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Do you feel that the brand name of the shingle that you sell has an impact on your close ratio?

It looks like my close ratio goes up with the Owens Corning brand name compared to CertainTeed.

I know not every prospect will view brand name as an important criteria but some of them will.

-I know most homeowners are not aware of shingle brand names but they have heard of Owens Corning because everyone knows that they make fiberglass products. As far as other brands like GAF, CertainTeed, Tamko, etc, they little brand name awareness with the average consumer.+I know most homeowners are not aware of shingle brand names but they have heard of Owens Corning because everyone knows that they make fiberglass products. As far as other brands like GAF, CertainTeed, Tamko, etc, they have little brand name awareness with the average consumer.
 

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Let me ask you this. Who makes the best widget in the world?

You don't know because you are not in the widget business. It could be Acme Widgets or Besco widgets. But the widget is only one part of the machine. You are buying a completed machine from a reputable company who custom designs the machine to your standards and budgets, purchases the parts, and assembles themt o fill your needs. Do you care more who makes the widget or who builds the machine?

That's not to say that the quality of the shingle installed on the roof is not important. That is to say, as your next estimate "Would you prefer CertainTeed or Tamko shingles?" and watch them blink at you like a deer in head lights. They don't know what a certainteed or a tamko is any better than they know what a GAF is. The only real way they are going to know shingles by names and so forth is if the last roofer told them " We sell Timberlines. See how nice and architectural they are? ewww ahhh" If someone tells me they want Timberlines I tell them "Oh sure standard Architectural shingles are more the norm now a-days. I prefer Landmarks and Heritages over Timberlines, but they look very much the same. See? Look." Their reaction is time and time again "Oh yeah these do look alot alike." I then go on to explain why I prefer the Tamko and CertainTeed.

People don't often tell me what "brand" they want. They'll usually say "The ones that look nicer. Not like I have now" referrign to the 3 tabs they have now.

Besides if you are selling the shingle over your own business that's crazy. Anyone can install the same shingle. It's the installer that makes the most difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Let me ask you this. Who makes the best widget in the world?

You don't know because you are not in the widget business. It could be Acme Widgets or Besco widgets. But the widget is only one part of the machine. You are buying a completed machine from a reputable company who custom designs the machine to your standards and budgets, purchases the parts, and assembles themt o fill your needs. Do you care more who makes the widget or who builds the machine?

That's not to say that the quality of the shingle installed on the roof is not important. That is to say, as your next estimate "Would you prefer CertainTeed or Tamko shingles?" and watch them blink at you like a deer in head lights. They don't know what a certainteed or a tamko is any better than they know what a GAF is. The only real way they are going to know shingles by names and so forth is if the last roofer told them " We sell Timberlines. See how nice and architectural they are? ewww ahhh" If someone tells me they want Timberlines I tell them "Oh sure standard Architectural shingles are more the norm now a-days. I prefer Landmarks and Heritages over Timberlines, but they look very much the same. See? Look." Their reaction is time and time again "Oh yeah these do look alot alike." I then go on to explain why I prefer the Tamko and CertainTeed.

People don't often tell me what "brand" they want. They'll usually say "The ones that look nicer. Not like I have now" referrign to the 3 tabs they have now.
If I am reading you correctly, and I think I am, what you are saying is; in your experience the brand name of the product has no impact on your close ratio.

I can see why you would say that because the average homeowner has never heard of either of the companies that you are referring to.

Owens Corning is the only company that has name awareness with the consumer so there is no way for you to know if offering that product would increase your close ratio because you are not offering it.

Even if you were offering it you would not know because you probably don’t have a way to track it.

In order to know if the brand name of the product has any impact on close ratio you would have to test it find out.

For example you could rotate which brand you offer on every other appointment.

On one appointment you could offer brand A and on the next appointment offer brand B.

Besides if you are selling the shingle over your own business that's crazy. Anyone can install the same shingle. It's the installer that makes the most difference.

It’s crazy for you to assume that I am selling a product over my company.

That’s like me saying that "Grumpy is crazy for selling 30 lb. paper over his own business. Anyone can install 30 lb. paper. It's the installer that makes the difference."
 

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Yes, the brand name plays a big role. Everyone knows the name "Timberline". There were tons of salesmen selling these, unknowing of what junk they are. Of course how would they know if they don't actually put on the shingles.

We usually will put on what the customer wants, but try to steer them in the right direction.

OC's are right near the bottom of the barrel with GAF, IMO.
 

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Based on sales in my area, Tamko and GAF set at the top, OC in the middle, with Certainteed, Atlas and IKO at the bottom.

In my area, OC is the only shingle sold at Carter, 84 and other lumber yards,
as well as the only shingle sold at Lowes and Home Depot.

Thus most customers who show and actual interest in their roof, which by far most don't, they simply point at a house down the road and say they want what ever that home owner has, but for those who do actually care, they always mention / ask about OC, it's not that they see it as a better product,
but they see that damn pink panther every where they go when thier shopping for lawn tools, supplies, patio furniture, etc.

I have sample pac's from all the above mentioned manufacturers in my van and I take them all out and lean them against the side of the van so all are clearly viewable, than wait for home owners to open up with his/her questions, and go from there.


Direct answer to this post:
I have no idea if mentioning OC would make a difference in sales or not because I have never tried, but, I would guess it would due to the high exsposure of OC and that damn pink panther.
GAF doe's get some exsposure with their deck/pation materials, etc., but no one 'at least in my area' get's the exsposure that OC gets.

I am going to find out by mentioning them on every other sale for awhile and see what happens.
Going to use OC on one, than GAF, than Tamko, etc.

Edited to add: The list of most sold too least sold in my area is current, it has changed over the past few years.
Tamko and Certainteed use to sale much more equally but Tamko surpassed OC knocking them out of the top spot they use to share with GAF.
 

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I would not say it has absolutely NO impact. I will say that on very very few occasions I have had customers insist on one certain shingle, for what ever reason. I am also saying most customers have no clue, so while it might have some impact, it's so minimal.

I guess what you need to do is after the sale is made, maybe the day you are starting the job standing on the lawn with the customer watching the guys work. Have an informal survey where you ask the customer why he/she chose your company. What was the deciding factor. Who were you up against. What was the price variance. Are they pleased so far... Then when youg et to your truck fill this stuff out and have your assistant enter it into a database for tracking purposes. If you hand the customer a survey it's likley they won't take the time to fill it out but if you ask in casual conversation you do the filling out for them later on and they never even know they are part of a survey. In short, ask your customers, not us.

In regards to the 30#, it's not so much the fact that we are installing 30# infact I don't expect he customer to remember really. It's that I am hammering home points that we are doing more for them than anyone else. That's the whole purpose of my presentation. We are doing more, we are doign more, we are doing more. That's selling my company.


I don't like OC's and yes customers know the name. But they are builder grade junko and I wouldn't promote them even if it would get me one or two more sales per year, because it'll also get me one or two more call backs per year for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
In 2007 my close ratio was 50% and in 2008 in dropped down to 26%. Now in 2009 it is back up to 50%. This is for homeowner roofing jobs.

At first I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong in 2008. Then I realized I was offering more options. I was offering both CertainTeed shingles and Owens Corning. That way if they didn’t like the color of CertainTeed then maybe Owens Corning would have a color that they liked.

I was also offering options for exhaust venting and if they needed more soffit vents I told them how many they needed at an additional charge.

Also in 2008 I increased my workmanship warranty to lifetime.

In 2009 I changed my strategy, now I only show them shingles from 1 manufacture and anything to do with ventilation is included in the price, plus I now have financing available. I lowered my workmanship warranty down to 15 years, Making those changes got me back up to 50%.

Any way I didn’t have an exact way to track close ratio by brand name except by looking at my estimating software to see what shingle I included in the estimate. But these records are not accurate because sometimes I would offer both shingles and let them pick, I’m not going to make that mistake again. I’m only going to offer one brand if they tell me that none of the colors will work then I switch to another brand.

When I looked at about 12 estimates that included Owens Corning the close ratio was around 70%. That’s why I started thinking about the brand name issue.

Once in a while I get referrals from a Manufacturer’s website. So far this year I have received 3 from Owens Corning and I sold 2 of them. I don’t think I have received any from CertainTeed this year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I don't like OC's and yes customers know the name. But they are builder grade junko and I wouldn't promote them even if it would get me one or two more sales per year, because it'll also get me one or two more call backs per year for sure.
Can you be more specific about the Owens Corning Duration shingle?

What about it makes it inferior?

I’ve used the Owens Corning product on less than 20 jobs. So far I don’t see any problems with it.

I started a thread about that product at http://www.roofingtalk.com/f11/oc-duration-200/ but did not get much input from you guys.

Owens Corning is the only company that has SureNail technology. The competitors changed their wind resistance warranty to match OC at 110 mph but they did not change the design of the product.

In fact the case could be made that CertainTeed’s wind resistance is lower now because they no longer require nailing through the double layer. Landmark now has a 1.5 inch nailing zone but no other improvements have been made to the shingle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have sample pac's from all the above mentioned manufacturers in my van and I take them all out and lean them against the side of the van so all are clearly viewable, than wait for home owners to open up with his/her questions, and go from there.


Direct answer to this post:
I have no idea if mentioning OC would make a difference in sales or not because I have never tried, but, I would guess it would due to the high exsposure of OC and that damn pink panther.
GAF doe's get some exsposure with their deck/pation materials, etc., but no one 'at least in my area' get's the exsposure that OC gets.

I am going to find out by mentioning them on every other sale for awhile and see what happens.
Going to use OC on one, than GAF, than Tamko, etc.

Edited to add: The list of most sold too least sold in my area is current, it has changed over the past few years.
Tamko and Certainteed use to sale much more equally but Tamko surpassed OC knocking them out of the top spot they use to share with GAF.
Experience has taught me that offering products from multiple manufactures will lower my close ratio.

That’s why I recommend that you only show them samples from one manufacturer.
 

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Since I went self employed in 94 I have never had 'year to date' sales ratio under 50% so I'll stick to my methods for now.
I appreciate the advice tho.

I always pay attention to the roofs near by and point those samples out first saying, well this Tamko is on that home there, or this GAF is on that home across the street.
That's kind of what your talking about.

I have a question that maybe you or grumpy can help me out with,
I think it fits this topic.

If I sale 'advertise - push' one product, won't that increase my chances of selling a 'material failure' line of shingles being that all manufacturers have them from time to time.
They all have had them, not just in the 90's but in the 2000's also.

I know your not saying you only sale one manufacturer Jack,
but I know of several roofers here in my area that do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Since I went self employed in 94 I have never had 'year to date' sales ratio under 50% so I'll stick to my methods for now.
I appreciate the advice tho.

I always pay attention to the roofs near by and point those samples out first saying, well this Tamko is on that home there, or this GAF is on that home across the street.
That's kind of what your talking about.

I have a question that maybe you or grumpy can help me out with,
I think it fits this topic.

If I sale 'advertise - push' one product, won't that increase my chances of selling a 'material failure' line of shingles being that all manufacturers have them from time to time.
They all have had them, not just in the 90's but in the 2000's also.

I know your not saying you only sale one manufacturer Jack,
but I know of several roofers here in my area that do.
I think there is always a risk that a product line could go bad.

Your suppliers may mean well in recommending a product to you but their advice could be biased.

When I got in the business many years ago my suppliers told me that Globe was a good shingle. They had a lot of curling problems and now they are out of business. However their 20 year shingle did last 20 years because I am in the process of replacing the shingles on an apartment complex that I did 20 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Since I went self employed in 94 I have never had 'year to date' sales ratio under 50% so I'll stick to my methods for now.
That’s an outstanding record; you are above average and also consistent.

If it works keep doing it.
 

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I think there is always a risk that a product line could go bad.

Your suppliers may mean well in recommending a product to you but their advice could be biased.

When I got in the business many years ago my suppliers told me that Globe was a good shingle. They had a lot of curling problems and now they are out of business. However their 20 year shingle did last 20 years because I am in the process of replacing the shingles on an apartment complex that I did 20 years ago.
I meant roofers not suppliers.
I have seen numerous roofers state they only sale OC, Certainteed, etc., and will only go with another brand if the home owner insist.

Being there's a chance with any line and all lines have had thier problems,
wouldn't restricting your sales to one line increase your chances of a bad line?
 

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That’s an outstanding record; you are above average and also consistent.

If it works keep doing it.
I have had a few people compliment me on my sales percentage ratio and I always feel a little weird about it because of the numbers I see posted in these forums.
I have never had a dozen estimates in one day like I have seen some in here say they have, that number would be an above normal 'week' in the busy 'late spring thru early fall' season for me.

The highest number of estimates I have ever done in a week was 14,
and that was just once, a more realistic number for me ' year to date'
would be 1 every few days.

I never actually did a study to figured that average, just guestimating.

Edited to add: i didn't include repairs, inspections and storm damage jobs in that gustimation.
Most repairs and inspections cost are flat rates and excepted or denied during the phone call.
 

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I don't even show them colors or samples until they decide to hire me and ink the contract. In my presentation book I show them two logos and tell them:

"These are the two manufacturers we prefer. There is builder grade junk out there and do it yourself grade junk out there. When it comes down to it we'll install what ever manufacturer you prefer, but if you allow me to recommend we'll be looking at Tamko and Certainteed Samples. Color doesn't affect price and anyone can get any shingle I an get. The worlds best shingle is unless if not installed properly, so let's discuss how the roof is assembled. Ok? "

If they ask why we prefer certainteed or tamko I tell them. I can tell you most people don't seem to care, and since I am putting the color decision on the back burner I'm taking one stress away from the presentation. The presentation is all abotu discussing options, but does not require making any decisions yet. I don't do my sales in a typical saleman fashion. I don't want to waste my time choosing a color, adding another 30 minutes to the sales presentation holding up samples and what not, until they've decided to hire me... and again they are not hiring me based on color or manufacturer because as I told them we will install any shingle of their prefrence and as I told them anyone can get the same shingles... then I went on to tell them what makes us better than everyone else. That's why they hire me.

I do agree offering them too many options is not a good thing, which is why I offer only one or two options. I am not a fan of the good better best... just better best. However during my presentation which is an informal educational conversation, I throw out lots of options at the customer to gauge their reactions which allows me to tailor my actual proposal, that's when I narrow down exactly what we are going to do and throw on one or two options.

What makes them crap? We do alot of repairs to other peoples roofs. Many of the roofs we repair are OC. The guys don't like the feel of working with them. They are cheap flimsy builder grade production shingles. Inferior to an old timberline (before they bought Elk and started reducing the asphalt per shingle) and definetly inferior to a Landmark.

I wish I had a 50% closing ratio and I could if I decreased my profit, since I consistantly bid against people near half my price for a shingle roof. However I sometimes think people do not truly track their numbers and are just plucking a gutt feeling number from air when I hear nice even round numbers like 50%. Every sales rep I interview to work for me has a 50% closing ratio, so they claim. I then go on to ask them why they are looking for work if they are such great sales reps. I press hard for where that number came from and often, as I said, it's based on a gutt feeling. The mind has a terrible habit of hazing ones memory.

Jack if you are doing storm chasing sales, as I think you are, 50% is low for offering a free roof.
 

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I haven't did any type of tracking since 2003, with one crew going since than the numbers are not high volume enough to bother with.
When I was running multiple crews and spending time daily behind a desk and running around to several jobs a day I kept daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly records of dozens of different activities such as sales, repairs, call backs, etc.

My numbers for sales with one crew stay around 60%.
In the 90's when I was not the only one selling, our combined numbers stayed around 35 - 40%, but my personal numbers were never that low.

I didn't go from multiple crews to one because of sales or workmanship,
it was a combination of coming to terms with and dealing with a bad habit.
The down fall of the economy, which started here in my area in mid 2005,
has prolonged my re-establishing multiple crews, but it will happen.
 

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I've been thinking chris at NRG has the right idea. Screw these little jobs take on only jobs with very very large margin, keep the overhead low, do a coupe of jobs a year and make a few hundred K. My quality of life sucks constantly recruiting, hiring, training, and firing sales reps... then busting my ass to support the entire conmpany on my shoulders which should be support by multiple sales reps.

I do very well myself, exactly as you described... but why spend the same ammount of time chasing $8k jobs where I am the highest bidder by far when I can spend the same ammount of time chasing $100k jobs where I am the same ball park as every other bidder.


I should just get a job selling for a commercial roofing company, keep working 60 hour weeks and make a fuggin killing on commissions and not have to worry abotu supporting anyone's family other than my own. If I am selling in the 40% closing rate, but can't find someone to do better than 20%, what's the point?
 

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I hear ya,
I was talking to Chris on the phone the other day and the subject of him only doing a couple / few jobs a year came up, he seems very content with the way he's doing things.

I constantly find my estimates at or near the top of all given and still sale quite well,
I had a couple of the 'big commercial' companies offer me sales jobs in the late 90's, but I was to much into fox roofing at the time and passed them by, many a nights I ask myself why.
The biggest problem with me is I enjoy getting my hands dirty,
I will sale but I want to have time to install also and if I were to work sales for someone else the installing portion simply would not be an option.
I could work for a smaller residential company and be able to sell and install both, but than I would be working longer hours and making less monies than I do now doing it for myself.
 

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You once slippe dout what you were charging per square and I am about $100 higher than you are per square. I don't charge by the square, and I bet you don't either but on average... There are some companies more expensive but I am getting really frustrated charging a fair wage on residential work.

The flip is true for you and I, at this point if I go to work for someone else I'll be making a hell of alot more than I am now. I've alot more over head than you, and one sales person shouldn't be supporting it all. Try to find a sales rep worth squat and GOOD LUCK! So my choises are throw my standard out the window and become the average moderate roofer like everyone else around here or just give up and go work for someone else and make them alot of money and take what little I can.
 
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