It’s one of the most respected names in the roofing industry
“Every time I ask about Jim Johnson,”
begins Roofing Insights CEO Dmitry Lipinskiy.
“I get the same answer: he’s a good guy.”
Johnson, sitting across from Lipinskiy during a recent interview, smiles when Lipinskiy shares this anecdote.
“In all honesty, I wasn’t always a good guy,”
says Johnson, who is considered by many to be the top roofing coach in the country.
“I was tough, I was hard, and I didn’t always do things the right way.”
He then describes himself as someone who is hyper-competitive, to the point that it can be detrimental.
“I hate to lose, and I wasn’t always real smart about business, so I had some failures.”
Yet for Johnson, these failures as a salesman were in many ways inevitable.
“My mom said I came out of the womb telling her that I needed to eat right away,”
explains Johnson, and since then, he’s always been forward about what he wants.
“My family has always used that as terminology to describe me.”
But no one could have predicted that Johnson would one day become both an ace coach and salesman in the roofing industry.
To be fair, neither did Johnson.
It wasn’t until he answered an ad from a company who was looking for a home inspector that he began to better understand what the roofing industry was all about.
“I went in for an interview, found out what it really was, and it was sales,”
“The concept that really clicked to me was that if the homeowner pays their deductible, they get all this work done.”
Johnson is of course referring to insurance claims on homes, a process that often results in homeowners paying very little for a new roof.
Realizing how little investment homeowners had to make, Johnson found the sales process to be very simple.
In fact, it was so simple that Johnson didn’t feel comfortable labeling himself as a salesman.
“That [roofing sales] is not sales. Sales is when you take money out of somebody’s pocket for a service or a product that you provide. This [roofing] is taking money out of someone else’s pocket to pay for that service or product. Really, it’s up to the homeowner to choose the right contractor.”
And often homeowners have ended up choosing Johnson’s company as their preferred contractor.
Years ago, during his first three months as a salesman, Johnson sold over 100 roofs and pocketed $108,000.
That trend continued for years, until later on he began questioning his purpose in life.
“My dad once mentioned that I could sell water to a drowning man, but I don’t always want to be perceived that way,”
This is because as Johnson has aged and become wiser, he’s now recognized that money and success don’t supersede everything.
While Johnson will admit that having financial security is a nice feeling, he also believes there are more important ventures an individual can undertake throughout their life.
One of these includes giving back to the next generation, something Johnson began doing once he became a roofing coach.
Johnson admits that doing this was less financially rewarding, but the emotional compensation trumped any dip in revenue.
This is just a snippet of Jim Johnson’s story.
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