What Are Your Customers Really Buying?

Does this quote apply to the roofing business?  If so, how?

You don’t buy coal, you buy heat;
You don’t buy circus tickets, you buy thrills;
You don’t buy a paper, you buy news;
You don’t buy glasses, you buy vision.


You don’t buy a roof, you buy _______ . If you ask me, no one lays around daydreaming about buying a new roof.  So, when your customers sign the contract why are they really buying?  There can be many reasons, understanding those reasons can help make your marketing more effective, and your sales easier to close.  Let’s look at some of the common, and very different reasons your customers not only buy a new roof, but choose you to do it for them.

The most obvious reason to buy a roof is out of necessity.  So, we could say “You don’t buy a roof, you buy protection.”  A roof protects our family, our valuables, our health, our investment, etc.  During this difficult economy this seems to be the primary motivator for the re-roof market.  If that is the case in your market look for ways to incorporate this into your marketing.  Look for ways to stress that this expense is small in comparison to the value of what it protects.

Another motivator for purchasing a roof is to fit in (or stand out).  This was a big motivator over the past couple of years.  When everyone was refinancing and fixing up their homes it created an environment where a new roof was just part of keeping up with the Joneses.  If you have neighborhoods still experiencing this phenomenon then your marketing should focus on ways to stand out from crowd with new and interesting roofing products.  So in this case we could say “You don’t buy a roof, you buy status.”

Often the decision to buy a new roof is a mixture of the two.  The “desire” to attain greater status in the neighborhood is rationalized by the “need” for a new roof.  This can be your toughest sell as usually the need is not as pressing and a new roof could wait, but the desire is there.  In this case your marketing has to appeal to the desire first, but be backed up with sufficient facts so that the buyer can convince themselves of the need.

These are just two basic reasons someone may purchase a new roof.  Take some time to analyze what drives the buying decisions for the majority of your customers and make sure that your marketing is appealing to the right source of motivation.

In addition to the reasons someone is buying a new roof it is important also to analyze why they are choosing you as their roofing contractor.  What needs are you filling?  You may be a high end contractor and choosing you could be a status symbol in itself.  You may be a value oriented contractor satisfying the customers need for a good deal.  You may be known as an exceptionally honest contractor and you fill the customers need for protection (from shady contractors).  It is important to identify the reasons customers choose you and incorporate those into your marketing as well.

If you can successfully answer the question “What are my customers really buying?” and incorporate that into your marketing, your customer will already feel drawn to you and your company before you make a sales call, and this can lead to a much more productive and profitable 2010.