MRA Update, by Bill Hippard /
Understanding your customer, including what motivates, confuses and annoys them, is a key to success in any industry.
A decade ago, consumer research was an expensive, time-consuming process best left to professionals. While there is still a role for quantitative, scientific research, it’s no longer the only way to learn about what consumers want. With the explosion of online resources, a great deal of this valuable knowledge is available at your fingertips.
In fact, the Metal Roofing Alliance’s website, www.metalroofing.com, is a great place to start. If you haven’t already done so, spend some time exploring the site to see how the MRA is educating consumers. You’ll notice a big emphasis on pictures of metal roofs-— the photo gallery is the most — visited section of our website. That’s a clue as to what homeowners want to know most — how will a metal roof look on my house? Armed with that information, you can evaluate how you’re filling this consumer need. Ask yourself:
- How many photos are on your business website?
- Do you have a photo album of your work that you can share with homeowners?
- Do you have a list of completed projects your customers can drive by to see examples in their own neighborhood?
Ask the experts
Another rich source of information on the MRA site is the Ask The Experts forum. This lively message board is staffed with a knowledgeable group of MRA members who respond to questions from homeowners. Organized into key topics such as Energy Efficiency, Installation, Metal Roof Benefits and Product Selection, homeowners have posted thousands of questions regarding all aspects of metal roofing. Here’s a sampling of some common consumer questions:
- Which is the best metal roof for my home?
- What maintenance issues should I expect over the life of my metal roof?
- Does my old roof need to be removed prior to installing a metal roof?
- What are the energy and environmental benefits of a metal roof?
Spend some time reviewing the various sections and you’ll gain valuable insight into the mind of the consumer that can assist in the development of your sales presentations and marketing materials.
MRA Online University
Finally, all MRA members have access to the free Online University, an on-demand portal to a wide variety of educational topics related to the metal roofing business. Designed with busy contractors in mind, MRA Online University can be accessed 24/7, and is a perfect tool for training new crew members or as a refresher for seasoned installers.
To access the metal roofing education materials, MRA members simply log-in at www.metalroofing.com and click on the MRA Online University button. Once logged in to the education center, members can easily access a variety of video lessons, study guides and presentations on all aspects of the industry, including installation and sales techniques, as well as product demonstrations.
The marketing portion of the curriculum covers key elements, including identifying target customers, pricing and selling your services. In this series of lessons, business owners, successful salespeople and expert marketing consultants explain how you can identify your market, define yourself in the market and reach those customers who are going to pay for a premium product and service. Course topics include: Metal Roofing Top 10, Pricing for Profit, Converting Leads into Sales, and more.
Tom Black, executive director of the MRA, and leader of the MRA Online University initiative explains, “We encourage our members to use this extraordinary tool to help grow construction knowledge, enhance their career and build a cohesive team. All of these skills are needed to succeed in today’s competitive residential metal roofing market.”
The members of the Metal Roofing Alliance are working hard to continue building market share for residential roofing contractors. If you’re not a member, please consider joining — our contractors say it’s the best investment they’ve made in their business. For more information, please contact our contractor liaison, Alli Parsons, at email@example.com or by phone, 410-534-6900.
Bill Hippard is the executive director of the MRA and vice president of sales at Precoat Metals.