Did you miss Best of Success? These and many other educational seminars from the conference will be available on http://www.bestofsuccessconference.com/webinars until March 31st, 2018.
Branding is Much More than a Name
Gregg Wallick has built one of the most successful roofing companies in South Florida by consistently working on the business and trying to maximize its reputation and public impressions in a very saturated roofing market. Among the keys to Best Roofing’s success is indeed its catchy name. But beyond that, Wallick explained, they stayed successful and were able to generate more than $37 million in revenue last year — good for 31st on RC’s Top 100 Roofing Contractor List — by managing the company brand.
From consistent color scheme, to the old school buses the company uses to move all employees to every jobsite, Best is recognizable and comes to mind when people or organizations need a new roof.
It also doesn’t hurt that their company mascot is a cute dog that clients even ask to meet before signing on the dotted line.
“Jake was my son Zack’s dog and we ended up putting him on the side of our trucks. And people just loved it,” Wallick explained from the Best of Success stage. “We have a lot of fun with Jake, and it works if you do it right.”
Wallick encouraged roofing contractors to find any differentiator from the competition and to not be afraid to use it, repeatedly.
“We’re fanatical about labeling something with our company name, and you have to be disciplined about what you’re putting out there,” he said. “People don’t buy roofing every day, or very often, so what we have to do is make sure that our clients have top-of-mind awareness.”
Challenge of the Ages…The Millennials are here
In an attempt to bridge the gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials, a panel of roofing experts from both age groups engaged in an enlightening, and informative discussion. David Harrison began the session by detailing three main objectives that he hoped the audience would gain from the discussion — uncovering bias about millennials and non-millennials, challenging their sense of reality and gaining ideas that could be used in their businesses moving forward.
He posed several questions for both sides, including the stereotypes of each age group, as well as how to develop a work-life balance, an ideal which featured opposing outlooks among the panelists.
“Millennials look at time differently in a day than our generation or generations after me did. It’s a different viewpoint,” said Harrison. John Scalo Jr., a former RC Young Gun and proud millennial himself, explained that although many in his generation may stray away from the standard 9-to-5 workday, that doesn’t mean they aren’t putting in the effort.
“With the internet these days and with our phones, we (millennials) really feel like we are working 24-7. We have that capability in our hand, whereas when these guys were starting in their industry, they really had to be at the office from five to five to really be working,” he said.
To help both sides better understand each other, Harrison asked the audience to eavesdrop on other’s conversations and ask themselves one question, ‘Did the person explain why?’ He explained that everything has a cause and effect, and that the cause consists of: who, what, when, where or how, and the effect is the ‘why’ aspect. “We’re not wired to explain why. It takes discipline to explain why, and when you don’t explain it, you’re not demonstrating respect or that you care,” he said. The panel expressed the differing priorities among each age group, and how those priorities impact the vision for how a business should be run. For instance, boomers seek success, whereas millennials pursue validation.
Losing Key Employees
When Steve Little and Jayne Williams of KPost Roofing & Waterproofing took the Best of Success stage in 2016, the longtime business partners had no idea that their topic of how to prepare for losing a key employee would resonate with roofing contractors in the audience. The response was so strong, the pair returned to the BOS stage in Tucson to reiterate and discuss in more detail what to do when difficult circumstances impact your business.
By most accounts, Dallas-based KPost (RC’s 2017 Commercial Roofing Contractor of the Year) probably shouldn’t be in business — much less thriving — in one of the most robust roofing markets on the continent. Within just a few years of forming in 2004, KPost lost its top salesperson responsible for generating nearly 25 percent of sales revenue; lost its operations manager responsible for about $10 million of existing work to a competitor; and endured a raid by federal immigration agents that resulted in the loss of 46 employees, roughly about a third of their workforce at the time.
Weathering the storms took perseverance and planning, which included everything from designating specific roles within the executive leadership in an unfolding crisis situation to creating dormant checklists company officials hope they rarely have to use.
“We needed to keep reminding our employees that it was business as usual,” said Williams, KPost’s CFO.
Little, KPost’s president and head coach, reiterated the importance of managing the company message both internally and externally when faced with adversity.
“There’s a dynamic change internally when you lose key employee and if you don’t think it can turn into an internal crisis you’re kidding yourself,” Little said. “And if you don’t have a process in place to be able to manage it, you’ve made a huge mistake.”
The Ultimate Closers Roadmap Revealed
Returning to the Best of Success stage for the second year in a row, Chuck Thokey gave a unique presentation centered on closing sales. Utilizing David and Goliath as an example, Thokey began by showing the audience how they can separate themselves from big competitors. He explained that the main objective is to highlight what you do best, and how you do it. According to Thokey, the best process for achieving this is to be responsive, memorable and confident when dealing with customers. “Don’t focus on beating the big companies, if you’re David, don’t focus on beating them. Just focus on beating yourself, beating last year, beating last month,” he said. Rather than telling prospects how great your company is, showcase to them how different you are, and what sets you apart from the competition. “How great you are does not sell a roof,” he explained, “Being great is what makes you great, but being different is what sells. So what’s different about you?” Thokey then presented a nine-step, start to finish, sales process that began with the entry/warmup, and trickled down to the close.
Creating and maintaining a rock-solid referral program is what Chase Lecklider has built his company, Chase Restoration, LLC around. Lecklider kicked off his presentation by reiterating the importance of expectation management, and how much it matters in a business like roofing. “If you tell people what to expect, and then you deliver on those expectations, it’s usually a really good experience,” he said. He then dove into the three different types of referrals to pursue — direct, indirect and partnerships. Direct referrals, which utilize customers to help find new leads and opportunities, is the most common method. Lecklider explained how in order to be referred by a past customer, you must be ‘referable’ — show up early, answer your phone, take pride in your appearance and do what you say you’re going to do. “You can’t only care about yourself. You have to put the customer first,” he said. Lecklider then showcased six ways to pursue indirect referrals, including letting neighbors know you’ll be working in the area, and taking on leadership positions throughout the communities you serve. He explained that the goal is to inspire people to hire you without asking, “That’s the best compliment someone can give you.” Partnerships involve agreeing to a continuous stream of business with a customer.
RC’s Contractors of the Year
Each year, Roofing Contractor magazine honors the residential and commercial contractors that employ industry best practices, take care of their employees, and excel at quality workmanship and customer satisfaction.
RC Editorial Director Rick Damato and Editor Art Aisner delivered the awards at the end of day one at the 13th annual Best of Success conference Sept. 18 in Tucson, Ariz., before hundreds of roofing contractors and industry professionals.
See who stood out from the pack of roofing contractors from around the country that sought the prestigious award and view their reactions live from the Best of Success stage in this on-demand session.