If you’re selling retail roofs, price conditioning is WILDLY important.
This warms up that customer, so they don’t get sticker shock and absolutely FREAK OUT when you reveal your estimate and the various investment options that you’re offering, whether that’s financing or a cash discount.
And if you’re reading this, you’re likely NOT going to be the cheapest roofer out there.
Because the cheapest roofers, known as the “chuck and a truck,” are often:
- Not super skilled when it comes to sales
- The ones putting together those oversimplified estimates, like the ones that only state, “Remove and Replace Roof for $X.”
They do these basic estimates — what I call “Loosey-Goosey estimates” — because they know the average homeowner doesn’t know the ins and outs of roofing. In fact, many homeowners just think the new roof is about replacing old shingles. That is NOT the whole truth, though, of course.
So, I’ll be talking about that more here.
First, I just want to say a quick welcome and welcome back. I’m Adam Bensman, The Roof Strategist. Everything I do here — and on my YouTube channel, Instagram, my podcast (on Apple and Spotify), and in my all-in-one sales training, sales strategy, and sales system — is designed to help you and your team smash your income goals and give every customer an amazing experience.
Now, let’s get back to this whole price conditioning concept and the idea of these estimates that are “Remove and Replace Roof” with a dollar amount.
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Groundwork: How Homeowners Perceive Prices in D2D Roofing Sales
Most homeowners think of roofing as a commodity. That means the old roof and shingles come off, and the new ones are put on. That’s fair, right?
Most homeowners don’t really know how it all works.
They just think it’s about pulling old shingles off and putting new shingles on the new roof. The reality that you and I both know, however, is that:
- That’s NOT the case.
- Not all estimates are created equally.
- Most homeowners are shopping based on the COST factor. When they look at estimates, they scroll down and just check the total amount. They simply want to know what it’s going to cost them.
- Homeowners will then usually scrub out usually the absolute cheapest and the most expensive options, trying to find the roofing company that made them FEEL GOOD. They want to go with the roofer who they like, who they trust and who feel good about working with.
So, as a homeowner, ALL I really care about is the price and that:
- The price feels fair, so I’m not being taken advantage of or scammed.
- It’s a roofing company that I like and that I can trust to do good work and stand by a price that seems fair to me.
Now, if we know that homeowners are making decisions based on these criteria, why aren’t we selling to them and presenting this information in a way that speaks to exactly what they’re doing?
Well, that’s what we’re going to do right here (in just a minute).
Loosey-Goosey Estimates in Roofing Sales
I believe that some roofing companies provide what I call “Loosey-Goosey estimates” for one purpose, and that is to DUPE homeowners.
After all, the roofer with the “Remove, Replace Roof” estimate will usually come in lower and:
- There’s zero accountability.
- No one knows what type of underlayment, valley installation, ridge caps, pipe jacks, or other components are being used. There’s no telling whether that roofer will remove and replace the roof-to-wall flashing, the drip edge, and more. I know we’ve seen it replaced before.
- There’s no telling whether they’re giving homeowners a choice of color. They could be making those decisions for homeowners on the fly.
So, that means that a roofer can come in with the LOWEST PRICE and then:
- Get the cheapest products that are hiding underneath the roof
- Make on-the-fly decisions about what to reuse.
- Reuse 20-year-old components, like drip edge, rake edge, flashing, slapping new shingles on top of that and telling the homeowner they have a “brand-new” roof.
The point is that I don’t believe it’s ethical to put on a brand-new roof and reuse components that have already been on the roof for like 20 years.
That’s NOT fair. Yet, some roofers do it, and this is the most common practice to dupe homeowners.
Now, I understand that homeowners often have their guard up. They’re defensive because your logo reads the same way as other roofers’ logos, and the message is simply, “I sell roofs.”
As a result, when that homeowner hears you trying to “sell the value,” they usually think, Well, you just want MORE MONEY from me.
So, we need to break down all of this when it comes to price conditioning, priming the customer, so they know what to expect and hear.
Here’s how we do that.
How to Start Price Conditioning in Roofing Sales
First, before I go over anything in the estimate at all, I open with something like this:
Mr. Homeowner, I just want you to know that you should choose anyone who you like and trust to do your roof, even if it’s not me.
That’s the truth! And I say that because at this very moment, I’m able to:
- Condition that customer: I want the homeowner to understand what they should be looking for in an estimate, so they can make a decision that aligns with their wants and needs, finding the investment options and the contractor that work best for them.
- Build trust: I’m putting a spotlight of distrust on others who use those SLIMY tactics to try to dupe homeowners.
How do we do this?
We do it by telling homeowners exactly what they are thinking.
An Example of How to Price Condition in Roofing Sales: Roleplay
Now, let’s shift into roleplay mode to see how this works.
Mr. Homeowner, before I explain how we can help, I just want to explain one thing first.
And that is the fact that you can and you should CHOOSE ANYONE who you like and who you trust to do your roof.
After all, I’m going to guess that a savvy homeowner like yourself is collecting several estimates, and you’re doing what most people would do — you’re meeting with various contractors.
At this point, you don’t really trust anybody quite yet because you’ve seen the news, you’ve heard of the scams, you’ve heard of the gimmicks, and you’ve heard of roofers going to jail.
You may have even heard horror stories of homeowners being taken advantage of.
So, you’re going to collect those estimates. As you do, you’re going to look at ONE THING — the dollar amount on that estimate.
And you’re going to pair that dollar amount with contractors you meet to figure out if you like them, if you think they’ll do good work, and if their reputation is strong.
You want to know that you’re getting a roof at a fair value done by a company you can trust who’s actually going to stand behind the work. You don’t want to be another victim that’s going to show up on the news.
Is that a fair statement, Mr. Homeowner?
See what I just did there?
I explained to them what they’re thinking and what they’re already doing.
And that’s probably what you and I would do too if we were to get an estimate on a new concrete driveway, for instance. Imagine the estimate comes via email. Then:
- You open it up, scroll to the bottom, and just look at the dollar amount.
- You compare dollar amounts between estimates, throwing out the most expensive ones and then choosing who you like best.
That’s what we do.
So, when I open up saying this to a customer:
- I build a tremendous amount of trust.
- I join the conversation that’s already going on in their mind.
- I build this big wall between me and other contractors.
D2D Roofing Sales Roleplay: What to Say Next in the Price Conditioning Process
Now, I take this one step further. Back into roleplay mode.
So, Mr. Homeowner, I’m glad to see that you’re doing your homework, and my mission and purpose here in the house is to:
- Help you understand the problem with your roof.
- Communicate how we might be able to help.
- Let you see and decide for yourself whether we are, in fact, the right roofing company to earn your business.
- Do a great job on your roof and stand behind it.
Now, once I lay that groundwork, explaining what they’re doing and setting my mission and purpose, I can go into price conditioning a little bit deeper.
Now, Mr. Homeowner, I want to let you in on a little secret.
And that secret is how many roofers DUPE homeowners.
I really like to use that word.
And the way they do this is they provide what we call these “Loosey-Goosey estimates” that are not itemized WHATSOEVER because they’re preying on the facts that many homeowners believe that:
- Roofs are a commodity, with shingles off and shingles on and that’s it — that’s all it means to get a new roof.
- All estimates are apples to apples. Why wouldn’t they be right? Remove a roof, replace a roof. They’re the same, and a roof’s a roof’s, right?
Unfortunately, Mr. Homeowner, it doesn’t actually work like that in the real world.
Those estimates are NOT really apples to apples — they’re really more like apples to bananas. In some extreme cases, they’re like apples versus French Fries.
Now, I’ll explain that a little further.
See, when we write our estimates and when you review ours, we likely will NOT be the cheapest contractor out there.
And the reason for that is we list out EXACTLY what we will do, step by step, with every single component in the installation process on your roof to comply not only with the local building code but also with our manufacturer’s recommendations.
This ensures is you get a roof that is:
- Properly installed the first time
- Going to protect you and your family
- Backed by warranty because we stand behind our products and our installation for the X years of our labor warranty.
Now, unfortunately, these roofers who give you these Loosey-Goosey estimates are PREYING on how you’re going to make that decision.
They’re coming in a little cheaper to earn the business. And once they do earn that business, they’re looking for ways to make up some money.
Since that estimate is not itemized, they can legally make on-the-fly decisions about:
- What they’re going to reuse
- What they’re going to replace
- The quality of products they’re going to use
- How they’re going to do that install
That’s what happens. And it means that:
- You don’t know what’s being reused — drip edge, rake edge, roof-to-wall flashing, etc.
- You don’t know what grade of ridge cap, shingle underlayment, or valley installation practice is being used.
Now, if that homeowner has another estimate, you can ask them to get it out so you can compare estimates.
How to Price Condition in D2D Roofing Sales: Ask Questions
Another thing that we can do to price condition homeowners is to ask them questions they can’t answer. Here are some examples:
- Did the other contractor explain what grade of shingle, what type of ridge cap, and what type of valley insulation they’re using?
- Did the other contractor explain what type of W-metal and ice-and-water shield will be used (if they’re using ice-and-water shield on the eaves)?
- Do you know how many rows of ice-and-water shield or what type of pipe jacks they’re using?
- Are they removing and replacing roof-to-wall flashing and step flashing?
Now, whether they have one, two, or more other estimates, when we begin asking these questions, they start to think, Oh my gosh – I don’t even KNOW what’s happening there!
We can take this one step further by saying something like this:
The reality, Mr. Homeowner, is that you can’t even hold someone accountable if it’s not written down on that estimate.
So, if something does go wrong with the roof, your legal recourses will likely be INCREDIBLY limited.
Think about it like a kitchen remodel.
What if you didn’t know the grade of cabinets, what kind of countertops they were installing, or what type of hardware they were getting for a $20,000 kitchen remodel?
Who would write that check and not know those details? NO ONE would.
And that’s what’s going on with your roof.
So, THAT is the BEST way to:
- Condition a homeowner regarding the pricing of the roof.
- Position yourself as the trusted authority.
- Showcase your value while educating the homeowner on all the nasty things that happen in the real world.
After all, our job is to educate our homeowners and help them make the BEST decision for them. And if you believe in your heart of hearts that you’re the absolute best person to win that business, then there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be doing this.
And I believe it’s your moral and ethical responsibility to communicate properly to your homeowners, so they can make the decision to choose of their own free will.
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Thanks for joining me, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the next blog.