Construction Leadership Insights

How to Succeed in Construction Sales

Five Ways to Practice High-Quality Business Development Activity

Would you like to discover a powerful insight into how to be successful in construction sales, and five ways you can immediately apply it to win more construction projects?
If so, let me tell you about what I did last weekend.  On Saturday, one of my friends invited my kids and me over for a pool party. I live in Sacramento, CA, and we regularly hit the 100s this time of year, so I was thankful for the opportunity to cool off.

My friend works in construction, and naturally, we slipped into a conversation about mutual industry acquaintances., I was reminded about the President of a General Contractor (GC), that I had met a couple of times in a social setting, but hadn’t spoken with for a while. So, I whipped out my phone, sent him an email with a link to a recent podcast I recorded that I thought he’d find useful.

On Tuesday, I was having lunch with another construction company owner.
I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, so when I am out and about, I make a note of dropping in on clients and potential clients, unannounced, to say hello. After lunch I decided to visit President of the GC.

I’ve been in sales of some sort since 1986, and I’ve made thousands of cold calls, so I’m comfortable doing it. Plus, I had just sent him a personal email a couple of days earlier, so I wasn’t coming in “out of the blue.”

I realize the President is extremely busy, and I wasn’t expecting him to come out and see me. I would have been content leaving my business card and a short note with the receptionist. My in-person call simply aimed to remind him that I am a potential resource to his company.

Imagine my surprise when the President came out to greet me.
He thanked me for the email that I sent him over the weekend, and we spent a few minutes chatting about his business, and the types of work I do with my clients. During our conversation, I wasn’t trying to “close” any business.  My goal in any discussion with potential clients is to get to know them and develop trust; to build a relationship.

The powerful insight that you can take from my story is:

In business development, you cannot control productivity (how much you sell), but you can control activity. If you focus on consistent, quality activity, productivity will follow.


Here are five ways to make sure your business development activity is high-quality:

  1. Identify your target market – right client, right project, right location.
  2. Practice personal marketing with the decision-makers. Make it your business to know what they are building, what challenges they may have, and tailor your approach accordingly.
  3. Get “your face in the place.” No whiz-bang technology substitutes for personal interaction.
  4. Play the long game. Patiently develop relationships with decision-makers in those companies.
  5. Listen carefully. Be alert for opportunities to solve problems and add value to your potential clients.

My call on the President of the GC is an example of quality activity.
I’m not sure if that will directly lead to any business anytime soon. But as I am focused on consistent action, with him, and other companies in my target market, I am confident that productivity will follow.

Action items for you or your business development professional:

  • Make a list of your top 10 potential clients
  • Find out what projects they have in the pipeline
  • Do some research and learn more about their personal interests, look for areas in common that can help you build a connection.
  • Make a commitment to visit them in person in the next 30 days.

Recently I developed powerful workshops aimed at helping construction professionals sell more of the right kind of projects.
I have 15 years of experience working with construction companies and 30+ years of experience in sales.  If you’d like to explore how I can help your construction company develop a strategic method to business development, and master the mindset and approach of successful sales people, let’s have a short (10 minute) call to see if there is a potential fit.

During our call we’ll discuss where your business development efforts currently stand, where you’d like them to be, and I’ll outline some practical steps you can take to get there. If I think I may be able to help you further, I’ll tell you what the next steps will be. Click this link to book that 10-minute call.

(Quick update) The President of the GC just shot me an email…
We are meeting for beers later this month. Never underestimate the power of quality business development activity!

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