"We need more leads!"
9 times out of 10...
This is the first thing that comes to mind when commercial roofers to grow and scale.
Yes... more leads do help.
But not so fast...
Let's slow down, zoom out, and get some perspective on the bigger picture.
Leads are just one piece of the puzzle. Without a consistent flow of quality commercial roofing leads, not much else can happen.
But what happens after you get a lead?
Well, it's the sales process.
Commercial roofing contractors tend to spend a lot more time trying to drum up new projects - rather than optimizing and squeezing every last bit of efficiency out of their sales process.
This is incredibly common and most companies do this. It's a whole lot easier to try to "do more stuff" instead of breaking apart and analyzing "the existing stuff".
I'm willing to put money down on the fact that you are missing out on potential millions of dollars of revenue each and every year in your commercial roofing business by operating with "old school" processes and procedures that haven't been updated since you got into business.
Every decade brings along new advancements, improvements, breakthroughs, and disruptions.
It's up to you whether you decide to use them or not.
In a competitive and high stakes industry like commercial roofing, it's wise to use every single competitive advantage at your disposal.
That's exactly what we're going to cover here.
We all have room for improvement in our businesses. Here are some questions to get you thinking..
Are you providing a list of references before being asked?
Are you including case studies of previous commercial roofing projects to allow the prospect to envision a successful outcome through the story of one of your previous clients?
Are you selling just one roofing system or letting them choose from a good, better, and best options?
No matter what your current sales process looks like...
Don't you think there's at least a little room for improvement, optimization, and fine-tuning of your sales process?
Typically, the big breakthroughs in business come from looking OUTSIDE of your industry.
That's exactly what we're going to do here.
Let's get started...
Step 1: Ask More Of The Right Questions During The Inspection
When you are driving to perform a roof inspection, you are really about to inspect two things.
Inspection #1: The Roof
Inspection #2: The Building Owner's Mindset, Motivations, and Financial Means
90% of the commercial roofing contractors I speak with simply do not ask enough of the right questions.
Asking the right questions is a skill that must be learned and rarely comes naturally.
It's crucial to developing rapport and being able to fully understand the big picture.
If a building owner meets with 3 contractors to get 3 estimates, and you ask the most thoughtful and thorough questions...
You will stand out from the rest.
Here are just some questions you may want to consider asking:
"How long have you owned this building?"
"How long do you plan on keeping it?"
"Why do something about the roof now and not later?"
"What's the risk of leaving the roof as it is?"
"What does the perfect outcome of this project look like to you?"
"Do you have the funds for the project ready or is that still in the works?"
If you’re asking the right questions, you may get some pushback.
That’s perfectly OK and to be expected.
You’re prodding and digging deeper than a typical commercial roofing contractor.
Here is how you can get the conversation back on track if you receive some form of pushback from the building owner.
Building Owner: "You're asking a lot of personal questions..."
You: “Mr. Building Owner, I’m assuming that you’ve been to the doctor before with an ailment that bothered you, correct?”
Building Owner: "Of course/sure/yes”
You: “Now when the doctor sat with you, did he just take a glance at you and start writing a prescription right away?”
Building Owner: “No, I guess not”
You: “He probably asked you a few questions to learn more about your problem, right?”
Building Owner: “Yes, good point”
You: “Mr. Building Owner, I’m just trying to learn as much as I can about your situation so I do not commit roofing malpractice. I simply want to make sure my proposed solution is based on accurate information and facts rather than my assumptions.”
Then move on with your line of questioning…
Make sure to take notes and actively listen when the building owner speaks.
A technique called “Mirroring” is very effective for this.
You simply repeat the last two or three words of the building owner’s sentence after he’s finished, which will show him you are listening and typically urge him to share more information with you.
This process may seem uncomfortable at first if you're not used to asking layers of questions.
That’s perfectly normal, don't worry.
Ask enough of the right questions with the right intentions, and the building owner will help you sell himself. There's a reason why we have 2 ears and just one mouth.
In the next section, we will discuss using Drones and a FLIR camera to set yourself apart.
Step 2: Set Yourself Apart With FLIR Analysis
In this section, we will discuss using Drones and a FLIR camera to set yourself apart.
You're going to need to prove two things to the building owner to win the job.
First, you'll need to prove what condition the roof is in.
Next, you'll need to prove why you're the company that's best suited for the job.
Both of these tasks are made much easier if we can collect and deliver the proper evidence in the right way.
This is where a FLIR equipped drone becomes invaluable.
This little guy will set you back only $1,900 which is the cheapest you'll find a FLIR equipped drone.
The Parrot Anafi Thermal allows you to capture an infrared video of the roof and the underlying wet spots.
This infrared video can be used to show the building owner exactly where the problem areas are and even included in the proposal you will send him.
If you want, you can substitute the drone for a hand held FLIR camera such as this one for $350.
The reason I love and recommend a FLIR equipped drone is simply the “wow” factor that it brings to your sales process.
Building owners are impressed by innovative technology as much as anyone else.
If you show up to the job site like no one else and inspect like no one else - you will set yourself apart from everyone else in their eyes.
Step 3: Frame Your Bid With Supporting Material
If you’re like the majority of commercial roofing contractors that I work with and speak to on a daily basis, you believe that handing in your bid is the last step in your sales process.
In fact, it’s just the beginning of your sales process. If you meet with the building owner, look at their roof, and submit a 1 or 2 page bid...
You are right - that’s the end of your sales process.
From there on you just cross your fingers, pray, and follow-up.
This is the old way of doing things.
I want to introduce you to a new way of bidding.
One that will shift the power back into your hands.
From now on...
There should be no reason to submit a commercial roofing proposal unless it has more than enough supporting information, evidence, references, case studies, testimonials, and options to help the building owner make an educated decision.
When you hand in a one or two page bid with just the price and terms…
You are doing yourself and the building owner a massive disservice.
Handing someone a piece of paper that says you need $500,000 + without providing them with as much relevant and useful supporting documentation is asking them to go out on a limb for you.
You're asking them to take a massive gamble and leaving a lot to be figured out by their imagination.
This will slow down their time to make a decision and encourage them to put it off for the future.
Please don't treat your potential clients like this.
Put yourself in the shoes of the building owner.
What would he want to see from you?
Price being equal...
Why would he choose you over a competitor? Remember, you have to do everything in your power to show up like no one else. This is where the concept of Framing comes into play.
Framing is just strategically presenting information to someone in the right order. Here is what a well framed proposal should include
1. Cover Page
A cover page which features a photo of the facade of their building, your logo, and contact information.
A sincere and personally written letter explaining your company’s WHY, your Principles, and your PROMISE to the building owner. It helps to include a professional headshot of yourself to add an extra touch.
3. Project Profile
Project Profiles allow the building owner to put himself in a previous clients’ shoes subconsciously to start visualizing a positive project outcome if they hire you.
The typical project profile includes 3 or 4 photos of a roof you completed and a write up explaining the problem and how you solved it for the building owner.
4. Inspection Report
This is where you will put your evidence. Photos, videos, FLIR footage, and descriptions of exactly why the roof needs your proposed solution.
5. Best Solution
Your high-end option. This is a very expensive system to serve as a price anchor for your Better Solution. You don't expect the building owner to select this option.
6. Better Solution
Your mid-range option. Your Recommended solution - the actual option you want the building owner to select
7. Good Solution
Your lowest cost option. This is your safety net option if the decision maker doesn't go for the recommended option.
This is where the decision maker would sign and accept the bid.
9. Testimonials & References
This is your chance to show off and instill confidence in your company. Include as many testimonials and references as you possibly can in here. The more the better.At this point, you should have anywhere from 8 to 20 pages of supporting evidence to help the building owner come to a decision.
You may be wondering about why the order of Best, Better, and Good and not Good, Better, Best. Well, it’s simple psychology. You deliver the most expensive option first as an initial shock, and then every option after that is more and more of a "relief".
It's a simple but effective method of easing the "sticker shock". If you followed steps 1 and 2 properly, you should have more than enough relevant information and proof to include in your Introduction and Inspection Report.
It also pays to clearly re-state the reason why the building owner called you out in the first place.
“Mr. Building Owner, from what you’ve told me, I understand that you plan on keeping the building for ____ years and taking care of your aging roof is of utmost importance to you because _______. I have taken this into consideration in preparing this estimate for you.”
Now we're talking!
Why One or Two Pager Proposals Are Losing You Money
A one page bid that just spells out the specs and price says one thing.
“Here is what I’ll do and how much money I need you to give me”
Which is all you need if you’re a plumber fixing a hot water heater or a mechanic doing a break job, but if you’re still here reading this guide, you’re not in that boat. Those solutions are not for you.
You sell complex and expensive roofing systems. Your business is built on asking intelligent commercial property owners for large sums of money. You’re really in the objection handling/trust building business.
Do you really want to skimp on the support evidence and framing when so much money is at stake?
Why Good Better Best And Not Just One Option?
Whenever you sell anything to anyone and you give them just one option to choose from - what you’re really doing is making the choice
“Do I do business with this company or not?”.
By eliminating the option to choose what to buy from you, you’re now lowering your chance of making the sale by making the option binary. "Buy or not buy?”
Instead... you should always try to offer Option A, Option B, and Option C. People like to have choices whenever they're about to spend money. You’ll increase your chances of landing the job by changing the question from...
“Do I want to do business with this company?”
“At what level do I want to do business with this company?”
You’re Not Just Selling A Roof, You’re Selling Your Company
Remember how I said when you inspect a roof you’re really performing two inspections? One of the roof and one of the building owner’s desires, motivations, and buying triggers.
Well the same principle applies to your bidding process. The building owner will be inspecting your bid on two fronts.
The Actual Bid - “Do I like any of the solutions and prices?"
Your Company - “Do I like this company?”
“Do I trust this company?”
“Would I prefer to work with ____ or ____?"
You simply can’t forget that you’re not going to be the only player in the game. You’ve got some stiff competition. It only makes sense to put your best foot forward in “wow”ing the building owner every time you submit a bit.
This is why I recommend including detailed Project Profiles. A Project Profile is simple. Just tell the story of the problem a previous client was experiencing. How they found you and what solution you agreed upon.
How the project turned out at the end and what the building owner said about you. Include some photos and that’s it! You’re done.
Now the building owner can read the story of someone who was in his shoes previously, went with you, and had a fantastic experience. Project Profiles bring your bids to life. They tell a story. Stories are how we learn and best accept new information.
Step 4: Provide As Many Testimonials & References As You Can
Include a list of testimonials and references as long as possible with every bid you submit. By putting all of your cards on the table and sharing the contact info of previous satisfied clients you are preemptively addressing the building owner’s concerns.
Make it easy for them to trust you. Make it easy for them to check your references. Here is a simple way to get Google Reviews or Testimonials from your clients.
We are working on collecting feedback from our valued clients such as yourself in the form of testimonials.
Would you write back to this email and answer the following questions in a paragraph?
-How did you first find us and why?
-What was your first impression when we met?
-How would you describe the work we did for you?
-What would you say to another building owner considering working with us?
Thank you in advance!
Step 5: Use Smart Bidding Software To Track Your Bids And Follow-Up Better
I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling of putting in the work to inspect the roof, bid it, and only to have to wait and chase the building owner for months and years.
Luckily, those days are long gone. With a little help from technology - you can stay in the know. You can know exactly when your proposal gets looked at.
You can know exactly who looks at your proposal.
You can know exactly how long they spent looking at it.
You can know exactly which sections they spent the most time looking at.
You can even get a text message or email notification whenever any proposal you have submitted is looked at.
How is this possible?
Easy - proposal software has come a long way.
Just take a look at the one we’ve developed for our clients, BidEngine.
BidEngine allows you to create commercial roofing proposals in a snap using pre-saved templates. Putting together a proposal is easy when you’re “assembling” it instead of creating it from scratch. Once you’re ready to send it off, the decision maker will get an email with a link to view the proposal.
Because it’s a hosted proposal, you can include video, images, in-proposal chat, electronic signature, and even accept a deposit electronically.
Again - the big leap here is in keeping the proposal online instead of in print.
When your proposal is hosted online, you can monitor and track exactly who looks at it, when, and for how long.
Now you can know exactly who’s serious about moving forward or who’s not interested - before they tell you.
If they spend 1 minute skimming it or 34 minutes going into detail - you will know either way.
This is true Proposal Intelligence.
It equips you and your team with the feedback you need to followup properly.
With text message notifications, you can now make a timely call to a building owner just 5 minutes after they opened your proposal.
“Bob you won’t believe this, but I’ve actually got your proposal pulled up right now!”
I sincerely hope you found this guide valuable.
I hope it’s given you a few ideas to think about and implement in your commercial roofing sales process.
To your growth and success,