In the roofing industry, late winter leading into when we change the clocks and spring ahead, is often a time of hope for those regions battling the winter as the upswing into spring begins. Meteorologists will be moving from descriptions of snow and ice storms to using words like “golf ball-sized,” “softball-sized,” or even “grapefruit-sized” hail. So, now’s the time to get ready to hire, train, and set the foundation for a successful year, but first ask yourself some key questions:
Are you ready for a surge in business? How will you develop your leads? Do you have your game plan in place? How is your sales staff shaping up?
Just like college football has its National Signing Day for high school recruits, this is your National Signing Day; a time to reenergize your sales staff for the coming season, which may include hiring, training, or a combination of both.
If you haven’t started already, now is the time.
Get READY. Hire right.
You want to attract the best possible sales team and make your job openings meaningful to the right candidates. So, how do you attract the best people and hire right?
True story: did you hear about Chris Warren, the 4-star football recruit who flipped a coin to decide his college future? Football recruiting analysts have mused that it may have been the most important coin flip that college football recruiting has ever seen. The coin landed heads, and he is going to Texas.
If you don’t define who you are as a company, your candidates might as well be flipping a coin among the myriad of sales jobs posted online. It’s hard to find a good fit if you haven’t defined what a good fit looks like.
One of the most important things you can do is to align your recruitment strategy with your sales compensation package.
For example, if you typically hire independent contractors for your sales team, consider hiring based on referrals from those you trust. Then, interview to find the best. Since independent contractors are their own boss, it’s critical to hire people who communicate well with you, the client, and the crew. Errors on a job can be expensive, and good communication will save you headaches and money.
Or, perhaps you have a commission-only compensation model. Consider seeking out sales staff that embraces risk, but also tends to be loyal. Sometimes the best way to find a good fit is to recruit from within your company. Do you have an existing employee in a different role who has great product and installation knowledge? Maybe your current customer service representative or a friendly installer could be your best new salesperson.
If your sales staff is paid a salary or a draw against commission, seek self-motivated individuals. Some companies have had great success with candidates who have sought higher education, as this usually indicates self-motivation. Ask for internal referrals from current outstanding sales staff. Most good salespeople know others who would be a great fit. Consider starting an apprenticeship program and fill your own hiring pipeline with the best.
Get SET. Train right.
Align your training to match your company and, as you are able, customize your training for the various skill levels in your organization.
For example, if your sales staff tends to be independent in a way that fragments the power of your brand, or new staff will need a solid start, consider training for “best practices in residential estimating.” Your goal is to get everyone on the same page. GAF offers this class as a webinar. Sign up today. (Really.)
If you have a new hire who is unfamiliar with your standards, consider setting up a mentor program. This can work if structured correctly. (But, keep in mind that this may not work well if your staff is commission-only, or if your top salespeople are extremely money motivated. Peers may not always take the time necessary to be a good mentor.) Consider that a skilled roofing crew or repair technician can sometimes be the best mentor of all.
Finally, to keep your most valuable and skilled sales staff engaged in professional growth, consider expert training for certain individuals. Just be sure that it doesn’t impair their motivation. You absolutely want to keep your best employees happy. If you try to change who they are, it can backfire.