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How To Sell Roofs In Heavy Competition

By Mike Coday •  Updated: 10/21/23 •  8 min read

More Competition

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.

Quick Summary

  1. Increased Competition in Roofing Sales: The article begins by highlighting the intense competition in the roofing industry, especially following a storm. Salespeople not only face seasoned professionals but also newcomers drawn by the lucrative potential of the industry.
  2. Challenges for New Salespeople: A new salesman, Mike H., shares his struggles in a highly competitive market, where numerous companies quickly converge on storm-hit areas. He notes the skepticism of potential clients due to past incidents with unscrupulous companies.
  3. Seeking Less Competitive Markets: The article suggests that some successful salespeople avoid high-competition areas, opting instead for smaller, less-known towns where the competition is less fierce, akin to finding a niche market.
  4. Analogy of Limited Competition: The author uses the analogy of a retirement community with few men and many women to illustrate the advantage of operating in an area with less competition, emphasizing the ease of standing out.
  5. The Struggle of Selling in Crowded Markets: For those who have to work in highly competitive areas, the author compares the situation to NASCAR racing, where there’s little room for error and a constant battle to get ahead.
  6. Homogeneity Among Competitors: The article points out that many salespeople end up being very similar in appearance, pitch, and approach, leading to confusion among homeowners who struggle to differentiate between them.
  7. Competition Leading to Customer Overwhelm: The intense competition creates confusion and overwhelm for potential clients, who erect defensive walls to shield themselves from the relentless onslaught of sales pitches.
  8. Customer Delay Tactics: Overwhelmed by options and sales pitches, homeowners often resort to delay tactics, needing time to process the information and make a decision. These tactics are a natural response to the confusion created by too many similar options.
  9. The Power of Authority in Sales: The article stresses the importance of establishing oneself as an authority. In times of crisis or confusion, authority figures gain more respect and attention, making them more effective in their roles.
  10. Authority as a Differentiator in Chaos: In a chaotic sales environment, true authority—gained through expertise, confidence, and genuine value—rises to the top. Salespeople who establish themselves as authoritative figures can cut through the confusion and stand out in the crowded market.

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:

Mike,

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?”

Mike H.

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?

And if you don’t really have any authority, it won’t rise to the top.

Peace,
Mike

P.S. More competition means more confusion, and the only way to beat more confusion is with more authority.

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.