Lauren Wright has been in the roofing industry for 12 years and held many positions from sales to business development manager, and operations manager. In this interview she shares her insights on the industry and keys to success.
What made you choose the roofing industry?
I was a college student in Texas when a large storm hit my hometown. I just finished my finals and I saw an ad in a paper for a roofing sales position and I thought, “I don’t know anything about roofing, but if a lot of people in this town need new roofs, I can help”. I did well and I actually really liked it.
When a storm hit Denver, I was going to come out there just for the summer and then go back to college in the fall. I loved Denver, loved the mountains, and I did well at work. I decided to stay and I’ve been here ever since for 12 years.
At 19 or barely 20, I would be talking to homeowners, trying to convince them to let me oversee their $50,000 roof project. So, I definitely think that as a female and especially starting young, I had to be twice as knowledgeable as the next person just because I didn’t look like someone that they would typically hire. I did my best. I used to watch YouTube videos, read books, I would go in the field with other sales reps that have been doing it longer than me, I would listen to their spiel, and then just take things that I liked from different people and make them my own. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, and people are asking a lot of questions about products and specs and durability and all these things that are specific to how their roof integrity is going to be, make sure that you have those answers.
Tell us more about your role at Bear Brothers Roofing
I’ve been with Bear Brothers Roofing for six years. As Operations Manager, I do a variety of things, from payroll to negotiating claims with the insurance companies and supplementing, final invoicing, processing mortgage checks, recruit and train the sales team; I do a lot of our commercial business packets. I manage many of our processes.
What’s unique about Bear Brothers Roofing and what makes it successful?
Based in Colorado, Bear Brothers has been around since 2000, and we’ve earned a good name in the community. I think the company culture plays a huge role in our success. I feel that everyone I work with — eight inside employees, and 10 to 15 sales reps., everyone’s super close. We go skiing together, we go camping together, we work hard together, it’s like a big family. There’s a really good chemistry inside the company and I think that it resonates with our customers. We’re happy here, we’re really proud of who we are and what we represent. It makes our customers trust us more because they see that we’re happy. We are here to serve our customers the best we can and we’re not going anywhere.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to build a great reputation in the local area?
At Bear Brothers, we strive to offer customers a “wow” repair experience instead of just “Oh, thank God that nothing bad happened”. We wanted it to be more like “Oh wow! That went way better than I thought it was going to be”. It’s just our willingness to go above and beyond.
It’s also important to call your customer before they have a reason to call you. And that’s one of the biggest downfalls of some salespeople — they are hesitant about calling their customer when something goes wrong. And by the time the customer calls, they are already concerned about something. I train our team to be proactive, communicate the next steps, and give customers regular updates. Of course, the quality of work has to be superb as well.
When it comes to streamlining operations, what kind of structure needs to be in place?
It’s super important to create a process that’s used by everyone. It’s all about consistency and everyone following the process. Any time a new person comes on board, even if they have prior sales experience at another roofing company, I go over the exact way I want them to fill out a Bear Brother contract, for example. We also have our own internal workflow and software. It helps us make sure everyone’s on the same page and if something isn’t right, we address it right away. Once you have a system in place it’s straight forward.
What do you value in your partnership with MADSKY?
There are a ton of things. Being part of MADSKY’s Contractor Network, we are able to get into a neighborhood right after a hailstorm hits. If a hailstorm hits on a Thursday night, by Friday morning a lot of my salespeople are already in the field. And we’re able to assess the situation firsthand.
Also, when a hailstorm hits there are a million salespeople knocking on doors. This can be annoying for homeowners. But when you’re coming in as a partner with MADSKY and they know you’re there to inspect the property, you’re welcomed with open arms. Because MADSKY sets it up and explains the process to the homeowner, lets them know that you’re a vetted contractor, and there’s a better warranty using the program, it helps build trust.
In addition, especially with the new sales reps, when they get to work in MADSKY’s program, because the inspection process is so meticulous it makes them better overall. They get used to really looking at all the details that MADSKY requires, required photos, required documentation, etc. And even if they have a job that’s not part of the program, they just do a way better job of inspecting it.
Getting paid quickly is another benefit. I don’t have to worry about final invoicing and waiting on all the checks to come. With MADSKY, you submit the pictures of the completed work, attach all paperwork and get paid right away. And that’s a huge advantage. With other jobs that aren’t in the program, the wait time can be 45 to 60 days to collect.
What keeps you motivated to continue improving what you do?
I do feel like we are a big family here at Bear Brothers and I want to see the company thrive. I feel motivated just finding new ways we can do things better and seeing the results.