It was my senior year of college and I started looking at career options and had no idea what I wanted to do.
When employers and recruiters came to our college and started offering sales positions with compensation based on commissions, I was extremely disappointed as I was looking for something with a concrete salary.
At that point, I wanted to start making my own decisions and taking control of my career path by starting my own company.
So I decided to drop out of college five classes shy of graduating.
I was an economics major studying supply and demand models when I realized I just wanted to start a business and make money.
I enjoyed helping people and wanted to pursue a career such as a therapist, firefighter or doctor that had some purpose where I could make a positive impact in people’s lives.
I couldn’t do that because I did not have the financial ability or resources so I had to venture to Plan B, which was starting a business.
While I was evaluating different businesses, I identified that there was a demand for roofing companies and a lack of supply of reputable and responsive ones.
Friends and family shared frustrations about their poor experiences with roofing companies and I saw an opportunity.
I thought, if I could start a roofing company and become a reputable roofing contractor I could help people by doing the right thing and that our business would take off.
Unfortunately, I did not know anything about roofing and was discouraged by friends and family saying that I couldn’t do it.
That gave me the push I needed to get started as I was motivated to succeed and to prove them wrong.
I started to do research, go to the library and read books, but even after reading many books I still didn’t have a clue on what to do.
I realized that I needed hands-on experience and the only way that was going to happen was to work for a roofing company.
The next few days I searched newspaper ads and made multiple calls to local companies but no one would hire me.
All I kept hearing was, “Sorry no experience, no job.”
After 10 days of searching, I was so discouraged, I almost quit.
The next week a new listing came out that said "roofers and mechanics wanted."
I was going to try one last time.
If I was going to get this job I had to sell myself to get the job.
When I went in for the interview, I met with the owner.
I could already see him sizing me up realizing that I wasn't what they were looking for.
This was my only chance.
I told him what he already knew—that I know I don’t have any experience and I don’t know much about roofing but I’m willing to work hard and try my best and that he should give me a chance.
He hesitated and started thinking.
I told him that he could hire me and he wouldn’t need to pay me for the next two weeks.
I told him I could be a helper—and would do anything and learn until he fit me into a position.
If he didn’t like me, he can just let me go at any time.
He had nothing to lose. He couldn’t refuse.
He agreed and said if I showed up the next morning at 6 a.m., I have the job.
I worked hard but smart and he saw I was different from his set of employees and promoted me after a few weeks.
I worked there for eight months until I got licensed and was ready to go on my own.
When I gave him my two weeks' notice, he offered me a higher salary and a better position selling commercial roofing.
His offer was tempting but I could not accept—after all, my goal was to start on my own.
I would continuously tell my story when asked how I got involved in roofing and why I decided to open a roofing company.
Apparently, my story was so fascinating that the people I told repeated it to others.
Every one of us has a story—and people like to hear stories.
A story also creates a connection with people.
All of your employees can tell a story. Even if you are an estimator or troubleshooter in the field,there may be a success story that should be told.
A story about the time when you found the leak that many other people couldn’t find.
You repaired it instead of a new roof replacement, saving the homeowner thousands of dollars.
When people hear your story they internalize it and tell others, thereby creating a marketing buzz for you.
These are more marketing strategies that have been successful for our company:
- Planning or changing a company name with recognition to your customer base;
- Maintaining a solid reputation based on reviews;
- Displaying you are accessible and available;
- Trucks with creative but clear signage;
- Eye-catching easy to read lawn signs;
- Use of social media—continuous Instagram, Facebook posts, shout-outs and recommendations from customers on appropriate groups;
- Responding to tagged posts tells customers we are here and ready to help.
Marketing should be constant and repetitive.
Put your companies name in front of people as much as possible.
People need to know who you are and what you do.
They need to be able to easily find, access and remember you.
Telling a story is one of the best ways to market yourself and your company.
Marketing is essential to the growth of your company.
You need to realize that every employee in your company can market and is a salesperson.
The first point of contact is a sale.
Whether contact is from a phone call to the office or meeting a random person at a restaurant or supermarket.
From your estimator, foreman, repair guys in the crew—they are all marketers and can create hype for your business, which leads them to sales.
Set sales targets and incentivize all of your employees to sell by offering them a commission based on the gross sale, not the profit.
This gives your staff a solid dollar amount they are receiving once the sale is complete regardless of how profitable the job is they know what amount to expect.
Following these marketing strategies plus Incentivizing your employees to generate more income for themselves will help increase your company sales tremendously.