Profit with Pipelines: The Case of Roger the Roofer

Reading Time: 7 minutes

To those who didn’t know him personally, Roger the Roofer, sunburnt and solemn, was particularly difficult to get along with.

Though by all accounts a fair and generous employer, Roger was perceived as a brutal taskmaster, short with his words, and even shorter with his temper. 

He was not a man one bargained with, and certainly not a man one dared to cross. Roger, one might say, was a traditionalist by nature, possessed of an archaic sense of justice – thoroughly black and white – a healthy suspicion of technological innovation, and the powerful idea that somewhere along the line commerce had lost its way:

“Liars, traitors, and thieves,” he would say, “the whole lot of ‘em.”

There was only one person in the world whom Roger trusted would do right by him, who, come what may, would support him unconditionally and never leave his side.

This man was Peter, Roger’s partner and sympathetic sidekick. 

Roger had spared Peter from a troubled situation many years ago, had supplied him with a stable source of income, taught him everything he knew about the roofing business, treated him like a son, and groomed him for eventual succession.

Someday, Roger envisioned, the company would bear the name Peter’s Roofing, and Peter would honor the legacy of the trade that had kept food on the table in Roger’s family for generations.

The Struggle with Referrals

Peter, humbled by Roger’s favor for him, and grateful for his kindness, was accustomed to sitting silently and listening avidly, during Roger’s tirades on the sorry state of commercial exchange. But today, as the two ate their sandwiches in the valley of a half-finished roof, something was different in Peter. 

He was fidgety, visibly worried and uncomfortable.

“What is it, Peter, what’s the matter?” Roger asked.

There will never be a good time to say what I must say, thought Peter, so he said what was on his mind:

“Roger…I looked into the books yesterday. Business is slowing down. Referrals have dried up. Our pamphlet campaign was a total bust…”

“Oh…” replied Roger, taken aback. “What are we going to do?”

Peter sighed, heavily, but mustered the courage to continue.

“Roger, I think it’s time we start thinking about finding an agenc—”

Before Peter could finish his sentence, Roger had stood up, spat his ham and cheese over some freshly laid shingles, and stammered:

“Damn it, Peter, don’t even think about it! Agency! Under no circumstances will the Roger family be spoiled by an agency!” 

Roger was on fire, his words dripping with scorn.

“They’re vipers, Peter, vipers! Don’t you know that? God…and to think…”

But Peter could not back down – the fate of the company, and indeed his future was on the line.

“Well, what’s your idea, man? We need more business…”

“We’ll find the business, Peter – I’ll find the business, don’t you worry about that!”

Peter paused for a moment, thinking carefully about his next words.

“Listen, Roger, I know this is hard to hear…But, anyway…last night the missus was on Facebook…”

“The Facebook,” screamed Roger, “The Facebook! Jesus, Peter…”

“Just listen, Roger, please…” Roger, still shaking his head in disbelief, nevertheless motioned for Peter to proceed.

“So anyway, the missus was on Facebook, and she showed me this ad from a company called 21st Century Roofing…and this guy Mike, the owner, he was offering a free strategy session for roofing companies struggling to get new clients and, well…I talked to him…”

Roger’s eyes widened as if to say ‘How dare you fall for this nonsense!’, but Peter was on a roll and paid him no mind.

“The session was very…informative. Mike said we’ve got to get ourselves out there, we’ve got to show folks why they should choose Roger’s Roofing over the competition…I think you’d like him, Roger – he’s a family man, just like me and you, and he’s got good values: trust, transparency, and integrity…those were the ones that stood out to me…”

Roger was starting to perk up a little bit. “What else did he say, Peter, this Mike guy…”

“He talked a lot about funnels, Roger, and pipelines…he said that we can’t hope to succeed without ‘em…”

Roger had heard of funnels, for siphoning gas and pouring beer, and he had worked on pipelines before, of the underground variety, but he had no idea what these things had to do with the roofing business.

“What do you mean ‘funnels and pipelines’?” asked Roger.

“I don’t know,” answered Peter, “If I’m the best one to explain it to you, Roger. But Mike said he was available to meet with us today if we wanted to. His office is about 20 minutes from here…”

Roger, not without his reservations, conceded to the idea.

When the work day was done, and he and Peter had cleaned themselves up a bit with the hose out back, they hopped in the Roger’s Roofing truck and went to see Mike, of 21st Century Roofing.

Funnels and Pipelines: Overview

Not one for formalities, Roger picked up things where he and Peter had left them on the roof:

“Mike, in my experience your kind are all the same. Smoke and mirrors, Mike, smoke and mirrors. So tell me straight: what are these funnels you speak of, and what’s a pipeline, and why the heck should I care about them?”

Mike, who had been warned by peter that Roger does not mince words, merely smiled and said:

“Great question, Roger. I assume your process for customer acquisition has looked something like this: you do a job, and a fine one, for a client…you leave your card with that client and he or she shares it with some friends who need work done on their roof…a few of them call you…you go out, survey the scope of work, and offer an estimate…some accept the price, some don’t, and business proceeds as usual…Is that correct, Roger?”


“Well that, Roger, is a funnel – an old-fashioned one, but a funnel nonetheless. A pipeline, on the other hand, is the infrastructure that helps you understand how effectively your funnel is working. In other words, a pipeline represents a series of stages through which your opportunities – that is, customers and potential customers – must pass to achieve the desired goal, and typically, Roger, that goal is more business.”

“I see…”

Laying the Groundwork

“Let’s say, Roger, that we take your traditional funnel and put it online…don’t wince, man, it’s okay…let’s say we put it online – here’s what that might look like…”

Mike proceeded to tell Roger that together they would set him up with the social channels he needs for exposure and visibility…that they would create a Google Business Profile for Roger’s Roofing…and that they would create a beautiful, functional website that would serve as the HUB of all Roger’s online activity.

“Then,” said Mike, “with this foundation laid, we’d build out your first funnel…”

Building the Funnel

Mike informed Roger that they would use his free estimate as a ‘lead magnet’ to attract interest and that they would target, using a standard data service provider, only homeowners who had not had their roof serviced within the last ten years. 

Since Roger loves pamphlets, they would do this via direct mail, but on the pamphlet would be a QR code of which interested recipients would take a picture to claim their free estimate.

“At which point,” explained Mike, “they would enter the survey phase of our funnel, so we can make sure they really are interested and aren’t going to waste your time, dragging you out for work that’s never going to come through…”

“Once they’ve completed the survey,” continued Mike, “we’ll invite them to book a call on your calendar to speak directly with you…If they meet your expectations, you’ll go out, perform your estimate, and we’ll make damn sure we’ve got a follow-up procedure in place for those that you don’t close on the spot!”

“Interesting…” remarked Roger.

“So you see, Roger, your funnel now looks like this: direct mail pamphlet, lead capture via QR code, qualification survey, call booked, in-person appointment set, and business won.”

The Power of the Pipeline

“And what about this pipeline thing you mentioned?” asked Roger.

“Good question, Roger. With your funnel in place, your pipeline, as I suggested before, becomes the yardstick by which we measure how effectively your funnel is working.”

“How so?”

Opportunities, Stages, Status Updates, and Triggers

“You see, Roger, when people enter your pipeline, they’re organized in stages from cold all the way to piping hot and everything in the middle. Each person who enters the pipeline becomes an opportunity, and every opportunity has a specific anatomy: where they came from, what’s their intent level, how much are they worth, and, most importantly, what’s their status in the pipeline?”

“Go on…”

“With these metrics, Roger, we can do so many cool things…We can nurture contacts who haven’t booked a call with you…We can reactivate stale opportunities with new promotions…We can trigger automations based on changes in status…Like, if someone’s status changes from ‘open’ to ‘won’ we can trigger, automatically, a thank you sequence and, once the job’s complete, a review request that would look really good for Roger’s Roofing in Google’s search results…”

“Man, that’s pretty cool…”

Building Trust Through Transparency

“It is pretty cool, Roger, but want to know what’s even cooler?”


“We don’t do any of this in isolation. You have complete visibility of your pipeline at all times. You know how much potential cash flow we’re expecting from our efforts. And, most importantly, if something isn’t working, you’ll see it, and we’ll work on fixing it – together.”

“So it really isn’t all smoke and mirrors, eh?” asked Roger, baffled.

“When you work with us, Roger, you’ll see what good marketing really is – a collaborative process – no BS, no secrets, no false promises.”

Peter, who had stood by silently throughout the proceedings, was relieved when Roger softened, stood up, extended his hand to Mike, and said:

“I look forward to working with you – you’re an honest man, Mike. I like that. I get a good feeling from you.”

Mike rose, took Roger’s outstretched hand, and replied: “The honor’s mine, Roger, thank you.”

Before Roger and Peter took their leave, Roger turned around and asked Mike how exactly he was going to do all this – to Roger, the plan, though impressive, appeared otherworldly.

To which Mike answered: “Through our software, Roger, we can do it all.”

That software was referred to in this conversation as ‘Beyond Referrals.’

But we know it by another name…

Go High Level.



It is not uncommon for agency owners to omit pipelines from their marketing efforts. It is even more uncommon for agency clients to know what a pipeline is. Pipelines, however, when used correctly, serve not only as a data studio for tracking the effectiveness of our funnels, from which we can diagnose and correct what isn’t working, but pipelines serve also to remove the third wall between agency owners and their clients – a process which leads to deeper trust and longer-lasting client relationships.

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