Advice for a Rookie Selling Roofs

Ideas for Selling Roofs
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I get a lot of email and comments from people thinking about getting into the roofing sales business. They almost always sound something like this…

Mike

I’m looking to get into selling roofs door to door…..what advice would you give a rookie starting out?

This website is loaded with several articles that may help you. If you only have time to read one, start with this one: Before You Take That Roofing Sales Job

3 Quick Rookie Tips

#1 Leverage the 80/20 Rule

Also known as the “Pareto principle”… states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

What does this mean to you?

80% of the contracts signed in any roofing company are brought in by 20% of the sales people. If there’s 10 sales people in your office, 2 of them will bring 80% of the contracts. The other 8 sales people will only bring in 20% of the contracts.

Who brings in the most contracts? Learn everything you can from them.

What are they doing to get new business? Learn all their tips and tricks.

Why do they make more money? Copy what they do.

Where do they work? Figure it out. There’s a reason they pick those neighborhoods.

When do they work? Know when to push and know when to rest. Get that wrong and you’ll join the losers.

How do they work? They’ve got a system of organization. Learn it.

#2 Work with Honest People

Cheaters make money quick, but they lose it even faster. If the people in leadership at your new company like to talk about how they’ve taken advantage of people, chances are they’ll take advantage of you.

Find an honest roofing company. A good company will do their due diligence before taking you on as an independent contractor. They’ll want to know that you can be trusted.

If the only thing they talk about is how rich you can get and how fast you can make it, you might want to keep looking.

If they offer you a job on the spot without an interview, that might be a good warning sign.

#3 Get Paid

Sounds simple, but let me explain…

One of the most difficult things for any roofing company is to balance their cash flow.

If they have 20 or 30 jobs going on at once while waiting for the insurance company or mortgage company to release funds, they’ll need cash flow. They could easily need $100k of funding to keep everything moving.

When people stop getting paid and jobs quit getting produced, that could be a sign of slow cash flow. It happens to the best companies… but, if it goes on for very long, you may want to think about finding a different roofing company before it goes on for very long.

Many roofing companies will pay a draw when you bring in a new contract along with the insurance papers and/or a check. When your customer has paid in full, the file should be closed as soon as all the receipts come in… maybe a few weeks at most before you get paid your back-end… unless you’ve been given advances.

If you are getting advances, your advances will usually be paid out of your earned profits when the back-end checks are collected.

It can be hard to walk away when you’re waiting to get paid, but there’s no sense missing thousands of dollars in new work while you’re waiting on hundreds.

Here’s a few more articles you may want to read…

The Secret of Making Prospects Like You

A Little Mistake That Cost A Door To Door Salesman $1,000 A Week

Eliminate The Risk

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5 Comments

  • Rey Nowlin

    Reply Reply July 9, 2012

    Hi Mike,

    Great website! Very thoughtful and meaningful answers to many questions I have about roofing sales.

    I just started in roofing sales one month ago. Since starting I have made approximately five sales. One sale was a 150 foot by 50 foot auto repair business. And I have been able to sell several larger homes as well.

    I live and work in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area. On June 6th and 7th this area received two large and damaging hail storms. Soon after many out of state roofers came in to the area and saturated homes here with their sales pitches. My company is small and local which seems to be a popular selling feature we have going for us. However, when we walk door to door in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods, we get many of the same answers when the person opens their door to us. They have been bombarded with roofers and have no interest in hearing our sales pitch. Thank you, but NO. And we can not even approach many homes because they have placed a sign on their doors telling roofers to go away!

    My questions for you are these:

    1. How can we go into these harder hit neighborhoods and get their business when they have already been saturated with repeated visitations from many other roofing salesman? My fear is that all we are doing is wasting our time. Although it would seem not every neighborhood was hit hard by roofing salesman, so we try to concentrate on those neighborhoods.

    2. In these types of situations where the homeowner has been saturated with hail and then roofing salesmen, what else can I tell them that would make them want to hear my pitch? What do you do when you have a situation like this?

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be very welcomed.

    Thanks and have a great day.

    Rey Nowlin

    • mike

      Reply Reply July 9, 2012

      Hey Rey,

      Congratulations on your 5 sales! The hardest part is over. You’ve proven to yourself and your company that you are a player. That’s the biggest part of the battle right there.

      To answer your question… Yes, to some degree you are just banging your head against the wall. Knocking doors in a saturated neighborhood is frustrating and has an extremely low ROI. Of course, you can make sales, but there are easier ways to do it.

      There’s a psychological law at play here. Let me summarize it briefly by just saying, when confusion is high the value of an authority figure increases exponentially.

      Think about it in these terms… imagine a major earthquake just happened and there are people wandering dazed and confused out in the streets. Now suppose a man dressed in a police uniform pulls up and says, “Come here in this building. Move quickly. You’ll be safe.”

      The majority of people will take a great deal of comfort in knowing a police officer said they would be safe so they follow his direction precisely.

      For all we know, the guy may be a complete moron, he may be impersonating an officer or he could legitimately know what he’s talking about. That’s not what’s important.

      What’s important to understand is that he is an authority figure operating at a time of confusion. His direction has become extremely valuable.

      Now contrast that image with just a regular Joe wandering around barking orders. He probably doesn’t carry the same weight, does he?

      The question is, how do you establish your authority in the middle of all this confusion.

      I have some answers for you, but I would like for you to think about it and reply back.

      Mike

  • Robert Bruce

    Reply Reply June 16, 2011

    I have been in roofing for 2 years now, where I am the only salesman. I have learned by trial and error on just about every situation except for one. I am peeking the customers interest, earning thier trust and bending over backwards to prove my willingness to work for them. This is only successful if I get the contract.( well thats stating the obvious) My question is HOW and WHEN do I have the customer sign with me. Too many times, I have done the leg work only for the customer to sign with another contractor. Please respond.

  • Einar Wus

    Reply Reply June 4, 2011

    Hey Mike!

    Some very good tips here, especially point number 1. I always tell new salespeople to spend one or two days with some of the best performing people in the company. Not only is it the best way to learn whats working, and whats not, but “seeing is believing”.

    • mike

      Reply Reply June 4, 2011

      That’s so true… seeing is believing.

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