For building materials manufacturers in the roofing industry, understanding the needs of roofing contractors is critical. Contractors are the gatekeepers for many roofing projects. They can dictate which products are going to be installed, and prevent change by refusing to install new products.
I had the opportunity to interview John Anderson, of Severe Weather Roofing and Restoration. Since 2010, John’s roofing company has been serving both commercial and residential markets in Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado. In the interview John gives roofing manufacturers insight on, “What roofing contractors want.”
Enter John Anderson:
How can manufacturers help you to be more successful?
Roofing manufacturers could do a better job of helping me be a better business person. I realize that I need to keep improving myself and my staff, if I am going to continue growing. The world is changing everyday, and I think manufacturers could help contractors stay on top of these changes. I would like it if manufacturers didn’t just sell me their products but took the next step to provide more education and help me be more successful.
The owner needs to be educated as well as his staff. I have seen how much more effective my sales people after they have been through a training program. It has a lot to do with making them confident in presenting that manufacturers products.
What roofing manufacturer does the best job? Why? What do they do for you?
In my opinion, Owens Corning is without a doubt the best. Their sales representatives always provide great communication and help whenever we need anything. We have worked with GAF and Tamko in the past and, in our case, we have gotten better support from Owens Corning. It just goes to show how important an empowered local rep is keeping the loyalty of a contractor.
To us, better support has a lot to do with problem resolution.
What frustrates you the most about manufacturers?
Lack of leads. Helping us to attract more leads would be a win-win situation for the both of us. Roofing manufacturers have more expertise at marketing than we do and access to high-level ad agencies. I wish they would either generate more leads for us and even just teach us how to do a better job ourselves.
If a manufacturer wanted your business, what is the best approach they should use?
Face to face contact is ideal. I like to get to personally know manufacturer reps first. This might be accomplished over the phone as well. Overall great communication and support are key.
They need to come to me with a business proposition about why I should use their product and not just a typical product sales pitch.
What do you wish manufacturers would do or do better?
I take pride in having a well-trained team. More training for sales and installation would be a major help. And, of course, better price points too!
Do you go to IRE?
No, we don’t attend.
What area would you like to see more help from manufacturers?
Sales, Marketing, Labor, and Training.
Does your distributor ever show you new products?
Yes on occasion.
Do you see alternative products such as DaVinici, EcoStar or metal as a good way to differentiate yourself in the residential market?
Yes, but it’s limited.
Mastering the art of selling to roofing contractors requires your company to understand what they really want. Consider working with your team to answer the following questions:
1. What types of management, installation, marketing, or sales training can we provide roofing contractors?
2. How can we improve our communication between contractors and sales reps? How empowered are our sales reps to resolve issues?
3. What type of marketing or sales support can we offer?
Thanks for the following comments. I’d like to hear your feedback and suggestions on how to sell architects.
“Great insight, Mark- as always!”
“Great write up! Solid questions! I believe a solid partnership between contractor, distributor, and manufacturers rep is key.”
Builders First Source