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How to sniff out a salesman from a mile away

Updated on May 30, 2014

They should give you a good reason to actually trust them

Knock, Knock, Who's there?

After experiencing severe damage to your roof after some extreme weather you better stay on guard. You are very likely find a number of vultures knocking down your door trying to sell you a roofing repair or replacement. These companies literally live off of the Doppler radar system and get a extensive report daily telling them what areas are most likely to have experienced property damage. As soon as the information is released they hop in their cars and the harassment begins. These storm chasers seem to be the worst offenders when it comes to outdated and abrasive sales techniques but by no means are they the only ones out there practicing this "art". It is just a lot easier to predict when they are likely to come around opposed to the other guys who "just happened to be in the neighborhood." If you have ever met one one of the salesman yourself it is something you will not soon forget. If you would like to avoid the situation in the future there are several clear signs you can look out for that should tell you that you may be dealing with a bottom feeder.

Yes, they do still exist

Visual Cues

  • How they are dressed
  • Body language
  • Presence of company logo
  • Note Taking

Judging a book by its cover

Everyone is familiar with the stereotypical used car salesman and knows to be on their guard when shopping for a vehicle. But it is a lot harder to take the same precautions when caught off guard in your own home. The first thing you want to look out for is their appearance. You don't necessarily want to buy a new roof from somewhere wearing a three piece suit. On the other hand, if a contractor shows up in a sweat stained tank top shirt and flip flops it is definitely not a good sign either. Look for someone that cares about their appearance but they are wearing attire that will let them properly assess the project. Not every job is going to require a roofer to go up on to your roof, many times it is just damaging the brittle shingle up there even further potentially causing further leaking to occur. A roofing contractor with enough experience should be able to tell from the age of the home and a brief visual inspection approximately what the installation is going to entail. Make sure that they are taking notes and measuring the property. A tape measure is not always necessary because tech savy business men will now invest in satellite views that will accurately measure the home before they even arrive. However, it is your responsibility to ask the right questions and see what measurements they are using to get to the price that they quote.

How much is too much?

Information overload

An honest sales person does not need to rely to heavily on props. There are many companies out there they give their new employees a quick training seminar and send them in to the field with a video and a ton of samples. When they reach a customers house they force their victims to endure a tedious infomercial explaining why the company they now work for is so great. They then endlessly pour over the information in all of the brochures trying to tire the home owner out so that they are more likely to make a decision in order to just stop the madness! What you are looking for a a polite professional that can give a proper presentation quickly and concisely. Everyone's time is important and the customers needs to be respected as well as the salesman's. If the salesman has hours on end to spend over explaining simple things to a potential client then they either are over compensating for something or no one else wants to see them. The best in the field have a lot of work to do and will be able to give you an exact game plan and price for your home improvement project in no time. They have enough experience to answer your questions without repeating a script verbatim and are able to talk with a customer instead of at them. When a sales pitch has dragged on for to long or you become confused do not hesitate to tell them to stop talking. They are the ones infringing on your personal property and need to respect anything you ask of them.

The deal of a lifetime, today only!

High pressure closing

Anytime a salesman tells you that you need to decide now or the deal is going to change it is time to walk away. It doesn't matter if they try to tell you the sales ends today or that they will throw in free insulation if you sign now. All this shows you is that they are not confident enough in their product or service to let you think about it or compare it to other quotes. Now dont get me wrong, I am not saying to never sign a contract on the spot. Sometimes when you just know when your getting a good deal and dealing with quality people right away. But if you have any reservations do not get tricked into making a snap decision. In many states such as Michigan, when signing a contract such as for the purchase of a new roof at your own residence you have a 3 business day right of rescission. This means that you are legally able to cancel the contract within 3 business days for any reason you want. Keep in mind this is the last thing that dirty contractors want you to do so they will collect a big down payment from you up front and then try in every way possible to put you off past those three days. After that they could care less because if you cancel they will just keep your money and not have to do any work! A salesman's job is to make the sale so don't get offended by pure enthusiasm but when the high pressure techniques start and simply wont stop you know you have a serious problem. You can find many horror stories along the lines of salesman refusing to leave a customers house unless they sign and the police having to be called in order to get them out.

Take your time, but hurry up

The proper amount of time to make a decision

You don't want to wait to long before making a decision on what to do because time is limited and good contractors book up quick. As soon as you have gotten a few quotes and are able to compare them all you should make up your mind ASAP. If the company is organized and interested in earning your business they will most likely give you a follow up call a few days after meeting with you. This should be a personal call and not some cheesy recorded message! At this time it is appropriate to ask them any further questions you may have thought of or try to get them to come down on the price a little bit. If you cant get a hold of them to discuss these things then you will want to shred that contact information right away. If you are having a hard time getting in touch with them to give them business just imagine what a nightmare it will be god forbid you ever have any problems with the work down the road.

Victim Awareness

Have you fallen prey to these deceptive practices?

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High Pressure Selling

© 2014 American Standard Roofing


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