How to Succeed in Construction Sales Even If You Hate Selling: Sales Questions (Part 3 of 3) I Ep. 52

    

This week’s episode of the Construction Genius podcast is the final part of the three part series called “How to Succeed In Construction Sales. Even If You Hate Selling.”

So far you’ve heard me discuss powerful mindset habits and key strategic considerations for construction sales pros.

I close off the series by giving you a questioning framework to use when negotiating new opportunities.

Success in construction sales isn’t about the power of your charisma or the shine on your shoes. It’s about the quality of the questions that you ask.

By thinking in terms of a questioning framework you will get prospects to:

  • Share basic background information and facts
  • Talk about roadblocks, pain points and negative consequences
  • Open up about their needs and desires

Your Next Step

If you or the people who report to you are responsible for sales, you might find the Construction Sales Assessment that I’ve put together extremely useful. 

It describes the five traits that successful salespeople in any field consistently display and you can rate yourself on those traits and then complete a short, simple exercise to help you strengthen any of the traits you need to work on. 

If you’d like to get the assessment just go to my website:  www.ericanderton.com/constructionsales

 

Transcript

ERIC:

[00:03] Hi, this is Eric and welcome again to Construction Genius. Today is episode three of our three part series on how to succeed in construction sales even if you hate selling. And today’s episode will introduce you to a questioning framework that you can use when negotiating new opportunities. And just one more shout out, if you or anyone who reports to you are responsible for sales you might find the construction sales assessment that I put together extremely useful. Head out to my website at www.ericanderton.com/constructionsales . Download the assessment, fill it out, and also take the exercise that’s included with the assessment and it’ll help you to focus on and strengthen the five traits that successful salespeople in any field consistently display. So hope you enjoy this episode today. Give me your feedback on this three-part mini series and thanks for listening to Construction Genius.

ERIC:

[01:08] All right, so let’s move on to the last part of the workshop. Now, the last part is a powerful questioning framework to help you thrive in a negotiated project environment. Okay? So let’s dive into that. Now, let me ask you a question here. Why do people buy things? Chat that into the box. Why do people buy things? They see a need. Yeah, okay. Need. Two needs. Okay, think about it some more. Why do people buy things? To feel good about themselves. Thank you, David, that’s a good one. So, the idea of pleasure. Why do people buy things? Desire. Okay, thank you Roland. Why? Because they can! There you go [laughs]. They need what you have more than the money costs. Oh, I’ll tell you Shawn, that is excellent. To feel fulfilled. Now, this is really key. Just going back to what you said there Sean, in terms of what we’re going to be talking about here in the next few minutes. One of the keys in a tactical approach is that you have to think about a sale in terms of a scale. And your benefits and the reasons why they should do business with you need to outweigh the cost of doing business with you.

ERIC:

[02:30] That is absolutely essential. So fundamentally, people purchase for two reasons. They purchase because they want pleasure and they purchase because they want to avoid pain. Okay? They purchase because of pleasure and they purchase because they want to avoid pain. So we go towards pleasure and we go away from pain. Now when it comes to construction services which do you think is more important, the avoidance of pain or the pursuit of pleasure? What do you guys think? Ah, that was pretty quick. Avoid pain. Yes. Think about that. Yup. Avoid pain. So it’s interesting cause I know that one of you guys is a residential contractor, another is a commercial contractor. Both of you said avoid pain. So that’s excellent. All right now, in terms of a construction project what are some of the pains that people are looking to avoid when it comes to a construction project?

ERIC:

[03:29] What are some of those pains? Schedule. Thank you. Missed scope. Yep, thank you. Okay, good. Schedule delays, rework, poor quality or outcomes. Yes. Cost over runs. Yes. Okay, excellent. Excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent. Let me ask you this, have you ever won a project or taken over a project when the contractor that the owner or the GC was working with was responsible for schedule delays, poor quality, cost overruns. Have you ever gotten a project where those sorts of situations were occurring? Yes, last week. Thank you. Okay, all right. Good. Good. Remember I’m not asking tough questions here. So you think about a construction, right? This is one way to look at it in terms of your tactical approach, when you’re looking at a project. These are great questions. Where would you like to be in terms of your project, whether it be in terms of the bid phase, the plan phase, the build phase, the bill phase? Where are you now?

ERIC:

[04:27] What are the roadblocks between where you are now and where you’d like to be and what are those roadblocks costing you? Okay? It’s very important that you have a tactical approach in your sales in terms of construction so that you can identify the roadblocks that are holding people back from getting what they want or helping them to avoid the pain that they don’t want. Okay? So let me just share this particular model with you. And I take this from the book called S.P.I.N Selling, which I recommend that each one of you read. And S.P.I.N Selling is an acronym. The word S.P.I.N is an acronym for four things: situation, problem, implication, and need payoff. So I’m gonna just break these down in very simple terms. We’re not going to dive into a ton of detail here, but I think you’ll find this very, very important.

ERIC:

[05:27] When you’re going into a conversation with someone where you’re exploring doing work for them, or perhaps when you’re presenting a proposal, when you’re trying to figure out what’s going on with a developer or with a general contractor, you have to be able to ask situational questions, problem questions, implication questions, and need payoff questions. And just let me say this. If you’re going to be successful in sales you must become an expert at asking questions. It’s not going to be about the power of your charisma or the shine on your shoes, anything like that. It’s going to be about the quality of the questions that you ask. And you must be able to ask specific types of questions. So, a situation question is a question about background and facts. Okay? So the size of the project, the location of the project. If you’re the subcontractor perhaps who’s the owner that’s working with the GC. These are all situational questions – background and facts.

ERIC:

[06:34] And I just want to encourage you in terms of situational questions, if you’re dealing with a savvy construction buyer those types of questions are boring. And so you should do your homework upfront so that you limit the number of situational questions that you ask. Okay? Because what you want to be able to do almost immediately is go from those situational questions to the problem questions. You need to be able to craft questions that uncover problems that that person has. Or problems that they may anticipate around things like schedule or quality or cost or missed scope. You need to be able to uncover problems and difficulties and dissatisfactions. This is particularly true if you’re walking in on an owner or a developer or on a general contractor who is already committed to a construction partner, but you may suspect that there’s issues with that partner and you may suspect that there’s an opportunity for you to win some work from that person.

ERIC:

[07:43] You need to be able to uncover those problems by asking very, very good questions. And you see what problems are is they are the raw material for you to build a sale. So if you can find out that there’s been schedule delays and rework and poor quality and missed scope and cost overruns, all of this is raw material to help you to build a sale. Because once you’ve identified the problems, then, and by the way those problems can exist in all of these areas just in terms of the build itself, once you’ve identified those problems then you want to go on to the next step, which is the implication. Now, this is very, very important. You may know all about the problems but you need to ask about the implications, the consequences, the effects of the problem.

ERIC:

[08:46] You need to ask “Let me ask you, what was the impact of that missed scope?” What is the impact on you of the poor quality? How have the cost overruns affected your profitability on the project. And implication questions are sad questions. So I’ll tell you, when you find out a problem one of your jobs in sales is to magnify the problem. Not because you’re a sadist, but you need to be able to get that problem cost scale way down in terms of the problems so that they will see the solution that you’re providing as something that is worth it to them. So you need to explore the implication of those problems. And in terms of two ways. Number one, the logical implications in terms of money and time and productivity. And then the emotional implications in terms of frustration and hassle and failure. If they are pissed off with their current provider, with their current contractor and they don’t want to work with them anymore, you need to find that out.

ERIC:

[09:49] That’s your responsibility. So make sure you ask implication questions around logical issues like money, time and productivity. And emotional issues like frustration, hassle, and failure. Okay? Now the next step is to go to the need payoff questions. Now the need pay off questions are the happy questions and they’re about value and importance and usefulness. So a question like this, “What would it mean to you if we could deliver a project that has zero rework?” And think about the impact that would have on someone. “What would it mean to you if we could guarantee a particular cost?”, let’s say. Or “if we could improve the quality so that you have a much more happier end users, what would that mean to you?” Those are the happy types of questions. And you want to cover those questions in terms of the logical costs and the emotional costs. The emotional and logical benefits.

ERIC:

[10:54] And so those types of questions are positive, they’re helpful and they’re solution oriented. Okay? So you not only want to find out the problems, you not only want to explore the pain, but then you want to provide them with the solutions. And specifically the solutions that you provide. Okay? So here are some questions: “How important is it to improve productivity? How helpful would a good design build partner be? What would be the impact of improved communication?” These are the types of questions that get people beyond the roadblocks to the end that they’re looking for. And it helps them to associate you with solving their problems. And that’s why you’re there. You’re there to solve problems for them. And then to add value. So those are the three steps there. The psychology of high performing construction sales pros, how to craft a strategic approach to each project and a powerful questioning framework to thrive in a negotiated project environment.

ERIC:

[12:00] So, it’s time for you to get to work. So what I’d like to ask is this. First, let me show you my classic patent quote: “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.” Let me just ask you this, type into the box here one thing you learned, one thing you’ll stop doing, one thing you’ll start doing, one thing you’ll do less of, one thing you’ll do more of. You don’t have to type in all of those things. But just type in one thing. One thing that you’ve learned or one thing that you’ll stop doing or one thing that you’ll start doing. Just type in that one thing please from what you’ve learned here today. Internal meetings or phone calls. Right on. That is excellent. That is awesome. Ask better questions. Yes.

ERIC:

[12:41] Let me just give you an application. The five people you’ve identified, pick up the phone or go face to face. Grant, thank you. Meeting clients face to face. I’ll tell you, I’ve got one of my clients, man, he’s a Rainmaker. And you know what he does? He gets out there and he meets his clients. He takes them to the basketball games. He goes out and hangs out with them. Meet clients face to face. Get to know people. Excellent. Anything else? Any other takeaways from here? More personal meetings. That’s great. Ask better questions. Meet clients face to face. That’s absolutely excellent. How much persistence is too much? Oh, that’s a good question. I appreciate you asking that. I always want to keep top of mind of people. And so if I’m thinking about the top five clients that I want to get to know, I want to make sure that I’m touching them every 30, 60 or 90 days. And when I’m in touch with them I always want to be adding value in one way or another. So I just don’t want to be showing up and begging for work, but I want to be in relationship with them adding value, coming up with solutions perhaps to issues they may have, providing them with ideas that may benefit them. So always look to add value and the more value that you add the more you can show up on a more consistent basis.

ERIC:

[13:56] Thanks again for listening to the episode. I hope you enjoyed it. If you’d like to gain insight into how you can improve your sales success, don’t forget to take the assessment I mentioned at the beginning of the episode. Go to www.ericanderton.com/constructionsales. Download it for yourself. Take the assessment. Do the exercise, it’ll help you to focus in on the things that you need to do in order to be successful in construction selling. Thanks again for listening. Feel free to give us a review on iTunes or Google or wherever you get your podcasts, and I appreciate your support of this show.

Podcast Reviews

Why the Construction Industry is Foundational to the Success of California | Ep 12

Malard

How to Win the Battle Against Silos | Ep 19

Pat, Glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate the feedback. I'll have some more episodes in the same vein, coming soon. Eric

How to Win the Battle Against Silos | Ep 19

Eric, really enjoyed this podcast. Extreme Leadership is one of my favorite business books. Nice to see that you are incorporating some of their leadership strategies into your podcasts.

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