In today’s economic climate it’s harder to win jobs. With costs going up and prices to the consumer going down it is increasingly more difficult to turn a profit. Why not try to make the most out of each project to increase profits? Consider building a mentality of upgrades into your organization to maximize every opportunity.

Upgrades are items that are typically above and beyond basic roofing materials. A few good examples of upgrades are listed below:

• Thicker flashings

• Refastening of the deck

• Self-sealing underlayments

• Ventilation systems

• Skylights

• Roof insulation

• Attic insulation

• Gutters

• Upgraded fasteners

• Wind-resistant system components and systems

• Algae-resistant materials

• Maintenance plans

There are many more. This list doesn’t even touch on energy-efficient materials, green products, longer-lasting systems and extended warranties. It could also include services such as recycling and insurance mitigation reports.


Why Sell Upgrades?

It is widely known that selling to existing customers is easier than selling to new ones. With the market still in a conservative trend, customers willing to spend are rare. Make the most out of these customers by offering additional items. Often upgrades have a higher profit margin than traditional roofing work, and for the customer, the long-term benefit of having these upgrades installed far outweighs the initial price.


Where to Begin

From the moment an estimate call is answered or an e-mail request is returned, start prepositioning the customer for upgrades. Often customers only know of their past experiences or what they were told to expect; they might not even know what options are available. Jeffery Gittomer said, “People don’t like being sold, but they love to buy.” Give customers the chance to do what they love by at least offering options and upgrades.

Going in with an entire buffet of offerings can overwhelm the customer. Try narrowing the list down to three key upgrades you can offer on any project, such as skylights, insulation and gutters. Create marketing materials to showcase each upgrade. Build a pricing matrix and detail your proposal forms to include optional pricing and acceptance. Gather samples and calculate the return on investment (ROI) of each upgrade to show the customer during the sales presentation. Use the word “customary” when describing optional upgrades, as in, “It is customary to upgrade your attic insulation during the re-roofing process.”


During the Initial Scheduling Call

Let the customer know that your estimator has the ability to provide not only an estimate but an inspection, too. List a few items the estimator will cover during the inspection process to open up the customer’s acceptance to other items outside the original reason for the call. Mention how the estimator will perform an attic inspection, check to ensure water is draining properly and perform an interior stain inspection. This one line will open up the ability to offer attic insulation, ventilation, gutters and skylights.


During the Estimate

When giving the estimate, drop hints as to what’s to come. Talk about how hot the attic is and how their electric bill must be high, setting up the insulation and ventilation upgrade. Point out any foundation erosion to set up the conversation about gutters. Look for dark rooms and hallways so you have a reason to apply the idea of having a new skylight installed to solve an issue they might have never even thought about. During the sales presentation, explain installation of each upgrade as if it were simply part of the process.


During Production

The best time to sell an upgrade is while the roof is being worked on. Production managers, supervisors and crew leaders have more credibility than salesmen. Empower your production team with the ability to offer upgrades and you’ll be amazed at the outcome. Incentivize their efforts by paying a commission on all upgrades sold. Additional ventilation and roof insulation are great upgrades at this stage. When the person working on a roof says ventilation is needed to ensure the roof will last, the customer will believe them more than they will a salesperson.


After the Job Is Complete

You may not think there is an opportunity to sell once the job is done. However, there is a chance to make a lasting impression. They say, “The third time’s the charm.” After the initial estimate and the production process, attempt to follow the project up with a “rack card” envelope stuffer in the closing packet that can finally sway the customer into making the investment. It will give them something to ponder until your next encounter a year down the road for the annual inspection. If customers have a positive experience with the roofing project, they will still be open to upgrades. Going through a year of perimeter foundation erosion, high electric bills or stubbing their toe in a dark hallway may just be what makes them decide to accept the upgrade.


Taking it to the Next Level

After honing in on your bolt-on upgrades, go back through your entire roofing system and offer upgrades on each and every step of the process. This requires a sophisticated sales process and detailed support materials to accomplish without confusing the customers. However, if done right, it could open the doors to an entirely new sales process that has been proven to be more successful. If you would like to revamp your sales process without having to reinvent the wheel, please contact me and I will share more detailed information about any of the ideas listed above.

This month’s homework is to offer three upgrades to all of your potential customers complete with presentation, pricing and samples. As an added bonus, contact the product’s manufacturer and see if they have any ROI documentation available that will help show the customer how a few dollars now will save more in the future.