Roofing companies need salespeople to create leads and convert them into customers. As a salesperson working in roofing, you’ll need knowledge about roofing products and the specific kinds of sales strategies that are most likely to work to convert the roofing customers your company is trying to serve. Jumping right into the world of sales can be daunting, not least because you can expect potential customers to reject you very frequently, especially at first. However, with the right mindset, education and strategies, you can successfully sell roofs. There’s plenty to learn, and in this guide, we’ll walk you through the whole sales process with actionable tips to help you improve. We’ll also cover information you need to know before you approach a single customer.
Heading right to knock on a door without any preparation is often a mistake. The world of roofing sales is not unlike other sales positions, where the company should provide you with appropriate training before you begin. If you have experience with sales, then you may need training to understand roofing. If you have experience with roofing, then you may need education in sales. Ideally, you’d receive training in both. Every company you work for will have different offerings and brand identity, not to mention they may use different sales techniques for different kinds of customers. You will need to know all of this and more.
Your training should consist of at least these basic components:
Beyond the training you receive from your company, there are a few things to consider on your own before you start talking to homeowners.
Depending on the roofing company you work for, prospecting may look different to you. You may be canvassing or performing door-to-door sales. In this case, your canvassing process may be looking at which neighborhoods are most likely to need roofing work or which neighborhood your company may want to target. Or you may be cold-calling or following up on leads that your company gets you through marketing initiatives.
Qualifying is all about finding out whether the customer you’re talking to is a good match for the roof that you’re selling. In all sales, there are three basic components to qualifying: pain, budget and authority. Here’s what they look like in the roofing industry in particular:
How do you find out if your prospect has these three qualities? Right after you introduce yourself and explain why you’re at their door, start asking open-ended questions that can help you find answers as well as build rapport. It isn’t wise to directly ask an uncomfortable question like: “Can you really afford a new roof?” However, people will volunteer information when you get them talking. Options for open-ended questions include:
You may start with these questions or with a script that your company has given you. Then, over time, it’s likely that you’ll come up with your own unique questions that feel most genuine coming from you or which are most successful with the individuals that you’re selling to.
The secret to this step is to listen carefully to what the prospect says to you. Some salespeople believe that it is a smart strategy to rush at a customer and get a whole pitch out before they have even listened to a word the prospect has said. You might get more people to reluctantly let you on your roof with this strategy, but, overall, it is less successful and can be a big waste of time. If someone is not qualified, they will not buy your services. Further, such an aggressive strategy can be off-putting even to those who do need a new roof. If you don’t actively listen to their situation, you will likely lose out on sales because you won’t understand their needs.
Once you know that your prospect is qualified, it is time to pitch to them. Pitching is essentially offering your services. You communicate that your company has what the customer needs and the value that these services provide to the customer. There are plenty of different pitching strategies, perhaps even one for every salesperson. You will probably start with the pitching strategies that your company has taught you. Over time, you’ll learn to present a slightly different pitch based on the information you learned about the prospect in the qualifying stage. You may also develop your own unique strategies to sell in your specific market.
We’ll go over some common strategies used to sell roofing below. You’ll need to start some of these strategies right from when you come into contact with the homeowner during the qualifying stage.
Things To Include in Your Roofing Pitch
As we discussed above, your pitch should be highly tuned to the specific prospect that you’re working with. You should be comfortable enough with it to drop certain parts, respond to your prospect’s thoughts and adjust it in other ways as you figure out what matters to them. However, you should still have an expansive script so that you can draw on any element that you’ll need. Here is a general list of things you could include in that pitch script:
Closing is the lynchpin in the selling process. It is essentially asking the prospect if they are ready to buy from you, sign the contract or schedule their roofing work. As you would imagine, people have very different strategies for closing, even within just the roofing industry. Some roofing salespeople find that they need to schedule a second appointment or follow up with the homeowner to close. Others feel that second appointments aren’t necessary, and they can close during their first meeting. You might find one strategy or the other works better depending on your pitching strategy and the kind of prospect you’re talking to. Your best closing strategy will be unique to you. Still, there are plenty of closing strategies you can try before you find what works and some information you should know to make it easier.
You can tell that your prospect is ready for you to approach them with a closing offer with body language. CHEF is an acronym for body language coined by Zig Ziglar. Each letter represents a signal that indicates your prospect is ready for you to close. C stands for “chin or cheek”; H is for “hands”; E is for “eyes”; and F is for “friendly.” Acting friendly, making eye contact and touching their chin or cheek, or touching the palms of their hands together are very strong signs the person is ready for your closing line.
When you attempt to close on a prospect, they may bring up objections. When they do, remember LAER and try to help the prospect with the objection honestly. Of course, sometimes, the objection is not a real hurdle, but an excuse to say “no.” If you sense this, you should accept the objection because that helps the prospect feel respected, and it may turn into a sale later.
If the objection is real, you should have a plan on how to address it and get back to closing. This has to be honest persuasion, where you really address the person’s objection in order to get the sale. Examples of common roofing objections and how to handle them include:
There are many more potential objections. When you hear an objection that you don’t have a strategy for, you could write it down and spend some time preparing to handle it next time.
When Closing Fails
What if it didn’t work? You can always talk to the prospect a bit more and then attempt to close again. Most salespeople will try multiple closing techniques before giving up or scheduling a time to speak to the prospect again. However, be sure not to harass them.
You will fail to close most of the prospects you talk to unless they are very well-qualified by your company first. That’s perfectly normal, so try not to let it discourage you. In fact, getting to a “no” faster is good, as it gives you more time to spend on prospects who might say “yes.”
Closing Different Kinds of People
You may find that there is a closing strategy that works for one kind of person, but fails to work for others. Over time, you’ll need to develop multiple closing strategies. You’ll also need to learn which ones to try based on your prospect’s income, personality, gender and other characteristics. As a newcomer to the world of sales, you’ll likely be best at closing people who are like you. Talk to more experienced salespeople to learn about other strategies you can use for people who are not like you.
This is the last step in the sales process. While you’ve already made your sale at this point, you don’t want to gloss over this. You follow up with your customer after the roofing work has been done to ensure that they’re satisfied with the work. This helps you establish a long-term relationship with the customer and can help you generate more sales. A satisfied customer may review you positively, be more receptive to giving you referrals and call your company back when they need roofing work in the future. A follow-up is as simple as a call, email or text to ask the customer how it went. Just listen, accept feedback and thank them again for choosing you.
Now you’re armed with techniques and strategies, but you may still find that your first few days or weeks as a roofing salesperson are less successful than you’d like. How do you improve? There are a few ways you can hone your sales strategy faster.
Many companies have a policy of assigning new salespeople to shadow experienced salespeople to show them the ropes. An experienced salesperson will have their strategies and will have honed them for the specific kinds of prospects that your company deals with most. Learning from their experience will help you be more successful at first, even if you need to develop your own techniques as you grow.
Often, the best way to grow at anything is to keep a record of your successes and failures. We suggest keeping track of every single sales attempt, whether it was successful or not, and other information that might help you improve. You could track:
After you have tracked your results for a while, you can review them and analyze which strategies are most successful. Hopefully, you’ll have some important insights, like that a certain closing style works more often, or a certain change in your pitch does well.
The company you work for probably has dozens of other salespeople who face the same challenges you do. Hopefully, there is a strong spirit of camaraderie in your company and a willingness to mentor and learn. Enroll in any additional training that your company offers you and participate in social events, as other more experienced salespeople will often talk about their strategies at these events. You may also wish to sign up for online sales courses offered by third parties.
It’ll take experience and effort to become a great roofing salesperson, but with these tips and an understanding of the overall roofing sales funnel, you’re off to a great start. You may also find that there are some roofing contractor apps that can help you make your sales process more successful.
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