Willie Sutton, Jr. was an American bank robber known as a witty, non-violent gentleman from back in the days of Al Capone and Lucky Luciano.
He stole over $2 Million dollars over his 40+ year criminal career in spite of living more than 1/2 of his adult life behind bars, where he also escaped 3 different times.
Although his nickname was "Slick Willie," because he almost always robbed banks wearing a disguise, he usually carried a Thompson submachine gun or a pistol. In an interview with Reader's Digest published shortly before his death in 1980, he said, "You can't rob a bank on charm and personality."
His most famous quote came from a reply to a reporter who once asked him why he robbed banks. His legendary response was, "because that's where the money is."
The Straight Line
The shortest distance between two points will always be a straight line.
Just like "Slick Willie" went straight to the bank, going straight to the prospect's front door will almost always be the shortest distance between you and your next sale. Obviously, you won't be dressed in disguise, carrying a semi-automatic weapon, but showing up at your next door with a little extra charm & personality certainly wouldn't hurt you.
Walking and knocking doors is my #1 Go-To Strategy for making money in roofing sales--the Sales Domination System in the Roofing Salesman University is a powerful program to accelerate you or your team's door knocking success--but there's more than one way to get straight to your next front door.
Straight Line Strategy
Before we go any further, imagine this with me...
The big circle at the bottom is your final prospect, where the sale is made. The normal way to get there is by knocking on the prospect's front door. The salesperson is motivated to knock by a sales manager, company owner, or maybe, just maybe, by their own personal drive to make money.
In this scenario, the big circle at the bottom of the drawing represents the "Final Prospect." The medium-sized circle in the middle represents the salesperson known as the "Tier 1 Influencer."
Finally, the small circles at the top would be the sales manager, company owner, or simply the salesperson's own ambition. These circles are known as "Tier 2 Influencers." They don't knock doors, but they're directly connected to the door knocker.
The straighter the lines are from "Tier 2," connected to "Tier 1," and finally to the "Final Prospect," the faster you get to the money. Makes sense, doesn't it?
Any white noise, ambiguity, bad communication, distortion, lack of motivation, or any other interference between these lines, will increase the amount of time it takes to make the next sale. Unfortunately, when these lines build up enough corrosion, future sales are delayed permanently.
Straightening The Lines
Tier 2 --> Tier 1
All lines should point straight to the "Final Prospect," but they sometimes get out of whack. When the sales manager (Tier 2) isn't clearly communicating expectations with the salesperson (Tier 1), your lines are bent.
Office politics will distort the line. Skipping sales meetings messes with your line. Answering texts hours later, rather than seconds later, completely destroys your line. The line from Tier 2 to Tier 1 should be straight, fast, and unobstructed. Straight speed will always be a competitive advantage.
A secondary influencer (Tier 2) will sometimes be a spouse or a significant relationship connected to the salesperson (Tier 1). When the spouse or best friend would rather spend prime prospecting time going to the movies or running errands, instead of going out selling, you have a severely bent line.
Getting to the money will be significantly more difficult, maybe even corroded to the point of being impossible. Relationships that have a common goal of reaching the "Final Prospect" are more likely to avoid costly distractions. As a sales manager, or company owner, you may not be able to straighten these lines, but you should not invest your time, or your money, in lines that can't be straightened.
Tier 1 --> Final Prospect
It should go without saying, but anything that keeps the Tier 1 salesperson from going straight to the prospect's front door is a corrosion of lines.
If you're the salesperson (Tier 1), ask yourself, "What's keeping me from getting straight to the front door?"
I've found the most common answer is fear of rejection. You need good training and some easy, early wins. The second most common answer is a lack of belief. Maybe you were doing well at one point, but then something happened that shook your faith in the company. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your leadership and air out your complaints now. The third most common answer is you don't really need the money.
W. Clement Stone, the man who hired Napoleon Hill, author of "Think & Grow Rich," to be his sales manager, was known to take promising young salespeople to the local car dealership and co-sign on a new car for them. The way Clem Stone figured, if a salesperson was good & honest, they would be forced to make more money so they could pay their new car note.
Most storms don't last as long as a car note, but there's nothing wrong with motivating yourself, or your salespeople, to make more money. By the way, if you're one of those owners giving draws away to a Tier 1 salesperson who seldom makes it to the front door, you're wasting your money, aren't you? The only thing dumber than paying a salesperson who doesn't go straight to the front door is paying them twice.
The Company Line
Maybe you're the company owner. You do all of your own selling.
What influential lines are connected to you? Who influences you?
If your answer is, "nobody," you need a better answer because influencers are multipliers. 1 X 1 = 1. Obviously, you, by yourself, are worth more than just a single "1" if you're talented enough to run your own company, but anything times "1" will always be smaller than anything times "2," or "3," or "10."
When you're accountable to a mentor, or joined together with a Mastermind, you multiply your abilities, straighten your lines, and speed up your success.
The outlaw, "Slick Willie," may have been a notorious bank robber, but business owners are also famous for being stubborn, arrogant, know-it-all, do-it-myself, wild asses. We don't trust anybody because people have proven they can't be trusted. I think all entrepreneurs have a tendency to feel this way, roofing salespeople fall in this category, but eventually we figure out we can't get where we want to go without some good help.
Moving The Lines
Imagine if you replaced the salesperson (Tier 1) and the secondary influencers (Tier 2) from the diagram below with other people who have straight line contact with the final prospect.
I'm going to break down one money-making scenario for you right now. If you're also a member of Mastermind, you'll get 2-3 more valuable step-by-step scenarios included with your bonus audio commentary uploaded within 48 hours to the private members area.
In order to get the most from this exercise, you'll need to ask yourself, "Who else has direct (Tier 1) influence on a homeowner needing a new roof or roof repairs?"
Although there are 3-4 good answers, let's use Realtors as our example. I'll break down how you make money with the others in the Mastermind bonus audio.
Using the diagram below, replace the salesperson as the straight line influence to the final prospect with a real estate agent. The realtor is now you're Tier 1 influencer because they are in a position to know when a roof needs to be repaired or replaced and can greatly influence the final prospect's decision.
Would you agree a Realtor is a straight line connection with built-in influence?
The great thing about moving the lines, and replacing the Tier 1 influencer with a Realtor, is that a salesperson can significantly expand the number of roofs they can sell when they think outside of the traditional model of only knocking on doors where there's known hail or storm damage.
What you don't know can cost you money. Why not align yourself with somebody who does know? Remember, anything times "1" will always be smaller than anything times "2," or "3," or 10."
Roofs get repaired and replaced outside of the hail map on a regular basis. By moving your direction away from the crowd, you can also increase profit and decrease the amount of time it takes to make a commission. The strategy of direction is discussed in-depth in the latest Mastermind Letter (front page pictured below) now available in the private, members-only section of the roofing salesman website..
In order to create an alignment with a Realtor, you have to understand their motivation.
Obviously, their motivation is to sell a home--sell many homes. If the roof is damaged, the home can not be sold without repairing or replacing the roof, asking the homeowner to discount the sale price, or the homeowner threatening to the pull the house off the market because they can't afford to sell their home.
In that final scenario, where the home is pulled off the market, Realtors have been known to give up their commissions to pay for the roof repairs or full replacement if the potential commission is great enough. Many Realtors make 2%-3% for listing a home that sells and/or 2%-3% if they are the agent that sold the home.
When a Realtor knows the roof has to be repaired or replaced, and they know they'll potentially make a 6% commission on the sale of a $150k home, they'll be highly motivated to get that roof repaired or replaced.
They don't want to think about getting the work done. They don't want to wait until after the holidays. That agent wants the roof repaired or replaced as soon as possible, don't they?
Make a connection with a Realtor by showing them how you can help them sell more homes, for more money, faster than they could before meeting you. Realtors can also be entrepreneurial business owners famous for being stubborn, arrogant, know-it-all, do-it-myself, wild asses. In my experience, they are more open to building valuable business relationships, but you'll have to earn their trust and respect.
We haven't talked about the Tier 2 straight line connections to the Realtor yet. Just ask yourself, "Who influences the Realtor?" There are several answers, but I'll name a few important ones: their spouse, the lead broker, the receptionist, the title company, attorney, accountant, preacher, etc.
If you cannot establish a direct connection with a Realtor, but you have a connection with one of their Tier 2's, connect with the Tier 2 you already know and ask for an introduction.
It's like LinkedIn, only better because a good, real-life, straight line Realtor connection has the potential to increase your leverage and make you a lot of money.
Think Outside The Lines
Roofing can be a difficult business.
When the storms dry up and cold weather moves in, the number of traditional opportunities have a tendency to fade away. You cannot limit your vision to the next door you can walk to if you want to survive the down turns.
Find a mentor, join a good mastermind, get in a circle of trusted people, hold yourself accountable to living with straight lines.