Sales in these hard times


Hello. I have been roofing for almost 25 years now. I been in sales for probably 7-8 now on commission basis, I like to think I do ok at sales, mostly because of my knowledge of what I am trying to sale, plus I still do the work, so sales guy that is actually the guy doing the work gives me a small advantage over other companies in the area , I am in Northern Va. outside DC and do some work in DC. We also do remodeling, from kitchens and bath too full additions, etc etc.

 I guess the reason I am this this to maybe get a few pointers from you guys in sales, at this point I try to have under 1 hour response time from when the calls or emails come in, I carry a laptop and a printer in the work truck with a sprint card, and a camera/video cam, when I get to the home if they can not make it home to meet me, I take pictures of the problems if they cannot see them, and write up estimates on laptop and email them estimate and pics as quick as possible, usually within 1 hour from them calling in the first place. That alone has proven to be a huge selling technique. If they are home I print out the estimate and show them the pictures on the laptop for visual all within 15 minutes upon arriving to the home. These ways have proven to me to raise my percentages of sales. 

I do little things like talk to the owner about their house and play with the kids and animals in order to make them feel more comfortable with me as a person not a salesman or worker, I am not the clean cut suit wearing salesman cause I am also doing the work. Even when I know I can do the job that day or the next day, I sometimes make calls to someone else that works for me trying to tell them I have to get materials now and things like that to show the owner I am willing to pull strings to get them taken care of as fast as possible, and at the least I will tarp there roof right now so it will buy some time till I can get there and do the work or have some one else do it. 

Things I do not do are have set prices, like 180$ per square for some shingles I refuse to have a set price I have a mental “the least I will go” but in this area I am in between wealthy and poor and get calls from all. so I refuse to limit myself to a set price, I feel get as much as I can when I can, Customers say things like well this contractor will do it for this price I am like well when materials cost this and labor is going to cost this insurances and yadda yadda all add up too there is noway in hell I could this job for that. Go ahead and hire them and in 3 years when everything is all messed up and worse than it was in the first place I will charge you even more for doing correctly, We are Class A contractors with in-house workers don’t compare apples with oranges and will be here in business 20 years from now as we have been for the last 15.

Lately with the economy so messed up customers have been really weird, seems a very high percentage are just using me, picking my head<< they seem to be like hey this guy really knows what is going on and pick my head for everything it is worth, and then hire the cheapest guy. I will not be the cheapest guy cant do it , and every time I have tried to give a cheap price they end up being the worst customer standing over your shoulder type of people, I figure because they know it was too cheap and are trying to find what you are going to do wrong, where you are going to cut corners to make the price so cheap so I don’t and morally will not do that. if I cant do a job and make a legal and fair profit, I will not do it but shit i don’t want to starve either.

So I guess I am asking do you guys have any pointers you can send my way to help me deal with these people and help to get jobs locked in more and bring my sales up some, last week I think I ran like almost 20 calls for repairs and such and sold like 3 under 500$ jobs, pipe collars and such, which is quite pathetic if ya ask me, I can remember in the past selling damn near 50/50 and even higher when good damaging storms come through the area, again I am a roofer remodeler not a salesman been thinking of taking some classes or something which either way I probably will but I figured someone in the business all ready and is dealing with the same type of thing I do might help some as well.

Thanks you in advance



Sounds a little unblievable. You run a company with two offices, do the work, and answer calls and give the estimate within the hour.

I have nothing to offer, to improve on that.


We have one office, storage shed for left over mats and equipment, the other is my rolling office I call it AKA RV= Roofing Vehicle. I cant imagine why that is so unbelievable


maybe I need to clarify , I have 3 crews, I do most of sales and do a majority of work that other non expirenced guys can do., I have a partner that handles money and banking and remodeling sales and project managing for the additions and such, I do the roofing exterior part of everything, lately I cant get enough work to keep myself busy. so if I am on a job I have compotent people working and can leave at anytime. not sure what you were really getting at though it doesnt matter , I was mostly just asking for any sales tips in handling customers.


Were you getting spoiled from the storm work that went through you area and all of the roofs that home owners got done, paid for by their insurance companies?

Thats an easy trap to fall into, which will also twist your closing ratios.

Actually, you sound like you are doing most of the right things already.

Do you always deliver the proposal in person?

That one to Me, is key.

With this economy, do you offer any financing?

Do you bring samples of all of the proper roof accessories into their home for a show and tell demonstration?

Do you have a photos album, story book, made out for different types of roofs or different/similar neighborhoods?

Do you give them a list of 2,000 references of jobs that you have done?

Just some food for thought to get the discussion rolling.



<<<Were you getting spoiled from the storm work that went through you area and all of the roofs that home owners got done, paid for by their insurance companies?
Thats an easy trap to fall into, which will also twist your closing ratios.>>>
honestly I can say no to that , I live in Nva. there are occasional storms but nothing major I even do tree removal and such when those times come around, though I look forward to them I cant imagine that I would be spoiled from them.

<<<Actually, you sound like you are doing most of the right things already.>>

Thank you I like to take pride in what I do.

<<<Do you always deliver the proposal in person?
That one to Me, is key.>>>
In person no I do not, and alot of the calls I do thru email and cell phone customers work and I have major travel time around here. I do push meeting customers as opposed to emailing and pics but if they dont get home and my earlest in meeting them is 6pm it means I dont get home till 8 so naturally I simply deal with what I can handle

<<With this economy, do you offer any financing?>>

yes we offer financing though I push for them to find another means to getting money to pay, due to higher intrests rates its cheaper for them if over 15k to get a 1-2 year bank loan than for us to finance it for them. I suppose that is debatable to some degree.

<<Do you bring samples of all of the proper roof accessories into their home for a show and tell demonstration?>>

honestly no probably not as I should, but I am in a full working truck its hard to carry all sample and paper work and they not get destroyed within a week of actually working.

<<<Do you have a photos album, story book, made out for different types of roofs or different/similar neighborhoods?>>
Not exactly though we do have long list of references which when people ask I do say yes I have it but just as any company I can give you alist of my best customers. no I dont really carry a portfolio but do have our website and other places like photobucket I point then to see endless amounts of pics, once a month I send all my before and after pics to our website guy.

Do you give them a list of 2,000 references of jobs that you have done?


And thank you Ed Im just trying to offer info of would I do that works and get things from other people in the business in return



I am pretty straight forword.

I read on your home page that you have 2 offices. One in Arlington and one in Fairfax.

Then I read the address and you only have contact information for one office.

Your whole set up just sounded unbelievable. This is not a bad thing. I only have myself to gauge others with. I could never keep the pace you keep. So this just tells you about my deficencys. It was a compliment.


thanks Lefty i wasn’t insinuating you were giving me any crap or nothing just really didnt understand what you meant , honestly if we have something that says we have an office in Fairfax please show me it something that I didnt know about I thought all our advertisements all lead back to Arlington. but we do seperate and try to if someone lives in Fairfax that we majorly work there, just advertising kind of thing., where I am there is multiple counties, cities, districts in which we work so we advertise strongly for each as opposed to only advertising for one area. To me its weird from what I was used to before i moved into this rat race area, liscensing for a 60 mile area requires like 6 liscenses for each county which have prolly 400,000 people each maybe more, not including DC area. so its kind of crazy aspects too look at and we focus advertisements likewise, I mean its ok to have Enhanced Roofing and Remodeling of fairfax and Enhanced Roofing and Remodeling of Arlington and still have one Address. unless you were in the business you would have never noticed, just like Im sure when you go to a new place you are looking at the roof while the person with you is looking at something else. You have one thing you do when speaking to a customer that gets you sales? something that sets you apart from everyone else?



Just click on your link. It is on your home page. It states you have 2 offices.


Just got that mobile office thing. It seems people like to have the estimate written up right away and you can go through it with them right away. It seems like you do more than enough things right. I do carry with me all samples of the materials I put on as well as the information sheets on them. I think when people get to feel it and read about it, it seems more real to them. I have a pretty high closing rate mainly because most of my work is referrals but then again I also dont spend time chasing around “ghosts”. I suggest not to waste time with people who you can tell just want the cheapest estimate, when I get told someone can do it cheaper I tell them the same thing you do. It will all work out.


I think the mobile office/immediate response is a great tool. In my experience people do many things on impulse. If you can get them while they are in a “need it NOW” mentality then you have a higher probability of closing the sale. The more time a customer has to think about it the less they are to just go for it. I have found this in what I do and also in my own personal life.

As far as people picking your brain and using your knowledge and then going with the cheaper guy then I don’t know what to say about that. You can’t exactly say “sign a contract with me and then I will tell you everything you need to know”.


I have found that being there a.s.a.p. is the key to winning more jobs…Pics,samples,and a walk around the property are also stimulating to the buying impulses…If the owner is a part of the measuring,and planning part of the job it is a winner…Say things like when we start the job this is where we would like to store the materials,(would that be ok?)or would you prefer we put them somewhere else…can we park here?WE will be sure to protect those flowers and shrubs(did you landscape yourself? nice job!) I can see you take pride in your property,and we will also treat your home with respect and take great care not to damage it…Most of my customers say their property is cleaner after the job then it was before we started!!!
I can tell that you are the type of person that if I do a great job for you you will recommend me to your friends…so if you allow me to put my sign in your yard for 30 days,I will take 100.00 of the price for advertising…(put the sign up as soon as contract is signed!!!) ( most of these things I already did but I got allot out of a dvd that I got from Gaf/Elk factory cert. package…
All of these things will add to what you already do…IN this hard economic time you need all the ammo you can get to win the job…
I was starting to lose confidence in my selling abilities too…but when customers call months down the road ,cause they had no coin before,it gives you hope…
With shingle prices higher than ever, it is harder to sell… Last year I was closing 4 of 5…now 1 of 6.
I also pass by later to see if they got another contractor to do the job,and 1 of 5 did, and the others never got done at all(really had no money)
Good luck to all…I don’t know any contractor that isn’t feeling this slump in the economy…


thanks jwoolfsroofing guess you just cant squeeze blood out of a turnip is what it comes down to. Good luck to all.


I dont get it. I have everything in my truck and nothing gets ruined. When there is a storm its like shooting fish in a barrel. SOunds honestly like something is either missing or streched. Or maybe because its 4 something in the morning. Either way ok.


Gtp things get ruined in a truck very easily if you are getting your hands dirty.


These are hard times. You will never make it. I’m surprised you have made it this far. Just give up. Hey, its not your fault, its the economy. People just aren’t buying. No use in even trying.

Now, if that answer is not acceptable its time to start working smarter not harder. First you need to start qualifing those leads. Quit running around from one estimate to the next like a madman. Make sure all decision makers are there when you go. Get yourself some real bonifide sales training. Maybe you should look into Prosult or CCN or RSI or something similar.

All that technical stuff you do is nice but its not the answer. “People don’t care how much you know…until they know how much you care.”

Personally, I think running right out there the minute they call is the wrong answer. What, you got nothing else to do? It makes it seem like you got nothing going on, your desperate for a job.


Im just a sales guy roofer r and a few repairs from time to time. Speaking of that i have a cricket that needs building on a friends home. If you seen and i will post pics of what he has you all will laugh. Its as watertight as the titanic.

Oh my closing ratio is around 40% and its an honest number. Oh yea its in michigan land of the unemployed.


Is 40% supposed to be good? I dont know but it doesnt seem like it to me. What it does seem like is a lot of ghost chasing. No offense.


I know Gtp. I’ve been around long enough to know the regulars. I was just saying nothing stays nice in a work truck if the driver has dirty hands and feet. Just to much going on.



I have not had that problem. People are impressed when you can get to them so quick.

When I was desperate, I thought they would think I was desperate.

Mow that I am not desperate, I think they will think I am efficent. And they do.