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Nick Nobbe - Selling Beyond the Shingles - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Quarrix - NickNobbe - Podcast - SM
September 8, 2021 at 10:51 a.m.

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Nick Nobbe of Quarrix. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast. 

Megan Ellsworth:
Welcome to Roofing Road Trips with Heidi. Explore the roofing industry through the eyes of a long-term professional within the trade. Listen for insights, interviews, and exciting news in the roofing industry today.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Hello and welcome to another Roofing Road Trips from RoofersCoffeeShop. This is Heidi Ellsworth, and we are here today on this road trip kind of heading across country, but really looking up into the attic. Because today's topic is all about ventilation and I am so honored to be able to welcome back to Roofing Road Trips Nick Nobbe, the Quarrix Senior Product Manager. Nick, welcome to the show.

Nick Nobbe:
Thanks, Heidi. Happy to be here.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love talking about ventilation with you, which is kind of funny. I mean, I'm sure some people are like, "Really?" But you always bring such a different spin to it. You really are not getting into the technical, but getting into the sales and marketing, which is one of my favorite things.

Nick Nobbe:
Yep. Yeah, no, it's funny because I came from outside of the industry many years ago and I really didn't know much about ventilation. And I think that almost kind of worked in my favor because as I started to gain that technical knowledge over learning from some people who really knew what they were doing and just going on tons of job sites, I gained all that technical expertise, but I still had that grounding and remembering what it was like to not know it.

Nick Nobbe:
And so now what I try to do when I'm talking to people about ventilation is kind of put it in terms that people understand and help people really understand the big picture. What does this all mean really and what does it mean to a homeowner? And how do you have those conversations with them rather than just diving into the weeds right out of the gate on the technical stuff? So yeah, I try to like kind of put it on a level that everybody can understand and relate to.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So smart, so smart. And so important for the end users, for the homeowners. I want to dive into that. Before we do, can you just share with everybody a little bit about Quarrix as a company and your role there and kind of just give everybody a little bit of a baseline.

Nick Nobbe:
Yeah, for sure. So yeah, like you said, I'm a senior product manager. I'm kind of our technical guru at Quarrix building products and we do a lot of things, but really it all ties down to creating a healthy home really. And especially it's on the exterior of the home and kind of that periphery of the home so we do it. We have our attic protection line, which encompasses a lot of different products that help ventilate the attic. And so that's making sure that you're keeping moisture from building up in your attic and heat from building out and keeping that attic space healthy.

Nick Nobbe:
We also have a roof protection line of products. It's a suite of products that helps keep the roof deck above your roof dry and protected from the elements too. So we have like a composite tile and we have our smart plugs and we have pipe flashings and other things to kind of help keep that roof itself healthy. And the last is our wall protection segment and we have a variety of products to help create rainscreen systems similar with your attic, that you're not having moisture buildup that's going to degrade your walls and your siding material.

Nick Nobbe:
So that's really what we offer. It's a whole suite of products across a lot of different areas, but again, it all ties down to how can we keep the exterior of the home healthy so that way homeowners are avoiding those really costly and damaging expenses over time? And I'm kind of just the technical guy who tries to bring all these things to market, bring these things to life and kind of help educate both contractors, homeowners, and some of our distribution customers too on kind of what it all means and why it matters to a homeowner.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love that. I really think that the kind of looking at how you put it together makes a big difference too. I love the fact that you can do the whole exterior of the house and talk to homeowners about that. And I know that one of the things that you did was talk to homeowners about what they needed and what their thoughts were. And so you have some really good survey results, and I was hoping you could share those with everybody.

Nick Nobbe:
Yeah, for sure. It was probably one of the most fascinating projects I've done in my time with Quarrix because what we really were understanding is we know the industry from kind of the inside of it, but we wanted to understand it from a homeowners' perspective. So what we did was we did a series of focus groups and surveys in a variety of markets around the US and we pulled people and interviewed people who had just had their roof redone within the last six months or were in the midst of going through the process at the moment. So that was the qualifier. So it wasn't just people who had never had it done. These were people who were actually in the midst of it or had just wrapped it up. And we found a couple of really interesting things.

Nick Nobbe:
The first that you know is near and dear to what I do every day with ventilation was I was just shocked at how little homeowners knew about ventilation. 60% of the people that we polled and interviewed could not tell us what type of ventilation they had on the roof, whether it was box vents or ridge vents, or turbine vents, or some powered fan. They had no idea. So homeowners really don't know a lot about the ventilation. We did find out that probably not surprising, the bulk of the research and time they spent before their project and what they're deciding on, it's about the shingles. So we just kind of found that they didn't really think about. There's a lot of other things that go into a roof, roofing projects. So there was that, and yeah, so again, kind of a surprise to us.

Nick Nobbe:
Another thing we found too was we wanted to know why did homeowners choose the contractors that they did. What were the important factors for them? And as I'm looking at my survey results I have in front of me here, it still to this day kind of surprises me. Not a single person chose the price as the most important factor of why they chose the contractor they did. I can tell you from sitting in those focus group rooms, almost everyone consistently said that they would get two or three bids on their projects. And just about everyone told us that they did not choose the lowest bid.

Nick Nobbe:
So really what it came down to and it was about, again, 60 to 65% of people said that the number one factor was knowledge and expertise of the contractor. So they wanted to go with someone who they felt like knew what they were talking about when they had some technical questions about products or about why they were quoting the things they were doing, the things they were doing on that project. They had a really solid answer for here's how things work. Here's why I'm choosing the materials I'm using. Here's why I use this brand. And so it was really knowledge and experience was the driver for homeowners and why they eventually chose the contractor they did. So I thought those were two pretty big data points that jumped out to me during that process.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, I agree with that. It makes so much sense to me. And I think sometimes we actually don't give enough credit to the end users, especially in today's age with the internet and everything they can do on their own research. So they already have done some of the basics and they want somebody who's knowledgeable to come and share that with them. I really see when you think about the length of a roof if it has bad ventilation, if you think about the health consequences to the home if it has bad ventilation, it seems to me like not just the salespeople. But everyone within the roofing business who's in contact with the home homeowner should be pretty well-trained on ventilation.

Heidi Ellsworth:
What are you seeing on that? Bringing that knowledge and that expertise really branding in the sales and also the whole roofing process.

Nick Nobbe:
Yeah, no, I think it's so true that we need to just bring more education to the field in general. And I would say the really great contracting companies because I work with lots of companies all across the country. And I see so many now are wanting to educate their customer service teams and their door-to-door sales teams, and even their production people. It's not just the technical people or just the person who's sitting down at the kitchen table for that final presentation to a homeowner. Because it used to be that you kind of have like one maybe expert on your team and then they would [inaudible 00:09:23] the questions and you bounce the questions to them.

Nick Nobbe:
But more and more I've seen, even in the distribution side too. I do a lot of trainings and a lot of these companies, they say like, "I want my counter people educated on ventilation too. They don't need to be like a technical expert diagnosing problems out on the job site, but I want them to be able to speak to this and understand why this is important. What the function is of the product that they're selling." So I do think it adds so much value. And I do see it differentiate the contracting companies that really do put this emphasis on educating their team and not just a couple people, but the entire team too.

Nick Nobbe:
And it helps everyone because then more roofs are being done correctly and ventilated properly. And then that means you have happier homeowners, you have fewer failures and fewer call backs, which is what we all want.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Exactly. And I think too, this training is really important that it is somewhat regional too. Because there's a lot of misconceptions that go along with homeowners and ventilation and even on a regional basis. What do you see with some of those misconceptions that the homeowners have, but also maybe some of the roofing contractors have especially as you look around the country?

Nick Nobbe:
Yeah, no, it is. It's very regional because it's very much like products that you're using. Whether it's to vent or even if you go out to Florida or California, you're going to see a lot of tile. And so they vent differently than you would with a shingle roof, but even within the shingle market there's a lot of different preferences of both products and even just kind of approach to how they vent in different areas. Like when I go down to Texas, it's the old adage of like bigger is better and everything's bigger in Texas. They kind of approach ventilation that same way.

Nick Nobbe:
I will say I'm talking with a lot of people who are definitely getting more educated on it and understanding that more is not necessarily better. It's about getting the right amount for that attic space in that roof. But generally I still have to fight that kind of perception all the time of like bigger is better and we want fans running all the time. Whether it's like a solar-powered fan or we want fans in our gateway walls. They want fans and movement, but I'm like sometimes static ventilation is a better and more productive option. So it kind of comes down to what's the needs of each roof.

Nick Nobbe:
So yeah and the Pacific Northwest and then the East, the Northeast, they approach things very differently too. So it is kind of overcoming the perception. And there's also the climate element of it too of when you're in a climate like Arizona where it's you're so focused on the sun and UV exposure and all that heat that gets transferred and transferred down into your attic. That becomes your focus and the drive for like why you're making certain ventilation decisions.

Nick Nobbe:
But when you come up to my market in Minneapolis or yours up in the Northwest too, it's like we're all about keeping moisture down in the attic and that's kind of a driver. Everybody's kind of got their differences, but at the end of the day I think my story is always the same is that if it's because of UV heat or if it's because of moisture like effective bag ventilation, it's important everywhere and a balanced system and meeting the code requirements. Those principles all play out the same in every market regardless. Ultimately, it just comes down to maybe like what product preference you have and then that's where we can kind of get into nuances. But ultimately, ventilation, proper ventilation, a good balanced system in every market is going to be the best route you can go.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Right. And also educating your homeowners because you can put it in the perfect ventilation system and if they cover it up or they put installation over it or they do whatever, it kind of goes back to that education. It's not just before the roofing project, but it's also after. And maybe even on service and maintenance to make sure that the ventilation keeps going. Are you seeing a lot of that?

Nick Nobbe:
Yeah, for sure. I think like you said, it's not a one-time thing and it's like it's not there forever. Sometimes you'll have your house painted. I can like see my house here. I have soffits that could probably be like [inaudible 00:14:04] my paint or house in the next year or two. I've seen a lot of houses where especially when you have smaller soffit intake vents, they get painted right over. So if you're not cognizant to that, then you are just completely cutting off your intake. Like when I hear Home Depot or Lowe's advertising the blown in insulation that you can do yourself at home like you can easily just blow this in your attic and it's going to help maximize your energy savings and all that. And I always cringe when I hear it because I'm just picturing homeowners just blowing all this installation cover and all their intake vents up.

Nick Nobbe:
It's like, "Hey, you may be saved yourself a little bit on your energy bill because you have better installation efficiency, but you're going to have roof problems and it's going to cost you a lot more to fix that because all of a sudden now you don't have intake air and all of a sudden moisture and heat gets built up." So I do think it's spot on for you to like kind of identify that. Yeah, it's an ongoing thing that you kind of just need to be cognizant about. It's really no maintenance. It's just making sure you don't do things to change the equation.

Heidi Ellsworth:
[inaudible 00:15:11]. But I also see for roofing contractors, we are starting to see roofing contractors who are starting to do service and maintenance programs residentially. And so they go out once or twice a year, clean the gutters, check the roof and really part of that should be checking the ventilation and checking the attic.

Nick Nobbe:
Yep, for sure. And it's pretty easy to do it too. It's not a time-intensive or extensive process to make sure that your ventilation is not blocked in any way and everything's still working and effective. So yeah, it's an important thing. And then that's also just kind of an upsell for a contractor too to feel like, Hey, if this is another service I can offer you on the contractor side of it, you're ensuring that, 'Hey, we're going to head off any potential future problems with this before they ever become problems.'" So you're kind of minimizing your risk of having claims and issues down the road, but at the same time it's like a business opportunity for you too.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, it's a great business opportunity. I'm hearing a lot more about it. So it's really exciting. In fact, we'll be talking more about that in upcoming podcasts because there's a lot of contractors are already doing it, but there's a lot of contractors who are going, "Hey, this is part of it." And ventilation can play such a huge part of that. One of the things too is when you're looking really from the sales when you first knock on that door, you first get that lead all the way to handing them their warranty and everything.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Nick, how do you see ventilation working in that process of the reroof? How much should contractors really be talking about that and how much should they be talking about the warranty and everything else that goes with it?

Nick Nobbe:
Yeah, no, good question. I've worked with a lot of contractors on this of how do you incorporate this into your process? And ultimately it starts with the education piece and you don't need to give the homeowner a 30-minute ventilation presentation. But I do think it's important to have like some kind of piece or at least that you can put in front of them. It's just like a, "Hey, this is a simple, here's how attic ventilation works. And I want you to know that there are different products that can be used to do it too." So like it's kind of starts with just like a high level like there's intake and then there's exhaust and there's different types of exhaust vents. And I want you to know that as part of our process. We do the calculations to make sure that you have just the right amount of ventilation for your attic space.

Nick Nobbe:
And then the second piece of it and because you're basically what you're doing with that is you're helping the homeowner understand why you're doing what you're doing, but then you're also setting them up for the recommendations that you're going to make later. And this is where we based on all the research and the feedback we got from our surveys and focus groups, we found that homeowners really want to have choices. And if there's an opportunity to provide homeowners with choices beyond just shingles because a lot of contractors only quote different like a good, better, best, maybe with shingles. But what we recommend is do a good, better, best with some of your accessories too.

Nick Nobbe:
You could say like, I'll just come up with one example. It'd be like let's say they have box vents on the roof today. You could say, "Okay, my good version is we're just going to put more box vents back on like the same exact same thing you have. A better could be we're going to put like a ridge vent that's maybe like one of the soft [inaudible 00:18:55] vents that's a little bit more economy." And then your premium could be like, "I'm going to put on like a durable long-lasting ridge vent or I'm going to put on solar fans or something" and you can do that differentiation.

Nick Nobbe:
[inaudible 00:19:10] by having had that explanation beforehand earlier in the process about here's what attic ventilation is, here's why it's important. Now they have a grounding and a context for here's why they're recommending different things. And here's why this matters to me because if you just throw them three different products and say here's different price points, they're probably just going to pick the cheapest one. But if they have an understanding of, "Hey, this is why attic ventilation is important because it keeps moisture out of my attic and heat out of my attic. It helps extend the life of the shingles. It helps my deck from rotting out." Then they say, "Oh, you know what? I should probably pick the better or the best option for when it comes to ventilation."

Nick Nobbe:
So it's the twofold piece. It's first educate them and get them at least primed for this is why I should actually put some interest and time and effort into this decision. And then second follow it up with a good, better, best option and say, "Hey, you can structure it however you want," but ultimately give them some options. And then it's a way for them to make a decision where they can say, "I can have something better." And for the contractor really, then it's a way for them to be able to make more money and it's an upsell.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And I mean, it just makes sense as you're going through that process. You want the roof to last as long as possible. And if you're heating up the whatever the product is on the roof, if you're heating it up from the inside out, it's not going to last as long. And so it is really cool, really important.

Nick Nobbe:
Yeah, yeah. Vents are a small portion of a large roof purchase. So I think a lot of times people, they rank the importance based on the dollar value assigned to it. But it's really it's so critical. And even like pipe flashings too. The most common and likely place for leaks to occur on a roof are at pipe penetrations. So do you want to put on a three-year of $5 kind of like rubber boot that goes over or if you want to put on something that's all steel that covers up the pipe completely and never is going to leak?

Nick Nobbe:
Those are kind of the decisions that I think you can position them. If you position them to homeowners correctly, they're not going to want to settle, especially when they're spending the money that they are on their whole total roof.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I mean, when you're talking about the accessories; ventilation, pipe flashing, even underlayments. Those are such a small part, but such an important part because we all know the things that happen is those little leaks turn into big problems because of dry rot and moisture invasion, and everything else that goes along with that.

Nick Nobbe:
Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. So one of the things I want to talk a little bit about too is we talked about educating the sales team, we talked about educating all the people inside. But I think it's really important too and especially in this day and age, especially after the last 18 to two years that contractors actually take the time to put this information on their website. Really have a spot, a research opportunity on their website for their homeowners on the importance of ventilation. How can you help them with that?

Nick Nobbe:
Yeah, no, that's perfect because you're right. So much became virtual in the past year, year and a half or even before that. I've talked to so many homeowners who of course they were doing research on their contractor before they hired them. And you're kidding yourself if you think that most of your customers haven't looked you up at least online before they decided to go with you, but there's a lot of things you can do on, on your website, whether it's just a simple blog post, whether it's like actually shooting a video, whether it's doing a Q&A with a homeowner doing a walk through on a project and saying, "Here's what we did and why."

Nick Nobbe:
And of course we can definitely, we're more than happy and would love to help contractors out with that too to say, "Here's maybe kind of some things that would be worth talking about. Here's what we've kind of gathered from hearing a lot of conversations with homeowners to say here's what's important to them." So we can help facilitate whether it's providing like a video script and kind of consulting on that or whether it's just having a chat with your team to say, "Hey, what's the messages that you want to convey to your customers? What's important to them?" And we can kind of help provide some of that technical expertise too to help speak to the ventilation aspects of it.

Nick Nobbe:
But there's a lot of ways we can help, but ultimately it's just we would love and anybody really I know in this industry wants to make sure we're venting roofs right. So if there's a way where we can come in and help get the right content on your website, we are more than willing to support that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, and I think it's so important. And really the thing is with RoofersCoffeeShop and Quarrix working together, we have a number of articles both on RoofersCoffeeShop and on our homeowner site askaroofer.com that allows contractors to actually come and get this information, use it. We always want them to use this information, share it out. Share out the blogs, share out on their social media. But your directory on RoofersCoffeeShop just has so much great information that I think as contractors for all the people out there, all the contractors, get it to your marketing folks, get it to your website people.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I know your survey shows and we're hearing this over and over again, homeowners are researching. So the more information you can get onto your website and your social media and your blog, the better it's going to be for your sales team at the end because a lot of the hard work's already been done.

Nick Nobbe:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. No need to reinvent the wheel. We've already done a lot of the legwork on all the technical information and how to package that up. So yeah, RoofersCoffeeShop and Quarrix to provide that and make it easy for you.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Make it a lot easier. So okay. As we kind of come to the end of our Roofing Road Trip here, what would you say is just some tips, kind of your top tips on using ventilation to close more sales for roofing contractors?

Nick Nobbe:
Yep. I'd say first it's come up with a really quick and easy way of what your ventilation pitch is to homeowners and how to convey that in a really obvious and quick to understand way. And just have that down for your team too because ultimately they're the ones out in front of the contractors. But I feel like homeowners will gloss over if you try to spend 15, 20 minutes with them trying to explain in detail how ventilation works. But if you can convey it quickly and convey the importance of it, "Hey, you're spending a lot of money on your shingles, but if our ventilation isn't effective and right, those shingles, they're probably knocking off a couple of years of their life because of it. And we could potentially have even bigger issues of moisture problems, mold buildup, whatever it is." So being able to convey that in a quick and concise manner, that I think is really critical.

Nick Nobbe:
The second is kind of like I talked about earlier is make sure your whole team is educated. And this applies to both contractors and to the distribution side too is like everybody who is interacting with any part of a roof really. If you're selling the products or if you're installing them, you should have some grounding and some basic understanding of how does ventilation work. Because then at least then you can make sure you're kind of checking the boxes that you're doing it effectively and you're putting the right products, the right amount of product and that kind of will help make sure you're doing things right.

Nick Nobbe:
And last is to help close more sales really again, provide homeowners with options. That was the big takeaway from all of our focus groups is that homeowners don't want to, especially in the midst of this big investment of this roof reroofing project, they don't want to make sacrifices. So give them options, give them a good, better, best. I can almost guarantee you that you're going to, one, you're going to make more margin because you're going to get more upsell opportunities along the way. And two, the homeowners actually see that. It helps build trust with them. And that might seem kind of strange, but really what it does is you are kind of putting the decision in their hands than versus just saying, "Hey, here's what I'm going to do. Take it or leave it. This is my quote."

Nick Nobbe:
So by giving them an opportunity to have that choice, we found that homeowners felt like they were in more control then of their process too so. And whether they choose the good, the better or the best, you can still make the ventilation system effective. It's not to say that one's going to be inferior or inadequate. You can still do the math. Make sure you have the right amount of vents. You're locating exhaust, top third, intake, bottom third, all that. And you can do all that, but it still helps. Again, you'll gain more margin and then build that trust with the homeowner. So give them those options. And I can promise you it's going to pay dividends in a variety of ways too [inaudible 00:28:57] sales.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, you already said it earlier on. The homeowners are wanting to work with knowledgeable experts in roofing. And so if you can bring this to the table, you're going to close more sales. I mean, it's not about price. It's about the right options at the right price at the right value. And so I want to encourage everyone who's listening to this too to really go back and visit Nick's RLW, the webinar we did earlier this year. We went a whole hour talking about this also with some slides and some different things on the survey. I just went a little bit deeper into all of this. It was really interesting.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And so I would encourage everyone to go out there, watch that, get the information off the CoffeeShop. And then if you want help with that elevator speech for your team, for your sales team on ventilation and how to incorporate it into your sales process, reach out to Nick. And you can find by just signing up for the RLW, they'll get your name and then get ahold of you. You can leave a note. You can leave a note all kinds of different ways on the directory or just go to Quarrix. So, Nick, thank you so much as always. I love these conversations.

Nick Nobbe:
Of course. Yeah, it's great to see you and it was fun participating.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you. And thank you all for listening. Thank you for being a part of the Roofing Road Trips. You can find them on RoofersCoffeeShop under the RLW section. Look for the Roofing Road Trip podcasts and also look for them on your favorite podcast channel. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a single podcast and also be sure to check out our YouTube because we have all kinds of RLWs, new videos and informational clips. So be sure to subscribe there too. Thank you so much, have a great day and we'll see you on the next Roofing Road Trip.

Megan Ellsworth:
Make sure to subscribe to our channel and leave a review. Thanks for listening. This has been Roofing Road Trips with Heidi from the rooferscoffeeshop.com.



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