One thing that I can GUARANTEE you’re going to face in the roofing world is CONFLICT. You WILL want to scream, punch, or get in a fight with someone on your team.
I’m talking BEEF — built-up issues, resentment, and frustration, and it’s a two-way street.
So, whether you’re in leadership, an owner, or a salesperson, this topic is for you because I know how it goes, and I’ve been in your shoes.
In fact, through the growing pains of the roofing business, things can BREAK down production, and that can get in the way of:
- Cash flow
- Salespeople’s roles and responsibilities
- Clear communication with customers
- And more
There is a WEAK link. When that weak link snaps, it causes tension. For the salesperson:
- It undermines confidence in making claims to customers about a company or the work they’re going to do.
- It raises all sorts of questions about the crew, colleagues, and/or processes.
- It creates a level of tension in our own core integrity, slowly poisoning our earning potential because we can’t sell what we do not believe in.
- That can lead us to this point where we almost work our way into a financial situation, with the decision made first.
With owners and managers, conflict can result in unnecessary firings, nasty chatter, and negative impacts on company culture. That can mean end-of-day gossip fests at the local bar, and it’s NOT good.
So, I want to share:
- Some common pitfalls of conflict resolution
- A really simple framework that the salespeople and owners can use to approach these conversations from a really good place, so we can grow through them.
Before we get to it, I just want to say a quick welcome or welcome back. Adam Bensman, The Roof Strategist. Everything we do here — and on my YouTube channel, my podcast (on Apple and Spotify), and in my training program — is designed to help you and your team smash your income goals and give every customer an amazing experience.
To help you do that, I have well over 400+ videos on sales training that you can access in the FREE training center.
Right here, however, I’m stepping back from the tactical sales approach to talk about an issue that inevitably comes up for roofing sales reps, and it’s CONFLICT.
I’m going to give you a framework to work through conflict with colleagues in the roofing industry because:
- I strongly believe in my heart of hearts that growth is on the other side of discomfort.
- When we reach a wall or ceiling, we can experience a lot of emotions and even frustration. There can even be a big part of us that just wants to be done and escape all that ASAP. That doesn’t lead to growth.
- We have to really lean in and confront that discomfort in order to grow. That can get dramatic.
- If you ignore that conflict, it will NOT disappear or go away by itself. Something’s going to happen (I know because I’ve been in your shoes).
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How Conflict Causes Problems in Roofing Sales
The truth is you WILL end up experiencing crew mistakes, irate customers, and maybe even conflict with coworkers in roofing sales. In fact, even if you’re doing your job and being really careful, things can go off the rails.
When that happens:
- You’re emotional.
- Your customer is upset, if not angry.
- The blame lies with you, even though you did everything right and you had no control over the situation that went wrong. You’re still going to have to take the blame.
Then, a week goes by, and virtually the same thing happens. This time, though:
- The tension spikes up two notches instead of one. You are PISSED.
- You follow up with that phone call again. You’re IRATE.
At that point, we start selling again, and:
- We don’t know if we can really deliver our message that we’re going to do an amazing job because this problem has been happening.
- You wonder if (or know that) this problem is going to happen to that next customer, making you look like an idiot.
- Your head starts to hurt, and you don’t feel like you’re selling from a good place. Still, you do it anyway.
- You get the deal, and then the problem happens a third time.
So, you go home and tell your spouse how frustrated and pissed off you are that this is going on, making you look like an idiot. Then, you don’t sleep and go right back to the office the next day.
Now, your blood is boiling, your face is RED, and this turns into a fricking pissing match, with the back and forth of who’s right and who’s wrong.
That’s exactly what can happen, and I HATE getting that upset. And do you think anything good is going to come from that intense emotion?
No, it doesn’t because:
- Emotions are way too high.
- One party is on the defensive, feeling attacked.
- Often, the person expressing their frustration comes across as really entitled and selfish (me, Me, ME!).
- The two parties in a conflict end up butting heads, and nothing good comes from it.
That happens all the time, so we have to figure out how to work through this together. Believe it or not, the best way to do that is actually very simple, and it only takes a few steps.
So, let’s dive in.
Roofing Sales Conflict Resolution Step #1: Be proactive & use framing.
The minute something comes up and becomes festering thought, we need to air it out by being proactive. That means that:
- We do not wait until the issue has happened 3 or even 15 times. We address it RIGHT AWAY.
- We have a conversation.
- We use framing to provide context.
This context is going to:
- Set the intention.
- Remove the tension.
Here’s what you could say to open up this conversation with some tension-easing framing:
Hey, can I chat with you about something that’s been going on?
It’s been bothering me, and I think we can work together to find a solution, so we can better fulfill our shared mission of serving even more customers and doing an even better job.
Breaking that down, the framing here involved:
- Approaching the conversation with a question, asking “Can we talk?”
- Immediately pointing out an issue and aligning our shared mission, saying “Something’s upsetting me, and I would like to find a solution, so we can be even more united around our shared mission.”
When I do that, this goes from a “ME” conversation to a “WE” conversation because it’s about the greater good.
Roofing Sales Conflict Resolution Step #2: State the problem objectively.
Next, we need to explain the problem as objectively as we can, checking our emotions.
This can be tough when we know there’s a lot of money on the line (especially for owners), but we need to do it anyways.
Example: Adam, here’s what’s happened. I’ve had three customers in a row with special instructions on the contract, like being careful of the customer’s precious lawn and garden decor.
And the crew didn’t do ANYTHING. That has now impacted my referrals.
And in fact, one of my customers even called the person they referred and told them NOT to go with us.
That’s a way of describing the situation objectively. I documented it, and there was no follow-through.
Roofing Sales Conflict Resolution Step #3: Explain the impact thoroughly.
Next, we need to highlight the reason why this issue is a problem. Continuing from the last example, here’s how we could explain the impact.
Example: This is a problem because it’s cost us three mistakes that we have to pay for and that has bogged down my time, having to go babysit those mistakes. It has also cost us a referral; someone called and canceled. And if we really tally all of that up just in these last three months, that has personally cost me a sale — and that cost has cost the company the three repairs at $200 each (or $600 altogether). And it’s cost the company a referral. So, we BOTH share that loss.
That’s objectively speaking about the impact. Again, just to quickly recap, when you’re working through conflict with a fellow sales rep or anyone on the sales team:
- Use framing.
- Define the problem objectively.
- Describe the impact, explaining what’s going on and how it will impact the company.
Roofing Sales Conflict Resolution Step #4: Open up a conversation.
This is actually simpler than it can seem, and my best advice is just to say this:
I think I have a solution here.
- Present the solution the way you see it.
- Ask for buy-in.
In fact, with this approach, you can quickly get a rich conversation going because we have:
- Used framing to set the intention
- Come together around our shared vision
- Explained the problem objectively, checking our emotions
- Described the impact of how this is going to hurt our business and our ability to achieve our mission
- Voluntarily presented a solution, showing that you have given this some positive thought
- Outlined the steps to take going forward
Now, when you ask, “What do you think about this?” you’re in a rich conversation to truly move through this problem and get past the conflict in a way that can make you both stronger together.
Working through the conflict and tension can create RICH moments that:
- Give everyone deep meaning in their job.
- Offer opportunities to grow personally and professionally, which can be the MOST rewarding part.
So, that’s the simple way to resolve conflict whenever tensions or problems arise in roofing sales.
Remember, it’s GOING to happen. But this simple framework offers a path to follow, move through it, grow together, and come out on the other side even stronger.
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Thanks for joining me, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the next blog.