, regardless of the number of no’s I had received during the day, and I was still able to get up the next day and do it again.

    Why? Because, a NO should never define a person. I never made a NO into a life-changing event! I knew that if I didn’t get moving, someone else would and they would receive a “Yes” that was meant for me. I had earned it. In my mind, I needed it more.

    Yes, sales is not for everyone, (even-though everyone benefits from it), but, saying the recruiter should be on a guilt trip, is a bit harsh. Don’t you think?

  • Rene Michaud

    Reply Reply August 3, 2015

    Hi Mike;

    I highly recommend you read the book “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek and also watch the Ted talk video on YouTube (Simon Sinek the Golden Circle). He has also published 2 books one with the same title, “Start with Why,” and the other “Leaders Eat Last”.

    I’m sure these books will rank up there with Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill some day soon, especially with the younger generation.


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