Association Membership is Great Marketing
RCS Influencer Heidi Ellsworth say contractors should get involved because it’s great for their company.
An important part of marketing is networking. Not just in your local area with customers but also networking with industry peers, colleagues and vendors. As I have worked with roofing companies over the years, I have found that the companies who are involved in their industry associations while also working closely with distribution, manufacturing and service providers are the businesses that have sustained growth, excellent reputations and true professionalism.
No matter how good you may think your sales and marketing program is, there are always ideas that can take it from good to great. The trick is in understanding where to find the gems. One of the best places is by joining your local, regional and national roofing associations. Although many contractors are worried they don’t have the time or they do not want to spend time with their competition; contractors who have carved out the time have found that working together to improve the industry professionalism through education and legislative support has helped grow their businesses, professionalism and brand in the market.
Here are some key areas where roofing association involvement can help your business and enhance your marketing.
- Enhance your reputation. By working with other committed roofing contractors that are focused not only on their business but on the industry, it will up your game. There is nothing more powerful than being with contemporaries who are as passionate as you are about their business and the roofing profession. It is an opportunity to brand yourself and your business with other professionals who understand your business model.
- Create trust. Don’t forget how powerful using your association membership logo throughout your marketing can be for your company branding and reputation. Building and homeowners look to see if you belong to a trade association. It is associated with a higher level of professionalism. Be sure your membership is noted on your website, in brochures, on trucks and on all forms. By using roofing association membership in marketing, it builds validity and trust of your company in your local community and with your potential customers.
- Tap into knowledge. Roofing associations are doing amazing work on research and education. Instead of learning it on your own, learn from other contractors who have had similar experiences. Relating to other contractors who are willing to share experiences about technology, products and services can give you a leg up when trying to make business changing decisions. There is a huge amount of knowledge shared through webinars, educational classes and peer groups including legal, operations, marketing, sales and much more. It is there for you to tap into once you are involved.
- Increase your purchasing power. Trade associations often arrange for members to receive discounts on certain products and services. Most regional associations have great affinity programs that can save a large amount of money for roofing contractors. On a national level, NRCA provides an amazing affinity program to help with purchasing along with materials to grow your business.
- Business changing events. For roofing contractors in the western states or in Florida, there is no better networking than the Western Roofing Expo in Las Vegas June 11-12, 2018 and the Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Expo June 28-29, 2018 in Orlando. It is a time to find out about new products, services and ideas for your business. By being a member of either association, you will experience special activities and offers that create amazing networking. It is the perfect chance to really understand what is happening in the region. Vendors from all parts of the industry launch innovative marketing programs, products, services and educational initiatives around these shows. For contractors who can attend these yearly events, they are able to jump start their summer with the newest marketing materials and technology solutions. Classes are offered on sales and marketing, often from very successful contractors who are willing to share their insights. The trick is being prepared ahead of the convention. Set appointments with vendors that you want to talk to and review the schedule for classes. There is usually always a chance to meet up with speakers after the seminar. Be sure to stop by the associations’ membership booths and ask how you can be a member or get more involved.
It is important for your business and marketing program to be a member of your local, regional and national associations. There is an even greater return by getting involved at the board level in a roofing association. Consider getting more involved on regional association boards. Many times, the opportunity to learn how other contractors are running their sales and marketing program is easier when they are not in your locality or even in your state. In fact, when visiting with contractors across the country, one of their top reasons cited for joining a roofing association is networking. They have found that developing an active network of fellow contractors, distributors and manufacturers from all parts of the industry and country helps to improve and grow their business every day.
It is not only fellow roofing contractors but manufacturer and distribution representatives that support the associations. They are critical to the success of the association and are great for networking. Contractors are taking advantage of their membership while serving on boards and leadership committees. Through their commitment of time to the industry they can network with leaders from all parts of the country, meeting manufacturers, distributors and service providers who can introduce them to the newest technologies and product offerings.
I have worked with several roofing contractors who were simply looking for a way to get noticed by distribution and manufacturing. There are definite ways to accomplish this through magazine articles, top contractor lists and social media but one of the best ways is the involvement with associations and attending trade shows. For contractors who are currently sitting on regional and national association boards it is a career- and business-changing opportunity. Over and over I hear that contractors who are not participating with local, regional and/or national associations are most likely losing out to their competition who are taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge and networking that is available.
The ability to bring innovative ideas and continuing education to your business, leadership and employees is some of the best marketing you can do as an owner. As noted in earlier columns, your employees are your brand ambassadors and you need to equip them with the best information, marketing and attitudes possible and that is found in your roofing associations.
It all starts with your involvement in the industry. If you are not a member of an association, reach out, join up and reap the benefits. It is some of the best marketing you can do for your business.
Heidi Ellsworth is owner of HJE Consulting Group and a partner in RoofersCoffeeShop.com. See her full bio here.
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