Construction Leadership Insights

How to Sell More Construction Projects by Practicing Situational Awareness

Just like Al Capone

When I go out to eat, I like to sit with my back against the wall (like a gangster in a movie), so I can see the whole restaurant, just in case anything happens. Some people may find that a little paranoid, but to feel comfortable I like to practice a little “situational awareness.”

Situational awareness is particularly important in a selling environment, and if you’re in construction regardless of whether you’re an estimator, project manager, superintendent, or even a foreman you are in sales.

Let’s look at three ways you can use situational awareness to improve your sales success as a construction professional:

  1. Adopt a Selling Mindset
  2. Lift Your Head
  3. Trust Your Gut

First, let’s discuss your mindset.

Not an ordinary project meeting

Let’s say you are a general contractor going into a meeting with an architect to discuss a project that you’re working on together. Before you walk in, commit to this way of thinking: “I’m always open to new opportunities.”

You’re not content with this project, but you’re looking out ahead for the next project and the next project and the next project.

Second, as you enter the architect’s office: Lift Your Head

Look around and observe your environment.

What other projects might the architect be working? Perhaps he has some sketches lying around or a business card on the table (from a competitor or a developer), some indication of other work that he is pursuing. A commitment to situational awareness gets you out of “tunnel vision” and opens you up to noticing subtle clues that will direct your sales efforts.

Finally: Trust Your Gut

The Worse They Can Say is “No”

As you take in your environment, you see hints of other opportunities and get the feeling that there could be other projects to explore. Obey that instinct, and ask the question: “Do you have any other projects I could help you with?”

The worse the architect can say is “No,” and who knows, it’s possible he could say “Yes,” but you’ll never know unless you trust your gut and ask.

Now, many sales professionals like to concentrate on their craft or are comfortable in an engineering environment, and they don’t want to come across as a cheesy, sleazy or pushy salesperson. I know exactly how you feel, and that’s why a simple commitment to situational awareness is so powerful.

Just keep in mind the importance of adopting a mindset of openness to finding the next project, recognition of any clues in your environment that could point to new project opportunities, and a willingness to trust your gut and ask questions about those opportunities.

In construction, you don’t need to learn “1001 ways to close a deal”. Instead, you need to be able to empathize, have a desire to win, welcome rejection, be optimistic, balance relationships, results and ego.

To take a deeper dive into these characteristics and take a FREE assessment to see how you measure up, go to my web site www.ericanderton.com/constructionsales

The assessment takes only about 5 minutes, and you’ll find it extremely helpful.

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