Editor’s note: The following is an interview with RCS Influencer Rae July to discuss her company’s trade show strategy. You can listen to RCS’ Megan Ellsworth interview her below or scroll down to read the transcript.
Megan Ellsworth: Hello, and welcome back to the RoofersCoffeeShop Influencer responses. This is for the month of January 2021. And we have Rae July. Hello?
Rae July: Hi, Megan.
Megan Ellsworth: How are you?
Rae July: I'm good. How are you doing you?
Megan Ellsworth: I'm doing well. Why don't you just give a little intro to yourself and then we'll get into the topic.
Rae July: Awesome. My name is Rae July, and I'm an estimator with Chinook Roofing & Gutters. I have been there for six, and this is going into my seventh year. I'm one of those people that stumbled into roofing, because nobody really goes to college to be a roofer. So-
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.
Rae July: So it was of those things that I just stumbled upon because my kids were going into daycare and I was a stay-at-home mom and needed to do something. And it was supposed to be this stepping stone that I was going to get in and get enough experience doing something, so I can finally use those college degrees that I have. Because nobody really hires a stay-at-home mom, even if you're educated.
Rae July: And so I started, and within about the first three months of being there I fell in love with roofing and... You kind of know that you're going to like roofing or you have a passion for it when you're driving home and all you look at are the roofs of buildings.
Megan Ellsworth: Yes.
Rae July: So that where I ended up and I love it.
Megan Ellsworth: Oh, that's awesome. Man, yes. I can totally relate to that feeling of looking at roofs and then going, "Oh, what am I doing?" Well, let's get into the January topic, which is how important is your marketing plan for your business?
Rae July: So our marketing plan for our business is a little bit different from most people. We actually do not advertise at all.
Megan Ellsworth: Oh, interesting.
Rae July: Yes, that's why it's very different. We do have a website that we update very often, but there's no marketing plan per se as far as advertising go. We rely heavily on our relationships.
Rae July: And so we've built a lot of longstanding relationships for years with a lot of our contractors. And a lot of times when we get work, it's word of mouth. There are times when I don't even have to compete when it comes to bidding because I did a project for a contractor and he referred me to someone else and that person is like, "We're just going to work with you guys because we've seen what your work and we love it."
Rae July: So that's basically our marketing plan, it's all networking. And we have in the past done ads, but it just wasn't... We just didn't feel like it gave us what we were looking for. Our company also is just strictly commercial. We do no residential work.
Megan Ellsworth: Oh, nice.
Rae July: So there really isn't a need to do any kind of marketing through print or TV. It's just, we go to a bid board and we see a project posted and we bid that project and we rely on the work we do in the field.
Rae July: Because what'll happen is contractors are like-minded and GCs will talk to each other and say, "Hey, who did this project for you? I've got a similar one coming up." And that's how we get our referrals.
Megan Ellsworth: Wow. That's great. Honestly. I mean, so organic. I think that's the way to do it. Especially anyone who-
Rae July: I like organic. I'm going to use that word.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah. Yeah. For sure.
Rae July: Our marketing plan is organic.
Megan Ellsworth: Yes.
Rae July: I like it.
Megan Ellsworth: It's el naturale.
Rae July: Yes, exactly.
Megan Ellsworth: I love that. Yeah. That's brilliant. And I mean, you saved cost, it's cost-effective, and you have great teams and crews to back up that awesome word-of-mouth.
Rae July: Yeah. And we've actually, the cost, when we do our budgeting, the cost that we would have used for a marketing campaign, those costs are diverted into other aspects of our business. Whether it's in improving our safety plan or our guys all wear Chinook paraphernalia. So whether it's buying more shirts or adding to our company fleet, that's where those monies get diverted to.
Megan Ellsworth: I love it. Do you find that the shirts, having all the guys looking kind of similar and being streamlined, do you find that helps with that word of mouth and people being like, "Oh, these guys are for real."
Rae July: It does. A lot of times I'll get a phone call from someone and they'll be like, "Hey, I was out at this job site and I saw your guys out there." Our guys are wearing the Chinook shirt or they're driving a Chinook vehicle. "I saw your guys out there," and sometimes the guys will just give them my number or someone else's number and say, "Hey, this is who you call."
Rae July: But it definitely helps a lot because they're identifiable when they see the name of the company on the shirt. And it's they wear high-vis shirts so it's like right across the back of their shirt. So they can clearly see who they work for.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.
Rae July: So it's like, "Oh, okay."
Megan Ellsworth: I love it. I love a good company work shirt too, like wearing it with pride.
Rae July: Yeah.
Megan Ellsworth: And just like being excited about where you work and it makes everybody feel part of something.
Rae July: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely. It's like your uniform. See, I grew up wearing uniforms to school. And so I like a good uniform. [crosstalk 00:06:08]
Megan Ellsworth: I know. [crosstalk 00:06:09] Yeah. You don't have to worry about what you're going to wear every day.
Rae July: Yeah. Just worry about the shoes.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah. And then you can really make a statement.
Rae July: Exactly.
Megan Ellsworth: Well, this has been wonderful. I love the organic plan for January's topic. So thank you, Rae, so much.
Rae July: You're welcome. Thanks Megan.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, I'll see you in February.
Rae July: See you in February.
Rae July is an Estimator at Chinook Roofing & Gutters in Fife, Washington. See her full bio here.