Construction Leadership Insights

How to Succeed in Construction Sales Even If You Hate Selling [Part 1 of 3]

How to Succeed in Construction Sales Even If You Hate Selling [Part 1 of 3]

I’m not going to share anything with you here today that you probably haven’t already thought about in one way or another. There’s some key ways of thinking about selling and one of them is that there are no secrets to success.

Your Mindset
Really what we’re talking about here is the mindset that you need if you’re going to be successful in sales. It’s the mindset of high performing construction sales pros.

I’ve asked my audience to give me one word that would describe the right kind of mindset for a successful salesperson in construction. This is what they wrote back:

  • Competence
  • Confidence
  • Resilience
  • Positivity

All good answers. Here’s my take.

In construction you are there to solve problems.

You’re a service provider and you’re there to add value.
And you should keep focused on three things every day as you get up and go out to projects or work with your clients. Remind yourself: I’m here to solve a problem, I’m here to add value, and I’m here to outwork everyone.

Here’s another thing to remember and this is very important. Remember that you cannot control productivity.

In other words, you cannot control your outcomes but you can control your activity. You can control the things that you do that lead to the outcomes that you wish to achieve. If you focus on the quality of your activity, productivity will follow.

This is fundamental. You must get better and better at what you do in terms of your activity in order to control your productivity.

Your Client’s Mindset

People purchase from people that they Know, Trust and Like. This is where we can get even deeper in terms of mindset.

Now when it comes to construction projects and when it comes to building a construction business, of those three words, which one do you think is the most important? I asked my audience and they responded that Trust is the most important.

But in terms of Knowing, how do you get to know people? One thing I’ve found is you’ve got to get your face in the place.

You know, I think about the relationships that I’ve built with people and one of the reasons why I have relationships with them is because I got my face in their office. In other words, I showed up at their office and I made a sales call.

Ways to Get To Know Your Client

If you want to get to know someone you need to show up where they are, whether it’s socially or whether it’s at their place of business. You have to find out where they are even if its means being involved in the associations that they’re involved in. You need to get your face in the place.

That’s one way to get to know people. Another way is you’ve got to drop the ego.

We all have egos. I know I have an ego. But you’ve got to be able to drop the ego and make it about them because you’re there to solve problems and you’re there to add value.

So as you get to know people and they understand that it’s not just about how awesome you are or all the things that you can do, but you’re genuinely interested in their problems and in their needs and what you can do to build a profitable project for them, that’s going to really help you to get to know them.

And persist. I’ll tell you if there’s one thing I’ve learned in over 30 years in sales it’s not giving up.  You want to get smarter and smarter as to the type of sales activity you’re doing. But the one thing you cannot do is to give up.

And if you simply persist, if you simply show up every day, day after day, whether it’s in the selling aspect of your business or in the service aspect of your business, if you keep persisting, that’s going to have a massive impact on people being able to get to know you over time.

People are wondering, are you in it for the long haul. Think about all the contractors that are kind of fly by night, particularly in an economy where things are so booming that anyone can pick up work.

I’ll tell you, if you’re going to be someone who can build a long-term legacy in construction, persistence and showing up through the ups and the downs is absolutely essential. So that’s one way that you can develop a mindset of making sure that people know you.

Let’s talk about trust

Every one of us know the importance of trust.

At times it’s better just to start small because construction’s a two-way street and you don’t really know if a person is a good client until you actually spend some time with them. One of the great things about construction is you don’t need a multimillion-dollar project to get started with someone.

You can land a sweet project that’s right in your wheelhouse technically. But if the client doesn’t pay, if they’re a pain in the neck or if they don’t communicate, all those issues will cause you not to want to do work for them. Or charge them more for the work even if they’re a good fit for you in terms of the project type.

So starting small is a great way just to build a little bit of trust.

Showing up also helps to build trust. Are you Johnny on the spot when it comes to showing up? What you want to be able to do is be responsive. Whenever you get emails and whenever you get phone calls you need to be responsive. If your responsive, it’s going to help to build trust.

Make the client your number one priority and do whatever you need to do to show them that your responsive. That you communicate well and that you’re to be relied on.

And then the other thing is to solve a problem for them. Think about that.  Again, if you’re starting small you may just identify a particular problem on a project that you can solve for them.

You can bring a unique perspective. Perhaps you can be available to pick up some slack when another contractor has failed. But always be ready to have that problem-solving mindset. Because I’ll tell you one thing, if you can solve problems for people, it rapidly develops trust with each one of them.

Don’t Force It. Let Them Like You.

Now in terms of Like this is very important. If you want people to like you, don’t be like Donkey in Shrek. At the beginning of that movie the donkey wanted the ogre to really, really like him and he tried too hard.

Listen, you are the prize. Your company is the prize. If your company is any good it’s a privilege for people to do business with you. And you need to show up with that power and that confidence when you walk into the general contractor’s office or you walk into the owner’s office or the developer’s office.

Kings talk to Kings, so show up as an equal. Don’t show up begging for work. Don’t show up desperate. Show up as an equal. Nobody likes a desperate salesperson. Show up and be helpful.

Look for things that you can do immediately to help someone. Look to solve problems if you can in a way that benefits them without them having to give you something first. If there’s a low-cost way for you to help them, then go ahead and do that as a way of building up that Knowing, that Trusting and that Liking.

And be yourself. One of the things I like about the construction companies I work with is I don’t work with fake people. It’s awesome. I work with people who are just straight up. They are who they are.

But I want to say this – not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay. If you’re the type of person who can build a successful construction company, you’re going to attract the right types of people and you’re going to repel the wrong types of people.

Show up as an equal. Be there to help. And be yourself.

Every Day Is A Good Day

High performers in construction, they choose this.

They choose to get something out of all situations rather than complain about them. They choose to hustle rather than to dog it. They choose to be prepared rather than just show up. They choose to be consistent rather than occasional. They choose to be early rather than just on time or late. They choose to want to learn rather than want to explain or excuse. They choose to do more rather than just enough or less.

They are mentally tough instead of being mentally lazy or intimidated. They concentrate on what to do rather than on what may occur. They choose to be aggressive rather than passive or submissive. And they choose to know their limitations rather than trying to do more than they’re capable of.

They always think about solutions rather than worry about problems. They accept adversity as part of the game and as a part of life rather than magnify the adverse conditions and seek sympathy. And they choose to share with and help others rather than be selfish.

So this is the mindset of high performing construction salespeople. They are willing to build relationships based on know, trust and like. And they choose to perform at a high level every single day.

Your Next Step

And 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:

FREE Downloadable Resource:
Construction Leaders Dashboard

Do you lack focus and forward momentum? The Construction Leaders Dashboard is a simple, powerful tool for construction company leaders. Use it to clarify what you need to do in order to succeed. It includes: Vision, Mission, Values, Edge, Intitiatives, Metrics, Key Relationships,
and Development Opportunities.

To get your copy of the dashboard, click this link