Hitting the slopes
I love the simple symbolism used with snow skiing. Don't know what you're getting yourself into; look for a green circle, a blue square, or a black diamond. Green equals easy, blue is intermediate (love that word), and black means "buckle up, we're going down." The ski slopes don't tell you that a green circle indicates a slope between 6% and 25%, a blue square is between 25% and 40%, and a black diamond is a slope at 40% and higher. Do you believe it would be more likely for you to mistakenly choose the wrong ski slope if they weren't color coordinated? I can tell you firsthand that my wife wouldn't like skiing anymore, which's a fact. Thank goodness for those pictures. As a roofing contractor whose mission is to revolutionize the industry, we like the standard sport of skiing set for the rest of us. Yes, even the roofing industry. Okay, maybe just Roofle. Like the sport of skiing and the degree of a hill's slope, you probably don't know that slope of your roof. If someone were to ask you if you have a low, medium, or steep slope, you likely could take a guess but wouldn't it be so much easier to look at a picture and be done with it? Knowing the slope is significant in factoring how much product a roofing contractor needs to complete your installation; therefore, it's critical to understand. Is it a 4/12? Is it an 8/12, 12/12, or is it higher? Rather than explain to you that it's the number of inches in rise or height over the run, which is length, we ask for your address and let you pick from a picture. Chances are we are going to be nearly perfect in our estimate. Unless of course your roof is as steep as El Capitan, and you mistake it for a roof that is as flat as the Indiana countryside. By the way, it's pretty flat here, which is probably why my wife enjoys the skiing.
My wife, the sales coach
My wife and I had a plan. I would drive around to all the dealerships after she got home from work in her car until I found one, and then we would go into negotiations with the dealership together. That seemed like a great idea until I brought her into the sit down with me. My wife was an absolute bulldog, as she was unwilling to pay the asking price. In all sincerity, the car we were looking at was probably priced to sell, not to sit there and collect dust. She still demanded they drop the price, and when they didn't budge, she abruptly got up and walked out. "Hey, hun, you know I need a car by tomorrow, right?" It didn't matter; she was not going to be taking advantage of or ripped off. Not a chance! I'm not sure what it was. Maybe it was the intimidation of a pregnant and irritable woman in her third trimester. Or perhaps it was a salesperson who knew better than to mess with her on that particular day, but he just caved in to her demands. Oh, by the way, this has happened on more than one occasion with her. All I could think of was what happened to my wife that she believed she would be ripped off? There must have been some salesperson at some point in her life that did a number on her. After fifteen years, I can honestly say that there has never been; that's just how she feels about salespeople. It's unfortunate because, after a career in sales and marketing, I can tell you firsthand that there are plenty of salespeople representing the profession with integrity and honor. I'm an optimist so, I believe there are far more salespeople on that end of the spectrum than on the dirty side. I'm not naive; I get there is a stigma that surrounds our profession. Although the stigma seems to be fading with more and more companies changing their culture and proving it to us through quality marketing & advertising, it appears to be still very much alive today. But that's not the case for me. No, I don't have time to mess around with all the cheesy sales moves. I can assure you; you will never get the song and dance from me or anyone on our Roofle team. The price is the price, and we believe it's an excellent price. So much so that we are willing to guarantee it's the lowest price, but we don't necessarily expect you to just come back to us because of the cost. For Roofle, it's all about being a resource for our customers. A resource in our industry, or sales for that matter, is someone who will always answer your questions and recommend the best solution regardless if it benefits them. So, if you're talking to me or anyone on my team for that matter, you will never get a biased answer. You can't because I've already instructed everyone on the team to imagine the customer is your pregnant wife, who doesn't have any time to mess around. When I say we're going to be a resource, that means answering your questions and concerns even when you're considering another contractor, even if you chose another contractor. When I say we will be a resource, that's what we intend to be.
Everyone has a brand story
…And it was either a great story, or a not so great story, but trust me we all have one. Once upon a time someone once told me that when a person is ‘sold’ something they will do everything in their power to prove to others why it was a bad decision and when someone ‘buys’ something they will go to extraordinary amounts of effort to convince others why it was the right decision. I agree but I would add one small caveat to that guideline. That’s because sometimes we actually buy something but the experience is so awful that in the end we feel as if we were completely duped.I want to walk you through two different examples to prove my point. Do you want the good story or the bad story first? Ok cool, I flipped a coin and we’re going with the bad one. I’m pumped because it probably makes sense to end on a good note.I was once sold windows in my living room. We had met with two sales people at this point and were about to invite the third stranger into our living room to pitch us on his glorious windows for what would seem like the next three hours (that we will never get back). He went on with his presentation well after he needed to and since my wife and I were in the market we chose to go with his company and his product simply because he was the best of the worst. Just so I am completely transparent, all my energy was exhausted listening to sales people hold a heat lamp up to my window and then allowing me and my wife to think over the discount he offered while he smoked two cigarettes in my driveway. “Well, what do you think? Are you ready to book an install?” I actually felt disgusted but when he threw in an additional discount if we wrote a check I couldn’t barely contain myself. Well, the windows sucked. They basically never patched all of the gaps along the trim allowing air to flow through like a jet engine. Not to mention the condensation build up on our picture window that took nearly 8 months to finally be replaced. The customer experience was atrocious. Two years later they actually called me again asking if I wanted to replace my home's windows and forgot we were a customer. To this day there’s a sign in my yard that says “ask me about my windows and I will tell you a horror story.”I’m kidding of course…about the sign, but hopefully you understand my point. Now think about it. What’s your horrible brand story? Got one?
"I've never lost a foosball game"
Have you ever been asked if you love to win or hate to lose? Think about it for a second while I tell you how I feel. Ok, here goes...I hate to lose. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. Absolutely can’t stand it.When people think about losing all they ever think of is sports. For me It’s not just sports, it’s much deeper than that. Although most of the time the thought of my team winning a championship sounds nice, it’s not exactly realistic these days. I tend to categorize a season as successful based on whether or not we lost to our rival. Just for the record…Not a Packer fan (not a Bears fan either.I’m a competitor, as thick as they come. Always have been and probably always will be. I don’t want to lose at anything. It’s really bad I know, and I’m ok with that. Hey, at least I’m honest about it. It could be a test score, could be a board game, and once back in college it was foosball. It’s a really long story so I will spare you the very intimate details but let’s just say my roommates and I once decided who would get to keep our foosball table over a best-of-85-game-series. In case you’re not sure that’s the first one to 43 wins. It got ugly, not going to lie but rest assured I didn’t lose. We had this rule that you could challenge a team to a duel at anytime of the day by yelling out “FOOS!” The opposing team had 15 minutes to report to the table or the game would be considered a forfeit. It’s important for you all to know that there were zero forfeits during this series and a significant amount of questionable ‘bush-league’ tactics made in attempt to trick us into a forfeit. Setting the alarm for 3am may have been one of them...Listen below!
What is normal again?
All week I’ve been staring at an empty canvas. Typically, I’m overflowing with ideas for content for this column but not this week. No, I usually find inspiration in the simple things, or those things that bring me joy. It creates an environment that inspires humor and positivity but this week all I can seem to think about are those things that don’t. What a downer! It’s really not my style and for that I apologize. Listen to me, I sound like a country song.I should say it started Sunday when I watched my favorite football team (who I can’t get rid of and I won’t name out of embarrassment) lose again. Taking them to a whopping 0-3 record on the season but that’s not when it started. No, it started Monday morning when my 10 year old son woke up with a cold. My wife and I just looked at each other and knew we couldn’t let him go to school. In any other year we would load him up with some cough drops, a scoop of cough syrup and send him on his way, but not right now. I called the school to report his absence. “He’s not feeling well today, he won’t be in.” Followed by the immediate response of “what are his symptoms?” I mean, I knew that was coming. “It’s just a little cough, we will monitor it and keep you posted.” I think it was the school nurse or whoever the school system has assigned the role of “Covid Tracing Czar” who called my wife back to let us know we needed not only to get a negative test back for him, but we would also need to pull our daughter out of middle school immediately. Let me spare you from how that story unfolded. Let’s just say she was pissed. That was only Monday and to be completely transparent with you, I knew for a fact it wasn’t COVID…and it wasn’t. Test came back negative and everyone is back in school and doing great. But that was just the start of the week. The week got much worse (Take Tuesday night for example) but I won’t go there. This podcast was never intended to go there however, that did get the idea train rolling again. Somewhere between a thought of something none of us can agree on and something we can all agree on-the empty canvas I was staring at began to fill up with ideas. The idea of what is normal and what isn’t normal started popping in my head. Think about how all of our lives have been affected by this pandemic and instead of all the negativity try and really focus on the positive. You may have to dig deep but there’s a few things underneath the surface that are obvious. First of all my marriage flourished. For the first time in a decade I’m fairly certain my wife and I were completely on the same page. Not like we weren’t before, but now we are qualified for “The Amazing Race” because we can function like a winning team. Our family is closer than ever. We have spent more time at home as a family around the dinner table than ever before. Not only do I better understand who my kids are, I understand what motivates them and how they feel about stuff. We’ve gotten closer with our closest friends. We’ve had sit-down dinners with huge spreads of food and conversations about deep meaningful topics. We’ve gone on bike rides and walks, spent time outside playing catch. I never thought that I would ever feel normal again. Only thing is, I was feeling the normal I was looking for 10 years ago. I was telling a friend recently that 2020 has had a real 1998 vibe to it. Then there are things that aren’t normal. Take calling in sick for your son as an example, or watching an NFL football game without fans in the stadium. How about attending church service virtually for six months, or wearing a mask in public. I remember seeing those people when I was kid and thinking, “what a weirdo!” Now, everyone wears a mask. Well, technically not everyone and in some cases we get judged for it which has become sort of normal but has led me to this conclusion. What is normal and even more importantly when things do go back to normal, will we even recognize it?