Andrew Leachman is a Senior Sales Manager at Feazel, a roofing, windows, and home exteriors company. He is also a retired bodybuilder, who stands 6’3, and at one point, weighed 275 pounds. We talked to Andrew about his background, and about what it’s like to manage a team that sells home improvement services directly to consumers. The interview had been edited for length and clarity.
You’ve been selling for nearly a decade. How did you get your start in sales? When did you know it would be your career?
On some level, I always knew I’d be in sales. As a kid, if I could always make a buck when I was hustling. In junior high, I had a couple of run-ins where I was almost suspended because I was essentially supplying the entire school with candy. I’d buy it in bulk, double the price, and flip it at school. It was great until the teachers and principal were wondering where all this candy was coming from.
In regards to my current sales career, it actually relates back to my bodybuilding days. I was always seeing these successful guys training around 11am and I wondered what kind of job they had that allowed such flexibility. I inquired, and that winter, I was hired as a roofing salesman. I figured out almost immediately that the goal was to sell, recruit, and train more guys to do the same to earn an unlimited and uncapped amount on overrides to supplement my own sales. Once I knew that I was good at recruiting and had beginner's luck with selling, I was hooked.
You manage a sales team that sells roofing and home exterior remodeling. What’s it like selling directly to consumers? What are some of the upsides/downsides?
I love that part of my job. Also, I don't recruit from within the industry. In my experience, identifying the intangibles without having prior experience to muddy up Feazel’s process is the best case scenario. I prefer to hire people I know or trust and then teach them the trade. What is so unique about our sales process is, we do loads of home restoration and mitigation through insurance carriers. So our sales cycle is not the same as a retail guy who shows up one time.
The only downside is really the prolonged mitigation periods with the insurance carriers, which prolongs the pay cycle and ultimately the paychecks of the sales guys. But, once they get a full pipeline and keep hustling, they never worry about that initial paycheck again.
What’s some advice you have for a homeowner who is in the process of buying a new roof or solar? What are some things to look out for in the buying process? How can someone get the best deal?
My first suggestion would be to ensure they are hiring an established General Contractor who has done the base trade for a good while and is integrating solar. I see a lot of “solar” first companies installing panels without doing sun exposure reports to ensure they are getting a good system placement, and I see a lot of poorly constructed new roofs directly under all of those panels. If your roof is installed wrong and needs to be replaced, all of those panels have to come off for a new install. A lot of those companies go out of business within 24 months leaving customers with no warranty and nobody to call when something goes wrong. With such new technology, a warranty is worth its weight in gold.
What does a typical work day look like for you? Walk us through it.
I typically wake up around 7 am, eat something light, and most days go and do a 60-90 minute workout. Then, I’m getting ready and hitting a team meeting/or coordinating with my team to get an idea of what they have going on and if there is anywhere they might need my help. I keep an open and casual line of communication with them. I try to pride myself on not micromanaging and setting expectations by my own actions. Typically, by 11am I’m either out on appointments or working through my open jobs trying to get them closer to a close. I’m usually in the office until after 5 and I usually catch up with my boss on any outstanding items I need some direction on. Some days, I’m done by 3pm and head home and enjoy some time in my yard, or at the driving range if the weather is nice and I’m on top of my customers. It’s always a moving schedule. The beauty is, I don't have to ask for PTO and can do whatever I want as long as I stay on top of my customers and keep producing.
What's the one thing you’ve found that helps you be successful in sales?
I’d say the self confidence I have from my years of bodybuilding. That self-confidence doesn’t come from ego, it comes because of how many people told me I couldn’t be a bodybuilder, and with enough reps (repetitions) that’s exactly what I became. So, no matter what, if you’re willing to do the work, you can become good at anything.
What are your long term career goals? Early retirement or future CRO?
I don’t know what I’d do if I were to retire. I think if I won the Mega Millions tomorrow, I’d still keep my job. (I might take a nice vacation, though lol) I definitely think I have aspirations for a higher role within Feazel. The amount of growth I have personally witnessed coupled with what is forecasted, I hope to find something that fits. Personally, I think being in charge of a department of sales guys would fit my style as a next step. I am very happy with my current role as I am completely uncapped with unlimited growth potential. So, for me, there may never be a better job with the freedom-to-income ratio being the most important factor. I’m sure something with a fancier title will come along eventually, but it’s not my driving force.
What is your favorite sales movie?
So, I’ve ALWAYS been obsessed with organized crime movies so my list of favorite movies is littered with crime. However, I’d have to say American Gangster is my favorite “sales” movie. It’s based on a true story, and although the product was highly unsavory, Frank Lucas was a visionary. He cut out all of his suppliers and sourced directly in the 60’s/70’s before we had the global economy of today. He undercut all of his competition with a far superior product for half the price. Granted it could be argued he was personally responsible for countless deaths, there’s definitely something to be taken from his ability to forecast the board so well and completely upend the market to the point that his wholesalers became his purchasers. I guess it’s not really any different than people saying the Wolf of Wall Street as that was based on a true story and Jordan Belfort was a criminal at the end of the day.