If you have a minute, do a quick Google search for “roofing quote.” Click on the images and take a glance at your screen. I’m sure I don’t need to describe for you what this looks like. Every single image looks almost identical: a single page with a logo, some line items, and a price. If you know where I’m going with this, some of you may be hanging your head in shame right now.
What’s the purpose of a quote?
Let’s back this up and think about it for a minute. What is the purpose of a quote? To give somebody a price for their job, right? To let them know the type of shingles being installed and the warranty being provided. While those things can be included in a quote, I would suggest that the purpose of a quote is to gain the trust and engagement of your potential client while showing them how you differ from other contractors. Ultimately, if you can connect with your client via trust, education, and engagement, you will leap miles ahead of the competition.
This was our struggle as a large residential and commercial roofing company. We had grown to a significant size, but we were losing too many jobs because our price was higher than competitors. We knew that we could provide a superior experience, but it was difficult for us to demonstrate that to the client at the sales stage. We wrestled continuously with how to practically differentiate our business in the sales process. Finally, we tried completely changing our quotes and were blown away by the results. More on these results later.
One of baseball’s all-time great hitters, Ted Williams, wrote a book in 1968 called The Science of Hitting. In it, he analyzed his hitting percentage through every location in the strike zone that a pitcher could throw the ball. Through this, Ted learned that his hitting percentage for balls thrown through the strike zone could vary all the way from .250 to .400!!!
Applying this baseball analogy to roofing sales, we want to pitch the client a quote that is incredibly easy for them to “hit” (throw it in the exact spot they hit .400!). Building a quote with line items and a price but doesn’t include customized content for your client is like throwing a pitch and not caring if it is a ball or a strike. If you want to dramatically increase your odds of winning a job, create a professionally graphic-designed quote with content that speaks to what matters to the client. A quote like this will dramatically increase your odds of winning a job.
Your Customer’s Story
Think back to your own quotes again. How much does your quote focus on your own company, why it’s awesome, your price for the job, etc? Do you include any specific content that is about the client and how you can solve their problems? If not, that’s a major problem.
Donald Miller explains in Storybrand, “Customers don’t generally care about your story; they care about their own. Your customer should be the hero of the story, not your brand.”
Miller unpacks his thought further, “Customers aren’t looking for a hero, they are looking for a guide.” In other words, your roofing company isn’t Luke Skywalker in this story, swooping in to be the hero. Instead, you are Yoda. When Luke was overwhelmed, inexperienced, and didn’t know how to win the battle, he turned to Yoda, a guide that could lead the hero to success.
Rather than our quotes being all about us, the products we use, our warranty details, the price we were offering, etc., we changed the focus of our quotes to being on the client. How? We developed quotes that demonstrated our ability to:
- Understand their home
- Identify with their challenges
- Provide solutions
- Establish our competence and ability to help them
Practically, we did this by inserting a photo of the client’s home on the cover page, writing about specific details of the project to educate them, and going a step further by including photos to show issues on their home and how we would correct them. To top it off, we hired a professional graphic designer and communications expert to make the quote visually appealing with easy to understand messages.
The End Result
The result for our company was an increase in our retail sales of millions of dollars. Specifically, we saw a 64% increase in our retail sales from 2016 when we started using these presentations to our most recent year in 2018. Additionally, with the web app, we developed to build these sales presentations (www.sumoquote.com), and our sales team were creating exponentially superior quotes faster than they previously built generic quotes.
One of my sales people shared this story with me the other day. He sat down with a potential client who said, “Your quote is a bit more expensive, but I’d like to move forward with your company. After seeing how detailed your quote is, I know you’ll do a great job!” Now here’s the ironic part, a competitor’s quote was visible on the table, and it actually went into FAR more detail than ours. It described all sorts of industry details that we hadn’t bothered to mention. The difference? The quote focused on details that a roofer cared about, but no homeowner would ever understand. The competitors quote was obviously built in Word/Excel or some generic CRM. It was a logo with a huge amount of text and a price. In contrast, our presentation was designed and built in such a way that it was intuitive and easy to understand. Our quote focused on the client, while our competitor’s focused on themselves.
So, what can you do to change? Start thinking about the sale from a client’s perspective, engage them, make the process about them, and ensure that every message in your quote is shared to make life easier for them.
Ryan Shantz is an owner of Epic Roofing & Exteriors in Calgary, Canada. He is also the Founder of SumoQuote, a web app that allows any contractor to build quotes that crush the competition. If you are interested in seeing how fast and easy these types of quotes can be made, check out www.sumoquote.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.