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Contractors

4 Tips To Get Your Salesmen To Use Roofing Software

By | Contractors, Tech | No Comments

Roofing software is fantastic. It minimizes paperwork, saves time, and makes your company run more efficiently. Well at least it does all those things if everyone uses it. Often times, getting salesmen to start using or switch roofing software programs can be a struggle; they are set in their ways, and think they have it all figured out already. So what can you do to get them on board with the new software? Keep reading to see our top tips for getting your salesmen to make the switch.

Take The Time To Train Them

While it can be time consuming, and feel a little like time wasted, taking the time to actually train your salesmen on the software can make a big difference. Giving them each a log-in and saying use this now, is easier, but less effective. Seeing as you, the owner or manager, is probably the one who picked it out the software makes sense to you because you have been researching and learning about it. For your salesmen, it is something totally new that they need to put effort in to learn to use, and many of them don’t want to take that time out of their already busy schedule to learn it. The easiest way around this is for you to schedule that time and do it with them! Have everyone block out an afternoon, bring in an expert if you need, and go through it together. Do a mock project from start to finish so that everyone sees all the basic functions and features. Make sure everyone can access the software on the devices they need and go through any changes in usage for each device. It may seem like a long way to spend an afternoon, but it can help make a big difference in getting everyone on board.

Explain The Benefits

Sometimes being in a company doesn’t mean you see everything. No matter how involved your salesmen are in aspects of the business beyond sales and projects, you know more about it than they do. You know where the biggest glitches are, where the most problems arise from, and where things need to be changed; more likely than not, implementing the software is a way to deal with a lot of those problems. So explain that to them. Detail out what is going wrong or could use some improvement, and show them how the software will help solve some of those problems. If they can see the direct effect that using the software will have, it will encourage them to view the switch as a good thing, rather than a tedious one.

Address Concerns

A lot of salesmen get set in their ways. They have their routines that get that job done and they like it that way. So when you try and change that routine, even a little bit, they are going to have questions. Take the time answer the questions and address their concerns. From will it change my whole system to will it work on my phone, all the questions are important to them. Taking the time to see what they are specifically concerned about, and to address their concerns will, ideally, make them more open to trying the software. It is also important to be patient when addressing their concerns; seeming irritated by the questions and comments will make them even less inclined to give the software a try, so stay positive and understand that this might be a bigger change than you realized for them.

Have A Trial Period

More often than not, forcing use of something is the quickest way to make sure it is detested. So try and forgo telling your salesmen that they HAVE to use the new software and that’s that. Instead try doing a trial period with it. Say they have to use it for two weeks or a month or however long you feel is appropriate, and that you will all come together to discuss benefits and problems with it after at that time. This gives everyone the opportunity to try out the software, find what they like and don’t like, and discuss everyone’s thoughts surrounding it. Doing a trial gives you the opportunity to make them use the software without it being a completely forced idea. It also gives your salesmen the chance to actually see if they like the software, or for you to realize that the software might not be the right one for your company.

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews!

By | Contractors | No Comments

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we want to talk about reviews…again. It’s not that we are trying to be boring and repetitive, it’s just that reviews are really, really important when it comes to keeping your contracting business successful. No matter what kind of contractor you are, you need reviews on your website, your google page, your yelp page, and where ever else your business has a presence. These reviews are good for a variety of things, but the two biggest are that customers can see and read them, and they can influence your online search rankings. Below we are going to dive into why you need to have reviews for both of those reasons.

Influencing Rankings

When people need something, they turn to the internet. Whether it is for advice, entertainment, or information the first thing most people do, is jump onto Google. What does that matter to you? It matters because that is where they are going to find you, or try to find you at least. While there are a lot of different things that contribute to your rankings in online search, reviews are one them so it is valuable to have them. When people are searching for contractors, they are going to get a lot of results because there a lot of contractors. One way to work towards the top of that search is to have reviews (and lots of them) on your google page and on your website. It might not bump you to the number one spot, but if people are looking and see you have a lot of reviews, it’ll make them more likely to click on you even if you are further down the page.

Convincing Customers

Piggy-backing off of influencing rankings, you need reviews to convince your potential customers to pick you. When they get on search, which they will do, they will look at your website, check out your photos and maybe your team, but what is going to make up their mind is your reviews. They want to see what other people have said about you, if your guys were clean, if the job was done correctly, were you attentive to specific needs? Those are the differentiating factors that people look at when they look for a contractor; anyone can do the work for more or less the same price so they are going to be looking for how easy you were to work with and is it worth it to work with you. Having lots of reviews looks good for one, because it shows the volume of your business, but also gives them typically all the information they want because every review will talk about different things.

So to wrap up. Ask for reviews. Then ask again. Ask until every customer you work with fills one out because it is better to have them (even if they aren’t all good).

How To Keep Salesmen Busy During The Winter Season

By | Contractors | No Comments

For a large part of the country, it gets cold, wet, and unpleasant during the winter months of the year. Here in Colorado we feel it for sure; as do the contractors in Wisconsin, Iowa, Washington, and Montana among others; all you lucky people who live in Florida don’t know what we’re talking about, so you might need to skip this one.

During winter, when it is cold constantly and dark at 4:30, work tends to slow down. It is hard to do some things in freezing temps and it takes twice as long to finish projects when you have so little daylight to work with. This trend leaves your salesmen bored, for lack of a better word. There are no projects building, no storms creating new business for them to find, and the holidays make it easy to slack off even more. So what do you do? You aren’t paying them to just sit around and take up space in your office, so you find useful tasks to keep them busy. Below we dive into some of our favorite tasks to keep the salesmen busy when it’s cold out.

Training

There is no such thing as too much training. Even your most seasoned salesmen can always learn something new. Use the down time to do different kinds of training with your guys. Work with manufacturers to get updated installation techniques or to learn about new products or warranties they are offering. You can also use training’s to talk about stress and time management when it is busy at work; work with the team to come up with methods to combat stress that everyone can use when everyone is crazy busy. New sales methods are coming out every day as well, so take this time to make sure all of your salesmen are up-to-date and evolving their methods for the current sales market. No matter what type of training you choose to do, it can’t do any harm. It keeps your salesmen minds on their jobs, and, hopefully, will get them thinking creatively for how to get more business when things start to pick up again.

Planning

Similar to training, down time can be used for planning. Sit down with each of your salesmen and set goals for the next storm season. Or brainstorm as a group the best ways to find new business; see who has good connections and where other connections can be built. Get the salesmen to work together to plan sales tactics for specific areas that you know you want. The down time can be used to prepare for when things get busy and to find the best ways to tackle everything. It allows you, as an owner, to set standards and practices for how you want things to go in the next season.

Prospecting

Just because they can’t necessarily be out in the field selling, doesn’t mean the salesmen can’t still be making sales and bringing future business into the company. Slow season gives them the opportunity to sit down and look at what connections they have to get business, and where they can improve those connections and try to get more. Depending on your specific sphere, there are a number of other businesses that can be great partners for bringing business into to your company. Use the down time to have your salesmen try and connect with people from those businesses; have them call, offer an introduction, see if they would be willing to sit down with your company. Doing this gives your company the opportunity to grow even when things are slow. Plus, this also gives the salesmen a chance to test out new selling techniques that you have taught them during this time as well!

Slow doesn’t have to mean stopped. See what works best for your company, your people, and your goals and find ways to keep everyone busy year round.

Customer Service: The Make Or Break Differentiator For Contractors

By | Contractors | No Comments

Let’s face it, most contractors are basically the same. Within the sphere of work you do (roofing, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) you and your competition look a whole lot a alike. You offer similar services, for similar prices, with the same end result for the customer. So how do you make your business stand out over others? We have two words for you: customer service. Customer service is the one way that you can totally distinguish yourself from your competition; it allows you to create a specific identity for your company that no other company can replicate.

Regardless of the type of work you do, almost any other contractor in your field can properly repair or install. They can all make sure it is done to manufacturer specifications and in line with city ordinances, so there is little you can do besides tout your expertise (even though everyone else is also doing that). Next step would be to potentially offer deals or discounts, but similarly to installing, there are only so many different things you can offer; between the legal restrictions and your own costs, you can typically do free inspections or sometimes discounted materials, but unfortunately, the other guys can do that too. So what can you do to make your company different? Make your customer service better. When it comes down to it, people aren’t really going to remember the installation and the actual work that got done. They are going to remember if you were helpful, efficient, and communicative.

Making your customer service better doesn’t need to mean big changes within your company. Often it is the little, helpful things that customers remember and that can help you differentiate from other contractors. It can start at the very beginning before you even have a signed contract. Make the most of your initial contact, answer all their questions and address concerns, and follow-up with them after to make sure nothing else came-up after you left. This shows the potential customers that you care, and are invested in the project from the start.

Communication is another big way to build your customer service reputation. In addition to following-up when you are trying to win business, stay in contact once you have the business. Over-communicating can actually be helpful; keep homeowners updated with how the project is progressing, let them know if there are problems with materials, keep them in the loop when work is happening and what that entails for their daily lives. This goes both ways as well, the more you communicate with them, the more they will feel like they can communicate with you. You want them to be comfortable enough with you and your company to call with any questions or concerns as the project goes on. Taking those calls, and taking the time to address those concerns can be the turning point for you over other contractors.

You can also make them aware of product specifications, warranties, and what to look for in case something happens again. If the product has tell-tale signs that something is about to go wrong, let the homeowner know what those signs are and what to do when it happens to make the process smoother. If there are warranties or rewards available from either your company or manufacturers, make sure the homeowner is aware of them and help them get registered so that they won’t face more costs down the road. Going the extra mile to give them helpful extra information makes you look really good, and makes homeowners trust you more.

Making homeowners feel heard, understood, and secure during a project makes a difference. It makes them more likely to come back you for more work, recommend you to people who need the same work done, and give your company good reviews. All of these things help to set you apart from your competition; if they aren’t taking the time to listen to their customers, than that puts you a step above them and when the race is tight, that can make all the difference.

Warming Up Cold Leads: Best Practices

By | Contractors | No Comments

As much as we wish they were, not every job you’ll get will be a home run. You know the kind, where the homeowners sign the contract right away, the insurance company approves your estimate, and the work goes off without a hitch. For every ten jobs, you might get one that goes that nicely, and the rest, well, they require a little more legwork.

One of the most difficult parts of selling for contractors is getting the contract signed. Some homeowners like to take their time making a decision, or are unsure of what work they need done, or they just think they know more than you do. These are the homeowners that are typically deemed as cold leads; they didn’t slam the door, they let you explain what you do, and they may have even had you do an inspection, but then they want to wait to sign a contract. It can be frustrating dealing with these types of homeowners because you want the work and you want to get started. You might even think it would be easier to move on to the next house who is ready to sign the contract and forget about the hesitant people all together. But, taking the time to warm-up these cold leads can pay off big time if you do it right. In this post, we will go into detail about some of the best practices to warm-up cold leads and get contracts signed.

Don’t Push Too Hard Too Fast

One of the easiest ways to scare off cold leads for good is to push too hard too fast. Having to make changes or repairs to a home is big, big deal and some people need more time to process that than others. When you push too much, it can overwhelm the homeowners and make them run to another contractor with more patience, and it can also seem a little sketchy; like you just want to get the work done and get paid. Most of the time you can tell which homeowners are going to be a little harder to convince, so have a sales plan specific to those kinds of customers. Try your normal sales process at half speed if they seem skittish; do your inspection and give them all the information, but don’t bring up a contract or moving forward until the next time you speak. Give them time to process all the information one bit at a time, and let them become comfortable with you before the ball really starts to roll.

Stay In Touch

Another great way to warm-up cold leads is to stay in touch with homeowners while they are in the process of picking a contractor. Even if you are moving slower, as mentioned above, communicate with them; call and see if they have questions after looking over your damage assessment, ask if they have any questions about the insurance process, or if they need help navigating HOA requirements. Try and speak with them at least once per week while they are in the decision-making process. Not only will it keep you in their minds as an option to do the work, it will also help you build rapport and display your full expertise, which will hopefully bolster their confidence in you.

Find Hesitations

Typically, the people who take the longest to process and decide have specific concerns that are holding them back, and these concerns are typically easy to find. All you have to do is ask. Ask them if they have any specific questions or if there is anything they are worried about and, usually, that answer will let you know what they are worried about so you can address it. Finding out why they are hesitant to move forward gives you the opportunity to display your knowledge of the process and the repairs, and make the homeowner more comfortable with you; similar to staying in touch, it allows you to build rapport with them before other contractors can. Addressing their concerns, and pointing out how you can help negate them, can be a big step in getting a contract signed.

Success Through Simplicity: Why Customizability Matters

By | Contractors, Public Adjusters | No Comments

At Scoperite, we don’t believe that you need a software with a bunch of features to make your business better. We believe that you need a software that can bend to your needs and that can make your company more effective at what they do.

So many of the software options on the market for contractors and public adjusters right now do their best to showcase the wide variety of things that it can do, from tracking everyone’s calendars to creating graphs showing how many leads you’ve closed, but not every company needs all those features. That is where Scoperite aims to be different. We stand by our motto “Success Through Simplicity” because we don’t have a thousand different features in our system; we don’t think you need them. Instead we have a few different features, that we found to be the most useful for contractors and public adjusters, that are customizable to you and your business.

We believe it is more important for the features to function the way you need them to, rather than having (and paying for) a bunch of features for the sake of having a lot of them. Each company operates differently, with different systems in place so being able to customize the software you use to those systems makes the most sense. For example, Scoperite allows users to create documents like invoices and estimates from a template. That template is created by the owner of the company so that it fits your company’s methods for those documents. The same can be said for the custom email templates that can be created as well; users can create templates of emails they send frequently to save time, effort, and confusion and the templates are available from each claim page.

We could go on, but we won’t. Our point is, there is nothing wrong with simple when it gets the job done. If you want to learn more about our features and their customization, head over to our main page and sign-up for a demo today!

The Importance of Communication in Autonomous Roles

By | Contractors, Public Adjusters | No Comments

Contractors and public adjusters do a lot of work on their own. Whether it is scoping houses, supervising projects, or cranking out paperwork, it isn’t uncommon that they do all of it with little to no guidance or input from others. Autonomy is what helps many of these businesses run successfully; when the employees know what needs to be done, and get it done without needing to be told, it makes the whole company more productive and profitable.

However, just because someone can do something without input from others, doesn’t always mean they should. Communication is essential in the workplace, even when it isn’t necessarily needed. In autonomous roles, such as public adjusting or project management, communication can improve both individual and company performance in a lot of ways. Below we talk about some of the most important reasons to keep the lines of communication open at your company.

Keeps Everyone Connected

While it seems like an obvious point, communication keeps everyone connected. That may seem like a “well-duh” kind of statement, but in autonomous roles, people tend to only communicate with the other people that they need to get their projects done instead of communicating with everyone. When people take the time to communicate with all their coworkers, it fosters the culture of the company, which can sometimes get lost when there are lots of singular roles in a business. Even just asking about someone’s day in passing in the parking lot counts as communication that can help build a culture. When employees like the culture they work in and feel comfortable with their coworkers, they are more likely to stay at that job and enjoy doing their work.

Decreases Problems And Confusion

From scheduling crews, to ordering materials, to keeping property owners properly informed there is a mass amount of information and tasks that keep every project moving forward. For the most part, each person is focused on their projects and the tasks that they need to accomplish, which works, it’s how the work gets done. But when everyone is focusing only on their projects, things can get lost. If project managers aren’t communicating crews might get doubled booked, materials might get dropped and there’s no one there to unload it. If salesmen aren’t communicating they may knock too many of the same doors, call the same property managers, and make no progress. But if everyone communicates on at least a base level, it can eliminate a lot of that confusion. Talking with other project managers and planning schedules together can make sure there are always crews available. Coordinating with the other salesmen on the best way to attack a neighborhood can mean you’ll get more jobs, and not bother people by knocking on their door twice. Keeping yourself up-to-date with what is happening with other projects and other employees can solve problems before they start, and keep the company running flawlessly.

Improves Customer Service

Similar to communicating to avoid confusion, communicating with other coworkers can help improve company customer service as whole. If a project manager is on vacation, and the insurance company calls, someone else can help them if they have been talking with their coworkers and keeping tabs on their projects. If more people know what is happening with certain projects, anyone can help when problems arise. The more people that can help with problems, the better your customer service will be, which is likely to lead to referrals and good reviews from happy clients.

Fuels Accountability

Autonomy is awesome because it means making your own schedule and having more control over how you do your work. But it can also be easy to get behind, put things off, and let things slip through the cracks when you are the only one responsible for you. Communicating with coworkers and managers frequently fuels accountability; if you know someone is going to be checking-up, you want to have everything done. Whether it is asking about scheduling, following-up on a question, or passing on paperwork, if someone else is going to be asking you about your projects, you want to be prepared to answer them. Communicating doesn’t mean tracking schedules and taking away autonomy, but is a way to make sure that the people working alone are still doing all the work that they need to do.

Best Practices For Training New Hires

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Having a good system for training new employees is essential to keeping them at a company. Training new hires helps them embrace the culture, methods, and goals of the company so that they can be highly effective in their new role. A lot of companies, especially in the construction sector, train quickly; with the goal being for the new employee to be on their own as soon as possible, but taking the time to slow down and train them properly will be more effective for both you and the new employee in the end. Below we will dive into a few tried and true best practices for training new hires that, if used, will help your company and your new employees thrive.

Have A System

One of the biggest ways to make your training effective is to have a system; take the time to sit down with relevant parties to new hires and let everyone give their input on what needs to be taught for each department. This information can then be compiled and organized into a system for training new hires that will allow them to gain the most training and knowledge necessary to do their job well. Having a system means that each and every new employee gets all the information that they need without it being extra work for current employees; the system sets everyone up for success by ensuring all relevant information is given to new hires as soon as they start.  Using a set system also makes it easier for you to identify gaps in training, and allows you see where changes can be made to make new and current employees more effective at their jobs.

Use The Right People

Some people are good teachers, and some people just aren’t. Even people who are really good at their jobs aren’t always awesome at explaining it to others. When you are deciding who will be training new hires, you want to pick the people who are good teachers and who don’t mind taking the time to show someone how everything works. You want to use the people who can thoroughly explain and outline how task works, but also someone who makes the trainee feel welcome and understands that there will be a learning curve. Questions are essential in the learning process, so having people who can and are willing to answer questions is important because it will help the new hire learn faster and ensure that they are fully understanding all the tasks required of them in their new position.

Best Practices For Upselling

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When it comes to construction, one of the best ways to increase profits is to upsell customers. Whether it is for better products, better warranties, or just more peace of mind for them, it is good for you when your employees can get customers to make improvements and upgrades beyond the original scope of work.

Upselling, however, isn’t always easy. Whether your salesmen are new and timid or homeowners are a tough sell, it can take a lot of convincing to get a commitment to a better product, service, warranty, etc. There are a few things that you, as a leader in your company, can do to make your team more effective in their upselling efforts.

Take The Time To Train)

Some guys are just good at selling, and upselling, they can get contracts signed and warranty upgrades agreed to without hardly any work at all on their end, but some guys just aren’t; they struggle to create a good relationship with the homeowner and to get contracts signed, much less get product upgrades in the mix.

Taking the time to train all your guys on good tactics for upselling can hugely benefit your company. Helping them to have rebuttals for denials, tools to explain the value added, and tactics to open the upgrading conversation will make them more effective at upselling, but also at selling in general. Have them practice on each other, role play the scenario so that they can get used to fending off excuses and working the benefits into the conversation; the more they practice on each other, the easier it will come when they try with real homeowners. It also gives the salesmen an opportunity to help one another out. That great salesman can show your new guys how he goes about selling, convincing, and getting the deal done. The new or timid salesmen can ask questions, and clarify things they are unsure of. Getting all of your guys together in one room gives them the opportunity to teach each other and collaborate amongst themselves the best ways to upsell homeowners.

Use Your Resources)

Part of being able to upsell is to know what it is you are persuading the homeowner to add to their project. Whether it is a product like an impact resistant shingle or anti-wear paint, or a better warranty for using only one company’s products, your guys need to know everything about it so that they can ensure the homeowner that it is the right thing for them do to.

This is where having good, strong relationships with manufacturer reps is essential. The manufacturer representatives are a wealth of knowledge, and it is their job to get your company to use more of their products. Many reps will be more than happy to sit down with you and your salesmen to go in depth into how certain products work, how they are better than others, and even ways to sell them to the homeowners. Similar to the training, working with the reps gives your guys the opportunity to ask questions, see demos, and become experts on the products and services they sell. Being able to understand exactly what they are selling and how it will be a benefit to the homeowner will make you salesmen exponentially better at gaining the homeowner’s trust, and convincing them to upgrade their project.

Three Ways To Combat Storm Chasers And Win Jobs In Your Area

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For contractors who specialize in any sort of storm damage, it is a good day when a storm hits your area. It’s time for you and your team to go out and do what you do best, repair people’s properties.

Less than ideal when a storm hits however, are the storm chasers that come racing into town; ready to take your business and do repairs far below the standard of what you and your team can offer. Thankfully there are a few different ways to combat the storm chasers and get the jobs your company needs.

1) Direct Marketing

Getting your name, services, and reputation out to potential customers is one of the best ways to ensure that your company gets jobs, and one of the best ways to do that is by using direct marketing methods. Direct marketing methods are things like sending mailers to houses and knocking on doors; things that allow you to directly show potential clients what you and your company can do.

Mailers can be sent directly to affected areas and are designed to showcase your company. It gets your logo out so people recognize it, and it allows you to inform them about your services, your goals, and, most importantly, your local proximity to them. Because people today are so well-informed, most know that it is better to pick a local contractor than someone who swoops in and out, and mailers are a great way to let them know that you and your company are local.

Knocking doors, tedious as it can be, is another great way to directly market to potential customers. It gives you the opportunity to explain what your company does well, how it can help them, and potentially even get a look at the damage right then and there, and gives the property owner the chance to ask questions and raise any concerns. Knocking doors also gets your logo our in the community again, be in on your shirts, your hats, or your trucks, people will see it and it may encourage them to take the time to look into your business for their own repair.

2) Referrals and References

Referrals and references are an excellent way to get work in general, but are even more effective when it comes to getting work that storm chasers try and take. Many people want a contractor that they can trust, and tend to turn to other people to find it; people are likely to trust the opinions of the friends, family, and trusted associates within the industry.

If you can, find previous clients that will consent to be a part of a reference list for your company. This list can be used as a tool to help get potential customers to sign a contract with your company. Give the list to property owner’s who’s doors you may knock and who’s properties you may inspect; hearing that it was good to work with your company from other people may give potential customers the push they need to sign up with your company.

Creating relationships with realtors, insurance agents/brokers, and other contractors can also be a great way to keep business flowing to you. When a storm hits, people may call their insurance company first, or if the property is being bought or sold they may call their realtor. Having relationships with those insurance agents and realtors means that they can refer those clients to your company, making it easier for you to get your foot in the door to help them.

3) Reviews

Similar to references and referrals, having good reviews is a good way to get business in general, but also to combat storm chasers. People get a lot of information from the internet, so whether they are searching Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, or Facebook, it is important to have good reviews of your company on all sites that people use to find you. Good reviews make it more likely that people will call you, even if they still aren’t sure about hiring you; which gives you the opportunity to explain to them how you can help, and why they should choose you.