Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an interview with Nicole Gray from IKO. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast here.
Heidi: Hello and welcome to Roofers Coffee Shop, Roofing Road Trips with Heidi. This is another podcast where we are going to be learning some amazing information about the importance of loyalty programs. My history in the roofing industry, I've worked on a number of loyalty programs. I don't think there's anything really more important that manufacturers can offer than this, and one of the best out there is IKO. And so today I am thrilled to have Nicole Gray, the loyalty program manager for IKO here as our guest. Welcome, Nicole
Nicole Gray: Hi, Heidi. Thanks for having me.
Heidi: I am so happy. I love this stuff. Anything around marketing, helping roofing contractors, it is my favorite thing, so I'm really excited. Can you just, for everyone listening, maybe share a little bit about your job. As loyalty program manager, what do you do?
Nicole Gray: Well, in the last couple of years, IKO has really invested a lot the business, and one of those things has been our loyalty program. We're really trying to take it up to the next level, and that's where I came in. I've been with the company a couple of years and my job is really to focus on the contractor, what the contractor's needs are and be an advocate for them and making sure they get what they need for their business. And so in a nutshell, that's what I do.
Heidi: You know, that's excellent, and I don't think people really understand how important that is. It is so important that we support our roofing contractors, because really they're the ones that make it all happen for us. And so to have someone, I love how you use that term advocate. We need to do that as much as possible. So why don't you tell us a little bit, give us a high-level overview of the IKO Roof Pro Program.
Nicole Gray: Yeah. So, Roof Pro is a loyalty program specially designed for our loyal roofing contractors. It's really focused on helping them build their business. It's a three-tiered system and it's mainly based on their annual square purchase volume. The higher the tier, the more benefits they can access. I mean, quite simply, the more contractors that invest in IKO, the more we're going to invest in them. The program offers several main benefits depending on their tier level, including stuff like education and training, business tools and support, limited warranties and opportunities for lead generation.
Heidi: Those are all really important. I mean, that's exactly what the contractors need, so let's take it even a little bit on the bigger picture. As you're talking to the roofing contractors who are listening to this, to us right now, and you've already talked about that three tiered system. Why is committing to these type of loyalty programs so important for a roofing company's success? What have you seen?
Nicole Gray: You know, Heidi, it's really important. It's important for a contractor to pick a manufacturer that really supports their business goals. A program like Roof Pro can really take a contractor's business to the next level by giving them that extra toolbox of things they need that they may need help with and they just don't know where to turn for. Things like helping them stretch their marketing budgets, granting status to them that helps them differentiate themselves in the home, and in home selling systems that really help them to win at the kitchen table.
Heidi: Yeah, I love that. That thought and understanding the status, because really for a lot of us, and I'm sure you're the same, we travel a lot and so all of us are like we need that airplane, we need that airline status, we need that hotel status. Sometimes I don't think people really relate that to what you're doing, which is it's the same thing, and really you become such strong partners in that status.
Nicole Gray: Yep, definitely.
Heidi: That is so good. Talk a little bit more about, I know one of the most impressive parts of what you're doing. I'm not saying the most, because it's all really impressive, but one of the really cool things is your Roof Pro Contractor Portal. Can you tell everybody about that and how easy it is?
Nicole Gray: Yeah. I'm so glad you asked about that. This has been a project in the making for several years. The Roof Pro Contractor Portal is really the online destination for all things Roof Pro. Things like on the homepage there's a quick tracker that gives the contractor an at a glance idea of where they are in the program. There is an invoice upload tool, contractors can bypass email altogether and just upload their invoices directly on the portal. IKO University is within the portal, where the program's required online training lives. There's the Pro Zone, the Pro Zone section, where guys can log on and order IKO branded items, samples, displays, swag, things of that nature.
Nicole Gray: Resources like program logos, reference materials and content that is really of interest to them. Things like a blog. We curate content every month, all in one place where guys can browse that, and then calendar of events. I could go on and on, but one of the biggest things I'd like to mention is exclusively for tier two select and tier three craftsmen premier contractors, it houses a section we call My Pipeline, and that's really the customer relationship management portion of the portal and it's where a contractor can fully manage his leads from beginning to end. Really exciting stuff.
Heidi: Wow, that's really cool. So through this they're getting leads. On top of that, you're helping them manage them and manage that process. That's really impressive.
Nicole Gray: Yeah, that's definitely our goal. So, yes.
Heidi: That is. You know, one of the hardest things too from my experience is that tracking, tracking of the projects, making sure everybody's helping everybody. And I know one of the things that's always been challenging to track are warranties, but you do some really great things with IKO limited warranty extensions, and it's a big benefit to the program. How does that work?
Nicole Gray: Yeah, that's definitely one of the bigger benefits to being a Roof Pro, because it is exclusive to Roof Pros. They can offer a five year extension of the ironclad protection period on IKO shingle products. Exact terms vary by product, tier level, and country, but also in that portal is a place to manage your warranties. So pretty awesome.
Heidi: That is awesome, and that really can help them too, as even following up later on with past customers I would think.
Nicole Gray: Yes. Yes, there is definitely, it gives them the history within the portal as to where their warranties are and it can be a referral point for them too.
Heidi: Yeah, that's great. That's exactly what they need. Okay, so some of the other things on the loyalty, because I went through and I was looking at everything, and one of the things I was really impressed with was your program partners and the discounts that they offer. Can you share, talk about some of those companies and the different special offers that the contractors are getting in your program?
Nicole Gray: Yeah, that's probably one of the most underrated parts of our program. We do have a great list of third party partners we work with, with some pretty significant discounts, and we're always looking to add to that roster of partners. Availability varies a bit depending on if you're a contractor based in the US or Canada, but to mention a few, we partner with EagleView and Hover, which are pretty well known measurement tools, especially for roofers. Yield Quality, which is a partner that will go out and procure homeowner reviews on behalf of contractors. We've got a partnership with HomeStars in Canada and Home Advisor in the US, which are lead sources, pretty well known there. And then a new partner for us is HailTrace, a weather reporting service, which really helps a contractor pinpoint where the storm areas are. Also, through the program, contractors can access the expertise of our digital marketing agency for an additional cost. Tier two select and tier three craftsman premier can work with them to build an extended profile, or in other words, a mini website which links from their listing on iko.com from our contractor locator. The site's main objective is to capture a homeowner lead, which then can be filtered into their My Pipeline area of their portal. Tier threes is can also work with them to put together custom paperclip campaigns, so pretty robust tools available to our contractors, so we're really excited about it.
Heidi: This is a really important time for all of this too. I mean, as we look at 2020, it's been quite the year so far and I think giving the contractors, helping them to stay focused on marketing, digital especially, that's really a powerful benefit of your program.
Nicole Gray: Yeah, it's really great.
Heidi: That's awesome. Okay, so we talked about the digital and everything, but also I know that you have been putting together some pretty powerful events. In fact, they're called Profit Power Events, that you're hosting across North America. Share a little bit about those events and how contractors, why they should go and how, how do they get involved?
Nicole Gray: Yeah, sure. Part of our goal with this program is to really give our contractors ongoing training, for one, and access to any opportunity to really build on their knowledge and business acumen. These events are really, they're free for one thing, which is really exciting, and we started off the year with a few events. We've had to postpone a few because of some concerns with the coronavirus, as everybody well knows. Once those concerns subside, we plan on continuing our road trip across North America. These will all feature keynotes, Scott Siegel. He is the president of Certified Contractors Network, which is an organization that's really dedicated to help train contractors on how to run their businesses by the numbers. His presentations are focused on topics like best practices for contractor selling in the home, overcoming those objections and really pricing their services right to make sure they're making a profit and therefore they have a profitable business.
Heidi: That's excellent, and I know that we are working, Roofers Coffee Shop is working with IKO a lot on this to get this messaging out so that everybody knows when they're going to be, where they're going to be. So definitely the contractors out there who are interested, and we're going to talk a little bit more about that, but who are really interested can find all that information in your directory and events on the site as they start rolling out.
Nicole Gray: We're in the middle of rescheduling the ones that got postponed, and it's looking it's going to be this fall, so as long as everything goes to plan, be sure to look out for those.
Heidi: Yeah, and I think Scott Siegel is amazing. I've known him for many years, he is a great presenter and incredibly knowledgeable about running a roofing business. So just such a great choice to bring him in as your keynote speaker. He's is tremendous.
Nicole Gray: Yes, he's wonderful.
Heidi: Yeah, I like working with him. Okay, so let's talk a little bit about the program requirements. How do the contractors, everybody who's listening right now, they're all saying, yes, this is something I'm interested in. How do they get involved?
Nicole Gray: We do have program requirements, they're in place because we do vet contractors and we want to ensure we're getting the best contractors out there. At a high level, the requirements are things like, we're looking for things like have you been in business for two years? Can you provide proof of insurance, like general liability and workman's comp and auto liability, if that applies to your business? We're looking for a list of 10 to 20 homeowner customer reviews online. We'd like you to pass a financial background check with the Business Credit Rating that's acceptable to IKO, and there are tier membership fees, so once you paid your fees, that is a requirement. And then once you're in the program, I mentioned continuing education. There is some online requirements for education that we would like you to do within a certain timeframe of signing up. And how do you apply? Just go to www.ikoroofpro.com and complete the online application. Pretty simple.
Heidi: And you know now is a really good time, because there's going to be time, we know no matter how hard we all work, which we all do, there's going to be a little bit of downtime. So this is a perfect time actually to sign up for this program, do the online education, really explore it and work with IKO on potentially making that a big part of a contractor's business.
Nicole Gray: Yes, definitely use the, if you have some downtime, why not spend it applying for our program?
Heidi: I know, I mean really, and I think that is important right now, that we help all of our contractors really go digital, right? That they can find this information, that they can be really keeping their crews, their office staff. You and I are both working from home today and a lot of this can be done this way, and it really can help the business overall. Plus, I love the fact of what you do with homeowners and the leads. I know how much you're out there and the homeowners trust you. So it's really something I think contractors need to look at very closely.
Nicole Gray: Yep. Yep, definitely.
Heidi: Well, good. Well, Nicole, this has been awesome. Thank you. I've learned a lot today. This is exactly the kind of information that we're wanting to get out and that we're wanting to get the contractors these opportunities. I appreciate you so much and I really appreciate IKO being on the Coffee Shop. Just so everyone knows, like I said earlier, all of this is online on The Roofers Coffee Shop also, so you can go to the ikoroofpro.com, you can go to rooferscoffeeshop.com. Look at the IKO directory. There's all kinds of literature, videos, great information. We mentioned earlier the blogs that are on your portal, but IKO also puts out some amazing blogs that you can find on Roofers Coffee Shop. So please take the time to check that out online, and also check out all of our podcasts on Roofers Coffee Shop, part of the read, listen, watch initiative. We want to be providing continuing education for all of our listeners, whether you want to listen to it, watch it, or read it. So join us again on our next podcast and thank you for being here today.
Nicole Gray: Thanks so much, Heidi. It was fun.
Heidi: Thank you.