by Nate Stein for AccuLynx.
For the average homeowner, a roof is just a roof - until it needs replacement or repairs. Suddenly, “just a roof” has become a complex, and expensive home repair that can leave many people frustrated when it comes to the process, details and cost justifications.
As a professional roofing contractor, field reps often need to play the role of educator, as well as salesman. It’s important to remember that most homeowners have never had to file a claim for their roof, or nail a shingle, which is why they look to you, as an expert, to guide them through the process. There are many qualities that make an excellent sales rep, but one of the most important, and easiest tactics to be successful is mastering the ability to help homeowners understand the complexities of roofing terminology, insurance processes, timelines and cost.
As that industry expert, it’s important to provide easy-to-understand information regarding their roof. Explaining how their roof leaked, why their shingles are algae-filled, or even the difference between designer shingles, needs to be done in a way that is both informative and comprehensible, in order to establish trust and close the sale.
Consider these practices when explaining roofing terms, insurance, and other related topics to homeowners.
Use Communication Science to Establish Trust with Customers For homeowners that want to make educated decisions, it's important to make sure that you explain each step of the process in full detail, and let your customers know what you will be doing, and when. Approaching these communications in a way that sets the customer at ease can be as simple as actively listening to their concerns, demonstrating courtesy, and using positive statements in your responses [source].
Avoid using hard-to-understand terminology that only a professional roofing contractor will understand.
“Using phrases such as “Turnover” or “the Desk” may seem obvious to any automotive professional, but to a customer, you may as well be speaking gibberish. In order to effectively communicate, you need to use words and phrases that the customer will easily understand.” [source]
It’s important to remember that “sheathing,” “louver,” and “rake” are probably terms your customer has never heard before. Instead, use roofing terminology that they will understand. Consider taking your customer outside and pointing to each specific part of the roof that needs work, explain what each piece is called and its main function. Using comparisons and metaphors to properly describe what each part of the roof is can also help them grasp more complicated roofing concepts.
Provide 3D Models or Images 65% of the population are visual learners, and are more likely to have a better understanding of new or complicated information through drawings, graphics, and models. It’s important for sales reps to keep in mind that the average homeowner most likely does not understand basic roofing terms such as “ridge,” “valley,” and “felt”. Roofers who take the time and effort to provide visual aides, such as 3D models, renderings, or aerial images during a sales presentation, or with contract documentation, have a higher likelihood of ensuring a potential customer that the scope of work you provide is both necessary and cost effective.
If your roofing business does not subscribe or have access to 3D models or renderings, consider having a set of template documents that you can share to help illustrate your proposals.
Keep Your Paperwork Accurate and Accessible Providing fast, clean, and most importantly - accurate - documents with potential customers establishes your company as highly professional - something homeowners are looking at very closely when dealing with contractors. When those documents are available electronically, with a digital back-up in your CRM, you prevent the potential loss of paperwork, in addition to the ability of your office staff to stay on top of the process and payments.
With easy access to their paperwork, your clients can sign, view and open their documents anywhere - including any updates, change orders, or photos you may choose to provide. Keeping your customers updated throughout the process is essential in optimizing your communication.
Keeping Up Communications All the Way Through the Pipeline Continuing communication throughout the process with your customers is critical to ensuring their satisfaction. At the end of a job, most roofing contractors provide a warranty and final sign-off. Go the extra mile - offer a sit-down final consultation, with before and after photos, and detailed descriptions of the job performed. Additionally, ask for feedback.
“7 out of 10 customers will leave a review if they are asked to,” [source] so take advantage!
You can use this to perfect your communication skills, and garner more referrals from your satisfied customers.
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Editor’s note: This article first appeared on the AccuLynx Blog and can be viewed here.