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Using Visualization to Boost Your Business - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Using Visualization to Boost Your Business - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION
September 28, 2023 at 12:00 p.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Brad Finck from Renoworks. You can read the interview below, listen to the podcast or watch the video.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Hello, and welcome to MetalTalk from MetalCoffeeShop. My name is Heidi Ellsworth, and we are here today to talk about something that is really revolutionizing and has revolutionized the industry, and that is digital visualization. It is incredible for sales, for production, for you name it. And we're going to learn all about it today. So we have asked our friends from Renoworks to join us. Brad Finck is here, and we are going to go through visualization, how you can incorporate it into your business, and just what a difference it's making in the home improvement space.

Before we do, a couple of housekeeping. First of all, this is being recorded and it will be available within 24 hours. And of course, as always, it'll be available on video on MetalCoffeeShop, YouTube, and on all of your favorite podcast channels. So be sure to watch for it along on MetalCoffeeShop, of course. Also, we will have the chat. The chat is open right now. We would love to know who you are. Please say hi and also your company and what you do, and feel free to ask questions or make comments throughout the entire webinar. So, let's get started. Brad, welcome to MetalTalk.

Brad Finck: Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate being here.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. I love this topic. I've been watching part of it actually for so many years within the industry and really seen it grown. So before we get going, why don't you first introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about Renoworks.

Brad Finck: Yeah. Thank you. Renoworks has been around since 1999 actually, so we've been around over 20 years. We've been working with clients, everybody from manufacturers to retailers, to lumberyards, to of course contractors and designers for the better of our career. I am actually in my 10th year here at Renoworks, and before that, I also have also spent pretty much almost my entire career with various forms of construction-based software.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Excellent. Well, this is really, I can tell you from the CoffeeShop perspective, when we see analytics and when we see what people are interested in, visualization is right at the top. So, I know we're going to have a lot of questions today. Let's get started. Let's start out with; what is visualization? As I'm sitting here talking about this, I think it's very important to start with the very beginning. Please let us know about visualization and also the history of it.

Brad Finck: Yeah. So really, and as it relates to Renoworks specifically, because in the construction industry, visualization has been around forever, from sketches on a napkin to blueprints, to architects' renderings, but as it really relates to Renoworks, and since our inception, we always kept getting asked, "This is a nice roof tile, or this is a nice piece of brick, but I really can't visualize what it's going to look like on my home." And 80% of homeowners, which is a pretty common statistic, really just can't visualize that. So, Renoworks started out back then. Originally, it was a set of floppy disks migrated towards the CD on a microsite Windows desktop. And then over the last 10 to 12 years, it's migrated to be fully online. But really at the end of the day, we take a manufacturer's products and we show a customer what that's going to look like on their home or blueprint before a project actually begins.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: When you're talking to homeowners or building owners, it's hard to visualize what their home is going to look like. So really being able to take that and change, whether it's the roof or the siding or the windows or the doors, whatever it may be, I think is so important for the contractors and for the companies out there. So, let's talk a little bit about the different types of visualization, because I know there are different types out there and let's go through that.

Brad Finck: Sure. As it relates to Renoworks, I like to break our visualization technology really into two specific types, what I call photo-based visualization or image-based visualization. And this is really something that Renoworks pretty much invented back 20 something odd years ago, where people wanted to take a photo of their home and they want to visualize what new metal roofing is going to look like or siding or trim. So, the nice thing about the photo, and we're going to look at a couple of examples in a few seconds, is that when you're looking at a photo of the home, we find that the homeowner better identifies with a photo of their actual... Because it's their tree, it's their garbage can in the driveway, it's their car, it's their plant and foliage, so it really is their home and they really like to gravitate towards that.

The second type of visualization is really more in the 3D modeling realm, and so there's some advantages to that as well, but that's really where you're actually creating a full 3D digital model of the home and you can showcase the roof and the hips and the ridges and all of those different things. So, I think by categorizing the use cases of both types of visualization, you can really decide if one, the other, or both are important to you and your business.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. Well, let's watch a video on this. Maybe you can talk us through this.

Brad Finck: Sure. So, this is a really good example and a simple example of what I call photo-based visualization. So it's the customer's home. It could be done from a phone, done from a camera. There's lots of different ways to do it, which we'll touch on later, but basically they can select on the different areas of the home. In this case, we've selected a roof and we can go through different metal profiles, different colors, and you can quickly show your customer, really in a matter of seconds, different iterations that would excite them. So whether you're selecting the siding, whether you're selecting the roofing, you can change entry doors, you can change window configurations if you are selling all of those different products. You can quickly and easily, on a photo, get that customer excited, set the better expectation, and just walk them through different iterations that might appeal to them. So it really takes a lot of the guesswork out of it, because it's actually working on a photo of their own home. Conversely-

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right, and... Yeah, go ahead.

Brad Finck: No, I was going to say conversely, we have the 3D model. So in this case, this particular model was actually created automatically from EagleView data. So it was actually created from aerial imagery, from a company called EagleView, and we created that 3D model in seconds. And then, so from there, you can tell it really doesn't look as real as the photo. All right, so the homeowner for example, it might not be as appealing, but to the contractor, somebody who wants to see all of the roof lines, wants to see any possible surprises on all different sides of the building, it really lends itself to another advantage. And then the last advantage that the 3D model gives you is you can extract information, you can extract things like measurements, and you can turn those measurements and that data into eventual bill of materials and a quote.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Wow. This is so important. I love, especially, I love how you have metal siding and metal roofing, so the homeowner or the building owner can really get that big picture.

Brad Finck: Yes, and so we work with lots of different manufacturers, cataloging, trying to keep their data as up to date as possible. And so the different manufacturers that participate in our program get to showcase their products, get the exposure to the customer, and then can catalog all of the different profiles, colors. And those colors can be textured, they can be flat colors, painted, and so all of those are available to be selected in our visualization tool.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. I love it. Well, to that point, let's talk about that manufacturer connection, and we have a number of the manufacturers up here who are all working with you, including the Metal Roofing Alliance. Talk to us a little bit about how important this is.

Brad Finck: Well, it's really important. So Renoworks today, we work with over 350 different manufacturers, specific brands, and then that translates over into about 5 or 600 different libraries. And those are really in all different categories. So in this case, we're showing a lot of metal roofing, metal siding brands, but we also deal with manufacturers and brands that fall in window, entry door, garage door, trim, paint. We also work with the interior as well, so things like flooring and cabinets and countertops. But by dealing directly with the manufacturers and keeping those libraries as up to date as possible, not only do we reflect the actual products that are available to the contractor, but we're presenting it in a way that the manufacturer dictates, so they're actually explaining to us how they want it categorized, how they want it displayed to the homeowner or to the contractor. And so then we're using their actual real world images in order to build those libraries.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's cool. I love it. So, as you're looking at engagement, how do contractors, manufacturers, but really contractors engage with this visualization program or software, technology? Can you walk us through how this helps them and works for them?

Brad Finck: Yeah, and there's a number of different use cases for visualization, but I try to simplify it. And the contractors that we work with today have two primary use cases. So one is the visualization is a sales tool, and they will use it in consultation with their clients. They might do a webinar, like we're doing here, and remotely being able to sit down, take that customer's photo, walk them through the different iterations and really showcase some of the different scenarios that they might do to try to get that homeowner excited. And again, you're trying to set the expectation, put that homeowner at ease, make sure that the selections that they're making they're comfortable with, and of course enlighten them to things that maybe they wouldn't have thought of on their own.

So that's one scenario. But then the other is they often use it when they're knocking on doors or when they're doing an in-person consultation. So because the visualizers are actually mobile responsive, you can take your phone, you can walk up to the home before you knock on the door, snap a single photo, and then in about 15 seconds that photo is now prepared. So you can be sitting at a kitchen table, walking through a consultation with the customer and selecting profiles and products and colors right there in that initial consultation. So, it really adds an extra level of professionalism, but more so interaction with that customer, because now you're really going to come across not only an industry expert, but you're able to showcase and show exactly what you were explaining. Okay. Sorry. Go ahead, Heidi.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: No, I really love that idea of snapping the photo before you go in to meet with the homeowner, because to me that would be so impressive, because it shows someone is prepared, that they care about what I think about my house. And because it's visual, it sends I think an even stronger message.

Brad Finck: It does, and it's one of those things where we always say, you don't have to give up your physical samples either, and you can actually use it hand in hand with those physical samples. So you might show somebody, so they can touch and feel what that metal roof or profile looks like. And then you can say, "Now let's see what that looks like... Preempting that question, which always happens; "It looks good on the sample board, but I can't figure out what it's going to look like on my home." Well, now you can show them right in that minute; "This is what it's going to look like on the photo of your home." And they get it right away.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's awesome.

Brad Finck: And then really the other major use case is a lot of our clients, if they really take a lot of pride, which of course many of them do in their web presence, the visualizer can also be put on their own website. And so as an engagement tool, a homeowner might come to their website, learn a little bit more information about that contractor, but then if the contractor wants them to, they can upload their own photo. And then once that's happening, they capture that information. So the homeowner's name, email address is there when they upload a photo, and that will end up turning into a lead that goes directly to that contractor who has a visualizer on their website.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I'm just thinking about social media, because what you showed in that video that we just saw, changing the colors of both the siding and the roofing, what a cool animation for social media.

Brad Finck: Yeah, it really helps, because a lot of people don't think of that. Because if they have a social media presence, because it's an image-based technology, you can actually... And we have integrations with all of the major social media sites, so you can be posting and automating that with the different images, showing them what the different iterations are going to look like of your own home. Or a contractor can be using it on their own social media sites and other various forms of marketing initiatives that they're doing and really use visualization hand in hand with all of the other marketing initiatives that they already have in place.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, I really like that. I like the fact that you have the integration, because just think about one of the biggest testimonials for any contractor is the before and after shot. But now you can do the before and look what could be after. So you can really play with that. I think that's great. And that just of course continues to generate leads. Talk just, and I think we're going to talk about this a little bit later on, but just real quick, so the contractors, this is the key thing that they can get your software and put that on their site and they can totally run it.

Brad Finck: Well, exactly that. So, a lot of contractors today will use the visualizers that Renoworks has built, that are already on the manufacturer's website. So many of the logos that you saw on the previous slide, those manufacturers already have visualizers built with us and branded for that particular manufacturer. But now we're in a point where a contractor, they can come and have a copy of what we call our Renoworks probe tool, which is a web-based visualization tool, and then they can put that on their site and they can have product selections from multiple manufacturers in that visualization tool. So they can have a certain metal roofing brand that we support, but maybe they also do window jobs or maybe they also replace doors. So they can have those different types of products all in their visualization tool to support all of the different brands that they carry on their website, branded for them. And so now their website just became a much deeper engagement tool than it was before the visualizer came into play.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, and those manufacturers are keeping everything up to date, so the contractors know what they're showing is what's available.

Brad Finck: Exactly, exactly. And then the other thing that we do with Renoworks Pro-Contractor tool is maybe they sell a certain brand, but they don't maybe carry all the profiles or maybe they don't carry all the colors. So shortly we're going to have it in a position where they can actually fine tune that subset of that manufacturer's library to only the products that they want to show and only the products that they actually carry.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's great. That's great. Now, Brad, we just had a question, "Do you help build the website with us?"

Brad Finck: We do not. Renoworks is not in the business of building websites, but we will build the visualizer and that visualizer will be branded to match with the logo, the color scheme that your website offers. And from a business point of view, the reason that we don't do that is we often work with marketing agencies that build websites, so we want to make sure that we keep our focus, and of course we want to work with all of these different agencies and we really have our sweet spot in the marketplace.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Okay. And Steve, I can tell you that we can help you through our directories, finding people who do build websites. So, stay tuned and we can definitely help you out there as you're looking around or at least show you in the directory some of the folks who do that. He also wanted to know, "When will the filtering tool be ready, so I can only show my materials I use?"

Brad Finck: Right. So the way it sits today, Steve, is that you can show specific manufacturers that you carry, but within the next couple of months, probably within the next few weeks from what I... But I don't like to over promise. You know how it is with development. You should be able to get to that point where you can actually filter right down to the color level.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love that. That's so powerful for the contractors. And as we're talking through that, I think once... You're welcome Steve. And to what Steve is saying, there is just a lot that you could do with your customers, including photos and blueprints. So let's talk about that a little bit, Brad.

Brad Finck: Right. So a lot of people when they look at our visualization tools, and quite frankly it is the most common use case that people will use a photo, because the name Renoworks came from the word renovation, which typically is where we started in business. So often we'll use photos and show what it's going to look like, but a lot of people don't realize that they can also upload a blueprint. They can take an architect's rendering that maybe was produced with AutoCAD or Revit or one of the other 3D CAD or BIM tools out there.

So it is a very universal way of taking whatever media that you happen to be using and showcasing your different products. And so typically what we do, and we'll have an example in a minute, where let's say you upload your photo or you upload your blueprint. And for any of those people who may have used visualization even five years ago, you always had to upload the photo or the blueprint and trace around, kind of a manual method using what we called our DIY tools, to outline the roof and outline the walls and the doors and the windows and set the perspective. And it was a very exact process, but a little tedious, especially for the average homeowner. But what we actually now have now is what we call artificial intelligence. So we use AI to, in about 15 seconds, to automatically identify the regions of that photo when you're uploading it, and then give you the ability to apply your different products.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That makes sense, that makes sense. And I think or I know, let's show everybody a little bit how that works.

Brad Finck: Yeah. So in this case, this is a desktop application or the desktop format, but you basically... So you're selecting the photo and then basically it uploads. So what you saw there was a quick identification. It runs through a process, and then what we do is we automatically identify the various regions. So in this particular photo, it's the roof regions, it's the various wall regions. We can identify the trim, so the doors and the windows. So by identifying those regions, you can now quickly group or ungroup the different facets, or in this case, the different walls that you might want to associate to a single color.

So here we put siding on the upper walls, we put stone or brick on the lower walls, and you can basically identify each individual surface as needed. We also, through our AI, or what I call our auto preparation technology, we set the slope of the roof, we set the perspective on the wall, and so we can have that all into place. And conversely, we do the same thing on a blueprint. So in one of the more recent versions, you can actually upload a 2D elevation that might've been produced with say, AutoCAD or Revit, and it'll do the same thing. So you can apply the roof, you can apply the siding, the stone, the brick, all of the different aspects and really turn that blueprint into an interactive color, texture engagement tool.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah.

Brad Finck: Oh, the other thing-

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I just-

Brad Finck: Oh, go ahead Heidi.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I was just going to say, I just love this, so keep going.

Brad Finck: No, I was going to say it's important to note that a lot of the CAD and BIM tools, they have their own version of rendering, but why you would use a visualizer in addition to those tools is the quick, easy selections. You can upload this and you can go through three, four different iterations in a matter of seconds as opposed to hours with a traditional CAD tool.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Well, for roofing and siding and exterior contractors, very seldomly actually do you have somebody who's using AutoCAD in the office, but this makes it available for everyone to use; salespeople as productions working to make sure that they have what they want and how it's going to look. I think it's very cool. Best coloring book you could ever have right there. So, yep. Let's go to what I was just talking about, visualization as a sales tool. This is so important for the sales team. And I would think too, with so many Zoom calls for some of those initial qualifying, what a great tool to be able to get a homeowner interested in setting that appointment. So talk a little bit about using it as a sales tool.

Brad Finck: Yeah. And we talked about it earlier, how you could either use it if you're door knocking or doing an in-home consultations or through Zoom. And of course when COVID hit, nobody wanted to go to the home, nobody wanted you to go to the home. So, Zoom and all the different tools in order to do this just became much more prevalent. But really at the end of the day, it's about how can you improve your consultation. If you're in a discussion with a client, not only are you the expert, but you want to insinuate that expertise with tools that just give you more to talk about, gives you a much better way of presenting the information.

So you can be sitting there with a customer and showing them, "Here's what it might look like, for example, if you did a simple asphalt shingle." Or, "Here's what it might look like if you did a standing seam roof." Or, "Here's what it would be like if you did a metal profile or more like a pressed roof." So by showing the different scenarios, you can show good, better, best. You can use it in an upsell scenario, which is becoming very common. And now the customer can actually see, "Oh, well, if I'm going to spend a little bit more money and get a better quality product, now I can get a better idea of what that's going to look like as well." And as we all know, when somebody's buying a product, especially for their home, it's a very emotional experience. So this really lends itself to enhancing the emotional aspect of the sale.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right. And I know we're going to talk just a little bit more about this down the road here, but I think this is just a great time to also bring up the MetalVue Program, and people have been seeing the MetalVue, up there, Program that you're involved in, MetalCoffeeShop is involved in, run by really the brainstorm of Sherwin-Williams. And one of the things I see on that is there are a lot of contractors, we see them every day on MetalCoffeeShop, who are coming in to find out how to do more metal, how to either bring metal into their business or to do those upsells or maybe where they're changing types of metal systems. So I think that's to your point here, what you're talking about with upselling, when you are doing premium products like metal, I think that is really critical to be able to really give that homeowner that visualization.

Brad Finck: It is, because as we all know metal comes with a heftier price tag than some of the other options out there. So, the visualization comes into play, because it really says, "Okay, if you're going to be spending more money," and of course you're going to be getting a much better product, because it is a metal roof and all the advantage that they go along with that. I know that a lot of customers, they said, "Yeah, but I am not sure if I'm going to like the look of a metal roof." So what this will do is allow you to play with different scenarios and colors and profiles and really set that customer's mind at ease and set their expectations. Like, "Now I'm comfortable that if I'm going to spend more money, not I'm only going to get a better quality metal roof, but I'm going to like the looks of it, the aesthetics are going to be good." And now the expectation is set going forward to make the sale.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And really, when you're talking about that consultative approach, I think it's so important, because people taking the time to visit and to really understand the needs can be a lot of different systems. Really, it just depends on where they're at and what they need and their expectations. And so again, that visualization, that good, better, best, I think just really helps to the sales team. And you know what, and forget... Brett, I think we've got to talk about this, not even talking about different types of roofing out there, but really talking about if you are a roofing contractor and you want to add siding or you want to add windows or you want to add doors, this is the perfect product to really be able to show that homeowner that you can do the full exterior and you have solutions that it's all going to match and look beautiful.

Brad Finck: Exactly. So we have some tools actually in the visualizer that allow you to create what we call a snapshot or a palette or a collection of products. And so that's where the good, better, best scenario comes in, where you can say, "Okay, well, I'm going to have my lowest price roof and maybe I'm going to put vinyl siding, or maybe I'm going to put some vinyl windows and that's, as an option, but now going to upsell, now I'm going to go into a better quality metal roof, and of course I'm going to do metal siding. I'm going to get into aluminum windows, nicer entry door." So it's a great way of showing them the different scenarios. And often we know that people will, if presented with three options, as long as there's a budget, they often buy the one in the middle.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right, right.

Brad Finck: So if structured correctly with that good, better, best scenario, you can help steer the client towards the actual purchase that you want them to buy. And of course, that they can still afford.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right right. And that's the best for them in their situation. So let's show that, and I'm going to hit the play button.

Brad Finck: Yeah, so here's just an example. Now you can see we have a pane there that shows different snapshots. And so really the tools that we offer, you can pick your different, whether you pre-pick them and have them ready for the presentation or actually do it right in front of the client, you can be showing them; "Here's one scenario with a certain type of cladding, a certain type of roof." And then in this case, we can give them a good, better, best. And then what we can do is we can actually print that into a branded report with your logo on it as a contractor and say, "Here's the one that you originally asked for. Here's one that is a little bit better quality, going to last longer. Maybe stretch your budget a little bit." And then of course, if you really want to do something much, much more higher end, then you give them those different options as well. So, because we have the report as well, you can print it off, it makes a great little leave behind. You can save it as a PDF, or you can email that report to the client as well.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. The day and age of leave behinds is not over, I don't think, whether you're emailing it to them or handing it to them on a piece of paper printed out. I think that, because you want your...

Heidi J. Ellsworth: ... paper printed out. I think that because you want your company logo, your company, what you did, and how you're using technology to differentiate, to really stand out before you leave that home. Hopefully, you've already closed them.

Brad Finck: Everybody wants the one call close, but in reality, it's not always a perfect world. So, in this case, the example we're showing is actually branded as MetalVue, but as a contractor you can have your own logo on it, so your report will have your logo on it. And again, it's all about if I'm going to visit the client or do a consultation with them, I want to keep that mind share with the client. If I have to leave and come back, I want to leave them with something that they're going to remember me by.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right. Exactly. And, I want to remind everyone, if you have any questions as we're going along, how this could fit into your business or about the technology, please put it in the chat and let us know. We're going to be taking questions throughout. So, let's talk about metal construction usage. When you're doing the visualization and you're looking at all the different places where metal is being used in construction, kind of talk through some of that, Brad and what you're seeing.

Brad Finck: And often people, they look at Renoworks as a residential solution primarily. And the reality is that is the base part of our usage is residential only, just because that's where we started, and that's kind of where our history is. But whether it be for metal specifically, most of our clients don't just do residential. So often they'll do agricultural, which is very, very common in metal, or they'll do commercial. They'll do architectural buildings. And so, there's lots of different use cases where if you're working with the building owners, for example, that does pole barns, a lot of people will take that structure, upload the image and then show again quickly and easily what it's going to look like with different metal, different color hips and ridges and corner trim. And so, it lends itself really to all types of buildings. It's really not just a residential solution.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: No, but it is been fun seeing some of the agricultural architecture come into residential like with the barndominiums. And I mean, there's a lot, and really I think your visualizer is perfect for that when you are really looking at, "Well, do I want a barndominium or pole barn," or I've seen amazing architectural metal obviously on commercial buildings and also inside. And, you said that some of your software can also do interiors, right?

Brad Finck: We do, yeah. So again, Renoworks is primarily exterior. But yeah, we're actually doing a lot of work these days on the interior because as you mentioned, a lot of the materials now are being used interchangeably. So, you are at a point now where you can actually upload the interior of a room as well, and we can identify the walls, and you can put your metal claddings, for example, on the ceiling or on the walls, change out your doors. A lot of people are doing the overhang sliding door, the barn doors inside now. So, those are all things that now you can do. So, it now has really become both an exterior and an interior solution as well.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And, what I see a lot in especially airports, large commercial properties, is they're actually doing roofs within the structure. So especially for restaurants to make it look and so then also now you have this metal roof inside. So, there's just lots of potential to be able to help work with architects. So for those out there who are working with architects to also provide this across the board as they're building, I know they have CAD. I know how they have all that, but it seems a lot easier, Brad.

Brad Finck: Well, it is, and that's where it's not a replacement necessarily for those tools, and we don't ever try to position us as being a replacement for say, AutoCAD or Revit. But, it can and when used correctly it can be a great companion tool and compliment those tools because it is easier and faster. So, you could take a design, for example, that was delivered by an architect and you can say, "Well, let's make the color selections, let's prepare the image, or let's prepare the blueprint and sit down with the client and make those color selections without having to go back all the time to ask those architects to make the changes."

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. Well, in fact, let's see how that works. We have another video here, which is great.

Brad Finck: So, these are really just different examples of different types. So obviously residential, as I mentioned, is kind of where a lot of people will use us for. And again, that can be for roofing. It could be for siding, doors, windows, trim, stonework, brickwork all of those things are covered. I don't think we have any interior examples here, but we can certainly get those for people who want to know. And then, there's the example of a commercial building, agricultural building, changing the various aspects as well just to kind of get that look. And then lastly, we have an architectural example as well. So, we have clients who use it for things like churches and schools, a lot of gas stations and things like that. I see a lot of projects come across with small types of commercial buildings. So, it's a pretty robust tool.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And, I would think this would be really good also for when you're with HOAs or school board meetings because sometimes when you're in those kind of meetings, you have a lot of people who really have a lot of questions. This is something that as a salesperson with a roofing or siding or exteriors company or commercial, you could really be able to address a full crowd.

Brad Finck: You could, yeah. Because it all comes down to setting that, "What's it going to look like?" So yeah, we've seen... I know personally, a quick story, but I had a local issue with my municipality where somebody was trying to do something that I didn't want in my backyard, and I actually used the tool to create what it could look like, and it kind of showed the community that you don't really want that structure right where it is, and it actually worked to our favor. So, that's not what everybody does, but it can come with a lot of different uses if you really think about how to apply it.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I would think for an HOA and community group, when you can look at that and really understand how it's going to fit into your neighborhood overall, very powerful. And for that salesperson who delivers it, that's a nice in as we're moving along-

Brad Finck: It becomes a credibility issue too, because you can really trying to explain visually what you're trying to maybe primarily explain on paper.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right. Excellent. So, let's talk about the MetalVue program. We have both been very involved in it. It is a great program that brings many different vendors together from sales training to installation training, lead generation, then obviously the networking and Metal Coffee Shop, along with other types of business growth and business support. But, one of them that is really key as we've been talking about is what Renoworks as a partner in MetalVue and what you're doing with visualization. So, let's kind of talk through that sales process as we are helping different, as we're helping the MetalVue contractors really take on metal and make more with metal basically in MetalVue. How is the visualizer fitting in?

Brad Finck: Yeah, it's a great question. As you touched on, I mean there's a lot to learn when it comes to MetalVue, a lot of players, a lot of very powerful tools, a lot of different procedures, training materials and things like that. So, Renoworks has thankfully been selected as kind of the preferred visualization tool when it comes to the MetalVue community. And, we work with pretty much all of the different manufacturers that are also part of that community. And so now, what we do is we offer really a couple of different levels of visualizers. We have what we call our enterprise visualizer, which is a completely branded, largely customized version of our tool that a lot of the larger scale contractors and the manufacturers want for their websites.

And, there's a lot of things that does. We give very detailed analytics on usage and behavior. We offer lead capture and of course all the various sales tools. And then, we offer what we call Renoworks Pro, which is something a little lighter weight, but it's something for the contractor, get it up and running quickly, relatively inexpensive. And all of the different manufacturer's products that we have created can fit into that. So as this fits within MetalVue, when you're ready to take on a visual sales tool, because as we mentioned, there's a lot of things in MetalVue from material lists to cut sheets to leads to the education. And so at the right time, when you're ready, and you're ready to take on a sales tool and a visualization tool, that's when we'd love to talk to you and really show you how that can implement with your business.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: You work with the other services there too. You've been with Grosso University on what they're doing, and they are doing training out there. And, Grasso is training on with their LMS system, they are training on what Renoworks does and how to incorporate that in there. Talk a little bit about that experience.

Brad Finck: So when someone like a Grosso sets up a training program for the contractor, of course they go through all the different various aspects of MetalVue, but one portion of that is how to sell using visualization. And so, when they're conducting that piece of the education portion, that's when they're using and showcasing a Renoworks visualizer. And then, how the various ways that you can incorporate that into your sales process in alongside all of the other MetalVue technologies that are available as well as part of the program.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Including EagleView, who you work very closely with.

Brad Finck: Including with EagleView, including SmartBuild is a good example, which handles the material lists and the cut sheets. So all of the different aspects, we all were brought in by Sherwin-Williams at strategic parts of the process. And now as we're kind of there as a group, now it's a matter of various points of integration to kind of maximize the best of all technologies.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And, I know we talked here about the existing product libraries. So, MetalVue has manufacturers, approved manufacturers, or I should say, I'm sorry, participating metal manufacturers including Drexel, McElroy, a number of that you showed on that slide before. And, you work with all, if you aren't already have their product in your product libraries, you're working with these companies as they come in to make sure everything that they're offering is available through Renowork. So whichever manufacturer or contractor may pick, they know that they can then work with you through the visualization also.

Brad Finck: That's right. Yeah. So, we work with, I would say, of the metal manufacturers that are partnering with Sherwin-Williams in MetalVue, I think we work with 90 plus percent of them already. But if there's ones that aren't and as new manufacturers get on board with MetalVue or possibly switch from a different paint provider and move over to Sherwin-Williams, we're there available and ready to build that library to categorize all the different profiles and colors and groupings as needed and make sure that that metal roofing, metal siding library is available to all of the various contractor networks.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And, it also includes new product launches. I'm thinking about Vicwest, they just came out with some amazing new profiles for the siding, include board and bat, a number of items and wood grain views. So, I think the thing that's great is sometimes contractors tend to maybe lose sight of what the manufacturers are doing and all the new things, but that gets captured when they are using this visualizer because they're going to see it.

Brad Finck: That's right. So, we work with the manufacturers as closely as we can to try to keep those libraries up to date. Of course that is, as you can imagine, it can be a challenge because everybody's busy. But, we try to have a close of a relationship as possible with all the manufacturers. We try to keep their libraries up to date, products fall off, profiles, colors are discontinued, always working with them to try to keep that library as up to date as possible to make sure that when you do access that library, it's as up-to-date and as close as possible to the current offering.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: So, let's talk a little bit about also how it works with the MetalVue program, if contractors want to have Renoworks on their site with Renoworks Pro. Did I say that right?

Brad Finck: Yes.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Then they can work directly with you as part of the MetalVue program, and you don't have to be MetalVue program, let's just put that out there. But, this is also something that's special within the MetalVue program. You talked about this before, but I want to reiterate this. They can either use their manufacturers, or they can have their own where they can, to Steve's point, really drill that down to what they want to offer. Especially when you're talking about big exterior contractors, that's important because you're trying to get all of your products and everything going on that front.

Brad Finck: Yeah, that's right. So, the manufacturers have always offered a service, and you mentioned a few names, McElroy, Drexel, Central States, which have worked with us actually long before MetalVue came to fruition. So, we were lucky that way where we had a bit of a headstart on working with a lot of these manufacturers and kind of had those relationships in place. And so, yes, what does happen often is sometimes the contractor or the homeowner will use those manufacturer visualizers and as part of MetalVue, they can do that because we already have that relationship.

But really where the advantage of something like a Renoworks Pro comes into place is maybe I sell McElroy metal roofing, but I also install Marvin Windows for example, or various other products. If you go to the McElroy Visualizer, you're just going to see their products. And because they're created to showcase their products only, they don't have windows. They don't have doors. They don't have some of these other categories by choice. So as a contractor who wants to maybe do a full remodel, you now have the ability to sign up for our Renoworks Pro, brand it for you, choose from the different libraries that you want to be inserted in that tool and then we can have you up and running in a pretty quick amount of time.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's great. That's great. We do have a question that I'd like to get to, and it's from Steve again, thank you Steve so much. He said, "Can I use drone pictures for the visualizer?"

Brad Finck: You can use drone pictures for a visualizer. In fact, really anything that is a photo or an image really, it's an image based, you can use it. So if you happen to take upper shots or street view images or that type of thing, really anything can actually be used in order to create that visual experience. So, the answer is yes.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And, I'm going to follow up with a question on that too. I know we talked about EagleView and so how does that work for contractors when they come in? Do they bring their own EagleViews in? Is that something that you're integrated with? How does that work?

Brad Finck: Yeah, so there's a few different answers to that question. So for example, we've worked with EagleView for a good number of years. And so what we basically do is we have the ability to take that EagleView XML file format, and when that's inserted into our system, we create that interactive 3D model really in a matter of minutes. But in that case, you're still ordering your reports through EagleView in that particular instance. Now, as it relates to MetalVue or Roofing Passport, the Sherwin-Williams brand, in that case, you're actually ordering the report directly through Roofing Passport. And then from there, you're generating a 3D model in what they call SmartBuild, which is where they're going to get their material lists and their cut sheets. But then, that same file could also be fed back into the visualizer to create more of a beautified image of that 3D model, kind of like what we showed earlier. So, there's a lot of different ways that EagleView data that in this case with MetalVue would be ordered through Roofing Passport can be utilized throughout the various systems.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And so, another great question, "Is EagleView the only provider you work with," and so why don't you answer both with MetalVue and outside of it?

Brad Finck: Yeah, today, EagleView is definitely our preferred provider. We've had a relationship with them for a good number of years and continue to have that relationship. So right now, EagleView, it's certainly the preferred aerial provider of choice.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: But as people are loading up their own pictures in there, they can also create...

Brad Finck: Yes and when I talk about EagleView, I talk about getting back to one of the earlier slides, the 3D model format. There's the 2D and the 3D. So when we create a 3D model right now, we do it through EagleView data. But if you want a 2D image, like we talked about the person's facade with their trees and their garbage cans in their driveway, that really can come from anywhere. So, it can come from a Google Street view image. It could come from taking a photo on your phone. And so from that point of view, there's kind of unlimited images that you could be generating from various sources.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Thanks. Excellent. And, I do want to point out to everyone on, we talked about Roofing Passport a couple of times. But, Roofing Passport is the estimating software that integrates with EagleView through the MetalVue program that basically will give you exact cut cuts for your metal. It'll give you pricing. It does full estimating takeoffs. It is an incredible piece of software to be honest. And so, you can watch past Metal Talks where we actually went through the Roofing Passport and also the EagleView functionality of MetalVue. If you're interested in that, there is a lot more information out on Metal Coffee Shop for it.
Brad, let's talk real quick about how to get started. Because one of the things, even before we just say, "Get involved with MetalVue," but even before that. Technology is scary, and it's scary for especially contractors that maybe haven't used it before. So before you even get into the tactical side of it, can you talk just a little bit about getting started with this and as a company, if you haven't had technology or this type of technology before, what should they expect?

Brad Finck: Yeah, it's a good question because I think it's like with anybody, as you mentioned Heidi, that technology can be daunting. And so, it's one of those things where it's all about timing. You have to be comfortable. There is a time investment there as well. And so, what we always recommend doing is let's sign up and we put our URL there renoworks.com/MetalVue. And so, that's where you can learn a little bit more about the Renoworks visualizer and how we relate to MetalVue. But, book a meeting with one of us. Let us walk you through the visualizer. We can do just like we're doing here, a half hour, hour web and actually walk you through the tools, show you how to use them. We'll ask you questions about your business. "What is the best way to implement it? How do you go to market? Do you knock on doors? Do you do everything remote? Do you have a website that you want to bring customers to?"

So, a lot of those things come into play on the result of what is the best way to implement visualization because everybody's a little bit different, and that's why we kind of tailor the solution to the need. But then, we'll walk you through. You can kind of take a look at it. You can see, "Does it make sense for your business?" We can answer your questions, and we can even set you up with a free trial so you can use it on your own. You can put it on your website if you want for five days and really make sure that this program is going to work for you.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And, we're going into the perfect time of year. Once we hit November, well, a good part of the country, not everyone of course, but a good part of the country has a little bit of snow and rain out there. So, it's a perfect time to do one of those trials, kind of walkthrough the demos and see how it works for your company.

Brad Finck: And, you're going to have questions, especially if you try it on a couple of real world projects. And, that's the thing that I always encourage people to do. Let's do it on a real world, let's try it on a project. And, you're going to have questions about certain facets of that building maybe that you weren't thinking about. And, we have people that can get on with you and help you through some things. We actually even offer a full, what we call, design service where if you want to send us a photo and you want us to prepare it for you, we do that as well as a service to our contractor clients.

So, we offer monthly training sessions where you can attend those almost anonymously as well. But really, I think the best way is get into a trial, get into a meeting, one-on-one with one of our people. And then, we will set it up for you. We'll set up the manufacturers that you want to see. We will put your logo on the visualization tool during the trial, and we'll certainly help you get it on your website as well. So even though we don't build websites, to the earlier question, we will help get the visualizer linked and launched from your website so you can give it a fair trial.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's excellent. One of the things that we hear a lot of times from contractors is, and I think just being small business owner, obviously there's a lot of very, very large roofing contractors out there, but there's also a lot of small businesses. And a lot of times they think that it's totally on the owner to have those demos to really kind of find out. But, we hear from technology companies all the time who really recommend bringing a team so that your salesperson's there, your estimators, your front office, your customer service, however that may be, to do these demos. What have you seen there?

Brad Finck: Well, I think it's good because... And if you can afford to bring that many people to a meeting, it's fantastic because the more answers that you have on the spot to the customer's questions. Whether it be the homeowner or the building owner, you're going to hopefully shrink that sales process down. So, if they have any [inaudible 00:52:12] questions on engineering, they have any questions on pricing, they have any questions on color or aesthetics, the more people that you can have and if you can answer all of those questions in one meeting, you can really compress that process.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Wow, definitely. We are almost at the end of our hour, so if you have any questions, please type them into the chat. We'll finish up with those questions. In the meantime, Brad, last thoughts on just why contractors should be looking at incorporating this kind of technology into their business. Just give us a summary after all this great information.

Brad Finck: And, I think really what it is just about how can you set yourself apart not only in a sales consultation, but as a business as a whole. So if you look at it, to recap some of these things, if you look at as one side of things is an extension of your marketing, some of the things that you're already doing, your website, your social media, your brochures, your trade shows, all of these things, you can incorporate a visualizer into all of these initiatives in order to enhance that overall offering and just set yourself apart from the competition and give yourself that level of, I won't say professionalism, it is really not that because you're all professionals, but just to kind of give you that icing on the cake type of thing.

But then as you can incorporate it into your sales process, that's where you can use it as a selling tool. You can set better expectations, shorten the sales cycles, hopefully upsell and command a higher dollar. Because now, what you're doing is you're incorporating the visuals into your proposals, into your presentations. And really why and this is the kind of thing that we train and teach during our consultations is, "What are you doing now? What do you have available now from a marketing point of view? Okay, now how can we implement that visualizer and give you some advice and set you up to best capitalize on using a tool like this?"

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Really developing a partner with your business.

Brad Finck: Exactly. Exactly. And so, if you look at it as not just a tool but kind of an extension of what you're already doing and an enhancement tool already what you're doing well, then the visualizer's going to be successful for you.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, that is great. That is great. Well, Brad, I just want to say thank you. This has been great. A lot of excellent information on, all of this information can be found on Metal Coffee Shop in the Renoworks directory. Plus we're doing articles, we've done a Metal Cast podcast. So, we're really trying to bring this type of technology to the metal contractors out there. Whether you're doing roofing, siding, exteriors, buildings, whatever it may be, interiors, this is the type of sales tool that can really help your business. So Brad, thank you so much.

Brad Finck: Well, thank you very much. Again, I appreciate being here and glad to be part of this initiative.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Thank you, and thank you, and I want to thank all of you for being on today. If you have further questions, you know how to get ahold of us, heidi@rooferscoffeeshop.com or obviously go onto the website, go on to Metal Coffee Shop, check out the MetalVue directory. There is great information in there about all of the services that come with MetalVue from Sherwin-Williams. But also, check out as we said, "Renoworks," see what that visualizer can do. You're coming into the perfect time of year to be able to make it work for your business.

Be sure to join us in less than a month if you can believe this for Metal Con. That will be the week of September 18th. It starts on September 19th. We will be having live Metal Talks, live coffee conversations from Metal Con in Las Vegas. It is going to be a great show if you haven't already registered and you can still make it, there's time and all this information will be there in the MetalVue booth along with the training zone with John Sheridan showing roofing and siding, and also as always, Metal Coffee Shop with our live sound stage. So, we will look forward to seeing all of you again on the next Metal Talk and at Metal Con Live. Thank you so much and have a great day.

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