It’s fair to say that roofing sales has become increasingly competitive over the years.
It isn’t unusual to find yourself competing with 10, 20, up to 30 or more roofing companies in the same neighborhood during the early stages following a fresh storm.
Not only are you competing against swarms of professional storm chasers, but you’re also up against the plumbers, brick layers, and foundation repair guys who just decided to get into roofing because they heard the money could be really good. And then there’s the roofing salespeople who took time off between storms to go back to their old jobs, but they’re back now! As soon as the first hail stone hit the ground, they quit their old job (again) to get right back into roofing.
Needless to say, you’re bound to find yourself trying to compete in heavy competition these days. This recent message from new salesman, Mike H., perfectly illustrates what’s going on out there in the field. Let me share it with you now:
I am new to the roofing industry (about a month into it) and very recently started working a new storm.
There are a couple challenges I would like to share with you. One challenge is it seems like 50 companies have descended on this town like flies on you know what.
The storm is only a week and a half old and almost every door we knock has some one working with them already. They all seem to know a contractor or they just want estimates from a few contractors or they just want to use someone local. This area had a bad hail storm seven years ago and they had a couple companies come here and scam people and do shoddy work so people are VERY suspicious and cautious.
I have made some progress here with telemarketing leads but have had very little success door to door. It seems like an unusually challenging situation considering it is a new storm. I have used some of the advice mentioned above and I always ask if they would like a second opinion.
My first question is, “how do I start to break down walls equivalent to the Great Wall of China,” and my second question is, “are there some cities that are easier than others when it comes to door knocking?”
Sell Without Competition
Yes, there absolutely are some cities where it is easier to sell roofing.
In fact, a few of the smart storm chasers have secretly been working these small, tucked away, no-name towns for years. They’ll setup shop in a low-mid population area instead of going directly into the belly of the beast where they have to compete with everybody else for a sale. Paintless Dent Repair guys have been doing this for years.
As an illustration, my Grandpa Brink is one of only a handful of men in his retirement community. He doesn’t have much competition for the attention of the ladies. On the other hand, the ladies face overwhelming odds because there are so few remaining gentlemen.
Bottom line, the cities where it’s much easier to sell are the cities without much competition.
Kinda reminds me of that old saying in baseball.
Selling In Close Quarters
If you have no choice but to sell in all the same places your competition is selling, you have to be prepared, and qualified, for hand to hand combat.
Think of it like NASCAR racing. There’s not a lot of room between you and the next guy. You’re all on the same street fighting to plant your sign on the same ground as the guy beside you, behind you, and in front of you. There’s not a lot of room for error. There’s just a razor’s edge difference between you and your competition.
You’re good, but they’re good too. You know your stuff; they know their stuff too. You’ve got a nice truck. They’ve got a nice truck. You wear a cool company shirt with a fancy logo just like they do. You’re certified, licensed, bonded, insured, and baptized, but so are all the other guys competing for all the same prospects.
You look the same, talk the same, act the same, and even smell the same… and that’s where the confusion begins.
Competition Creates Confusion
The specific, and scientific, reason why it feels like you’re trying to break down the “Great Wall of China” when you’re selling in thick competition is because competition creates confusion.
Prospects will quickly build extremely high and strong walls to protect themselves from the onslaught of salespeople they encounter on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour, even minute-by-minute basis following a big storm. If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve seen sidewalks packed with roofing salespeople walking door-to-door. A homeowner shielding themselves from that confusion is a very natural thing for a human being to do.
Prospects will go to extraordinary measures to insulate and isolate themselves from hearing yet another sales pitch, accepting another free roof inspection, or even answering their phone or front door. They’ll even lie and tell you they’ve already got a contractor, don’t have any damage, aren’t the homeowner, or whatever else they can say to delay dealing with a problem they’re already convinced they have.
These responses are usually nothing more than delay tactics to allow them time to sort through all of the information they’ve received in a short amount of time about a serious problem repeatedly brought to their attention by an all-too-happy gang of carnivorous salespeople — yet another puzzling disconnect for the homeowner that leads to even more confusion.
Again, it is important to note that all of these responses are simply delay tactics that give the homeowner more time to sort through the confusion of everything they’ve heard over the last few hours, days, or months. Most of them will end up buying a new roof, but the fog of confusion is too much for them to make a decision in at this moment.
Authority Kills Confusion
Before we go down the rabbit hole on this powerful technique, please go back and re-read these two articles on the topic of “Authority.”
Okay, so you’ve now read both of the articles again, right?
Authority, real authority, true authority, becomes extremely powerful during times of crisis and confusion. A police officer working a crime scene gets more respect than a police officer working over a jelly donut while sipping coffee.
Authority is a situational position whose influence grows in proportion to the crisis or confusion.
When you’re forced to work in close quarters with your competition, your authority naturally expands to meet it’s highest level of influence. Confusion forces authority to the top. It is like an off-duty firefighter who springs into action to save the life of a man choking, drowning, or having a heart attack.
Authority is forced by it’s very nature to rise to the top when it is surrounded by chaos or confusion.
If it didn’t, it wouldn’t really be authority, would it?
P.S. I’ll continue this article later because there’s a few more things to say about expanding your authority in the midst of confusion that will be especially helpful for anybody trying to sell roofs in the middle of heavy competition. More competition means more confusion, and the only way to beat confusion is with more authority.