The no-no words.
YES — they do exist in roofing sales.
So, I’m going to share with you the words that you should NEVER, ever, ever use in a sales appointment, except for in one specific circumstance, which I’ll share with you shortly.
And whether you’re brand new to roofing sales or you’ve been selling roofs for a long time, you’ve probably studied sales communication and the language we use.
I’m going to take that a couple of steps deeper here and give you with an actionable plan to improve your communication, so you can win more business.
Before we get started, though, I just want to say welcome or welcome back. My name is Adam Bensman, The Roof Strategist, and I’m super glad to have you here.
If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to my YouTube channel. Twice a week, I put out new content, with strategies that are all designed to implement as quickly as possible — even as fast as your very next sale — so you can make even MORE money while smashing your income goals and giving every customer an amazing experience.
So, let’s dive into the no-no words in roofing sales.
Fundamentals: Why Are There No-No Words in Roofing Sales?
Before we get to the specific words you should never ever use, let’s quickly review the fundamentals first. Words create emotion and plant images in our minds. When we hear words:
- They trigger emotions.
- We visualize the story we hear.
That’s why certain movies are so captivating. As we’re watching the visuals, there’s the narrator in the background, really supercharging the story and bringing that emotion. In fact, whether the narrator’s voice is soft or really intense, it changes everything.
And it’s not just the words they use. It’s the emotion that’s tied to their words and the images those words conjure up.
Example: If I say the words, “stop sign,” you’re probably going to visualize a stop sign in your mind’s eye. You’re going to picture the red octagon with the with white lettering spelling out ‘STOP’ in the middle.
Now, the emotion tied to an stop sign image is one of caution and fear. So, there’s emotion that comes in just from a simple word, like ‘stop.’
We paint that visual with our words, and the visual triggers the emotions.
Sometimes, it goes the other way around too, like when we hear the word ‘sad.’ We might feel sad and then have an image in our mind of someone frowning.
These two work hand in hand, and true artists in sales understand the emotions and the images that are tied to the words that they use.
That’s why I encourage salespeople to study the art of direct-response copywriting — the written form of selling — because you get choosier with your words when you lose the body language, the tonality, and being able to read your customers. You have to rely exclusively on your language.
PRO TIP: Study direct response copywriting. If you do, you’ll be able to fine tune your sales skills in a really big way.
So, the groundwork here is the fact that words trigger emotions and images.
Now, let’s get into the words that you NEVER say in a sale, along with the one exception to the rule. I’ll also go through the words to use instead after I share the no-no words with you.
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Roofing Sales No-No Word #1: CONTRACT
What emotion does the word “contract” bring up?
To me, “contract” sounds like handcuffs. I’m contractually obligated.
It sounds scary, risky, and not fun.
The image of a contract is fine print, legal terms, and feeling like you don’t really understand it.
So, “contract” is not a very good word for us to use.
Roofing Sales No-No Words #2 & 3: PRICE & COST
We don’t want to use the words “price” or “cost” either. And some would even add the word “buy” to that list. Why?
Because is all of these bring a sense of losing something to mind.
In fact, here’s what I think when I hear each of these words:
- “Price” means it comes out of my pocket.
- “Cost” and “buy” mean I’m giving up money. Although I do get a reward, I’m losing my money in order to get it.
So, with price, cost, and buy, I have this feeling of loss, and I imagine:
- Handing over my credit card
- Forfeiting money
Plus, with “cost,” there may not even be an upside. There’s a purely a negative connotation to losing money. And, again, with “price,” I’m seeing a big-ticket item with a BIG red dollar sign and at least four numerals. To me, that’s how “cost” breaks down.
Again, these simple words are ALL scary words for people.
Roofing Sales No-No Word #4: SIGN
When someone says to you, “Hey, I just need you to sign here,” what comes to mind?
Usually, there’s a resistance. That’s why we do NOT want to say “sign.”
The word “sign” brings up the image of contract and, again, fear.
After all, do you like signing things? No.
And that’s probably because when you sign something:
- You’re usually giving up your rights.
- You’re acknowledging how something works.
- The deck is typically stacked in the other party’s favor (the party who’s asking you to sign something).
Again, the words and images associated with these no-no words in roofing sales — contract, price, cost, buy, and sign — all share the common themes of negativity, sadness, fear, and loss. That’s why those are NOT good words to use in roofing sales.
What to Say in Place of the No-No Words in Roofing Sales
Instead of using the no-no words, we can make a few simple adjustments to our language and use different words in their place. Here’s what we can say instead:
- Contract & Sign —> Agreement & Agree: An agreement is a mutually beneficial arrangement. We’ve agreed to do something, so this is our agreement. After all, we have our “contingency agreement,” not a “contingency contract.” And with agreements, we think of handshakes and getting along. It’s positive. The same thing happens when we say “agree” instead of “sign.” It puts a positive spin on the arrangement, instead of a negative one.
- Price & Cost —> Investments: With investments, I put money in, and I get money out. Here, we’re playing into one of the strongest human motivators — greed. Of course, greed has its upsides and downsides, but ALL of us are looking for gain.
- Buy —> Get: I know it sounds crazy, but “getting” something is positive while “buying” something is negative. Do you want to get access to this new phone, or do you want to go buy it? Do you want to get the latest technology on the newest iPhone? Or do you want to go buy one and spend the $1,400 retail? No, you want to GET it. Buying it gives me the idea that I’m forfeiting my money while getting creates a positive mindset that makes of think of becoming wealthier and having access or ownership to something. So, again, that positive spin creates positive emotions.
Whether your customer is aware of this or not, these words DO have an impact on how they feel, and those emotions matter when you’re trying to close a deal.
The Exception to the Rule
Now, there are times when I will mention price and cost, but in an inverse way. Here’s what I mean by that.
If I’m going through the details of a good-better-best system, I may say something like, “This option is cheaper.”
Now, I know some salespeople may be thinking, Adam, that is an ABSOLUTE no-no. We NEVER want to say the word “cheaper” because that implies something’s more expensive.
I don’t always agree with that because there IS a strategic way to use this word and make that customer feel like they’ve gained something — like if I know that they’re worried about price, and they object to the bigger package or the best system because it’s too much money.
If I’m talking about it as an investment, I may say something like:
Hey, I have a cheaper alternative investment for you.
To them, cheaper equals saving money.
Now, those are very, very rare exceptions, but I’ll use these on the inverse to play into the words and the emotions that I know are tied to the word “cheaper.”
Cheaper means a better deal, a better bargain, and saving money. And I want that homeowner to experience that emotionally and have positive visual images. Then, I’m going to very quickly transition into talking about:
- The agreement
- The investment in the longevity of the roof
- All of the benefits of this new roofing system that we’re looking at
Again, I want to share this as a bit more of an advanced practice of going through the good-better-best options because I’ve had some people push too with me on it. And, of course, you do NOT have to agree with me on this, and I’m not saying that I’m right. I’m simply sharing the psychology behind the words and images that are tied to the language that we use.
How to Put This Into Action
Putting this in action throughout your day is very simple — start focusing on the words and images that appear in your mind when you hear people speak. In fact, when I do this:
- I close my eyes.
- As I hear people talk, I envision what they’re saying on my eyelids, like subtitles of the text. It’s as if you were to watch a YouTube video on mute, and there’s the text overlay. That’s what I envision in my mind’s eye.
And with that creative imagery and those words, I start to SEE and FEEL something.
By experiencing this firsthand, I’ve been able to refine my skills and my ability to:
- Use the proper words and make better word choices
- Create the right emotions and mental images to clearly communicate the message that I’m trying to get across
When you master this skill:
- People will hear you more clearly.
- They’ll find you to be a stronger communicator.
- Your message becomes more emotional.
And what’s the number one thing people buy on? It’s emotion.
So, I hope that you’re able to practice this in your day to day as you communicate the details of your retail bid, explain the contingency agreement, and ask for the business. That’s where these language pieces will come in really, really clearly.
Now, in my sales training, I teach the:
You’ll notice that a lot of the key points that I emphasize in that training system are designed around this use of language to:
- Really engage that customer emotionally
- Capture them with visual imagery
- Close more deals without having to really understand the psychology behind why it all works
It’s the fast track that’s going to kick some butt for you.
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Thanks for joining me, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the next blog.