Breakfast meetings can be the perfect place to find out exactly why your customers bought from you.

Eggs, Bacon and Buying Motives

Breakfast of Champions!

Do you know why your customers purchased from you and not the 'other guy'? Before you answer this, let me save you some time... ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS!

If you want to elevate your roofing sales to the next level it is crucial to understand your key points of difference - the little things that made the customer go with you instead of your competition.

How do you get this coveted feedback from your customers? One option would be to visit each customer individually. However, this is terribly time-consuming and is clearly not the most efficient use of your time. There is a better way...

Set up a "Breakfast of Champions" and ask your best customers to attend. Don't let the "Breakfast of Champions" title intimidate you... It's easy to set-up.

Here are the 4 steps to get started:

1. Contact a local hotel and arrange to rent one of their meeting rooms from 7am - 10am. Inform your customer that you are organizing a "Customer Appreciation Banquet" and, since they are such a great customer, you would like to personally invite them. Give them the time and place and say that you'd like for them to stay the entire time but would be happy if they just dropped in for the food and their free prize. Note - If you are going to 'tease' with a free prize make sure it is good! Same goes with the food.

2. Explain to everyone in attendance that you are trying to better yourself and your business, and you NEED THEIR HELP! Ask your customers the real reasons they bought from you. Find out at what point they had made up their mind, what you did good (or bad), what you could improve on... or anything else you want to know. Be sure to explain that their answers will help you better serve them, and others, moving forward (along with growing your business).

3. After you get their reasons for purchasing, be sure to give them something nice. Don't be cheap here! The information the customers shared is worth something nice.  When iPods first came out I used them as a gift.  The past year or so I've gotten great results with Kindles!

4. Mail a short follow-up card thanking the customer for coming and for their feedback. This final touch really makes it clear that value them and their comments.

It isn't brain surgery, but it does require some work on your end. This job wouldn't be as fun if there weren't any unexpected 'surprises.' Here are a few other lessons that will help you along the way (learn from my mistakes):

1.  Make it a point to get to the hotel early enough to arrange your room, put out food, make sure the room is a comfortable temperature, etc.

2. Fill your meeting with customers that get along and/or can help each others business. If uncovering why your customers bought is the first priority, then a close second would be creating new relationships between your customers. Think of yourself as the networking match maker!

3. Don't be too proud to ask what you can improve on. This meeting is about your improvement, not an ego boost!  If you want to become successful at roofing sales then you'll need to develop thick skin!

4. Don't rule out a particular hotel or meeting venue because of the price. I've actually gotten several conference room rentals free by providing a free roof inspection in return.

It's amazing what you can learn if you ask the right people. In roofing and in life - learning from (and understanding) the past allows you to grow and prosper. There is no better way to improve than to ask your past customers for their help and comments.

There are many more tips and tricks I didn't include because I want to hear what you think! What would you add? What have your experiences been? Share and we all benefit!