How to Succeed in Construction Sales, Even if You Hate Selling (Part 2 of 3) I Ep. 51

    

Here’s part two of a segment from a webinar I did called “How to Succeed In Construction Sales. Even If You Hate Selling.” You can listen to it on my Construction Genius podcast.

Last week in part one I gave you my observations on the mindset of high performing construction sales pros and the clients they deal with.

This week I’m giving you something for your sales strategy playbook. 

These are simple, yet fundamental, considerations that need to be in the back of your mind as you build new relationships or nurture existing ones. 

When you’re done with this episode you will: 

  • Anticipate and adjust for changes that impact your ability to achieve sales objectives
  • Recognize the three types of decision makers in any construction sale
  • Define how to improve your relationships with each of your clients 

If you’re short on time or can’t listen to the show I’ve had it turned into a blog post for you. Click this link to read it.

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] Welcome to Construction Genius. This is Eric Anderton and this is episode two in the three part mini series on how to succeed in construction sales even if you hate selling. And today we’re going to be looking at a sales strategy that you can use when pursuing new projects and courting new clients. And specifically we’re going to dive into the importance of identifying sales objectives. How change impacts your ability to achieve your sales objectives. And three types of decision makers in any construction sale and how to identify them. Keep in mind if you or anyone who reports to you is responsible for sales you might find the construction sales assessment that I’ve put together extremely useful. Just go to my website www.ericanderton.com/constructionsales . You can download the assessment and also take a short exercise to help you to strengthen the five traits that successful salespeople in any field consistently display. I appreciate you listening to the show. Feel free to give me feedback on the value that you’re getting from these episodes and enjoy this episode on sales strategy.

ERIC:

[01:33] So the second thing we want to take a look at, and this is really the heart of what I want to share with you here today, is how to craft a strategic approach to each project you pursue so you know exactly where you stand. So I really want you to pay some attention here. Grab that notebook, grab that piece of paper, here we go. Now you’ve already made a list of your top five clients or potential clients. I want you to pick one okay? Just pick one of those top five. When you’ve got one please chat the number one into the box. Chat the number one. Grant, thank you. I just want to make sure you’ve got that one. Okay Sean, thank you. Neil, thank you. Okay, Dave. Appreciate that. Okay, now you’ve got that one.

ERIC:

[02:25] Thank you, yes Eric that’s good. That’s good. Okay. Now, you’ve picked that account and I want you to ask yourself something about that one. Can you think of something that might be slightly off in that one account? Slightly off. Think about that for a moment. Something that you’re a little bit unsure about. Okay? And if you’re not unsure about anything about the one that you’ve already picked, pick one that you’re a little bit unsure of. So if you can think of something that is slightly off about the one that you’ve picked, just type the word off into the chat box. Off, Sean, thank you. Good, excellent. Eric, thank you. Off? Good, good, good. Okay, good. Very important here. And think back to that scale from euphoria to panic that I shared with you and think about what’s slightly off there.

ERIC:

[03:21] Now let’s dive into it a little bit. Typically what causes things to be slightly off in a client or a potential client that we’re pursuing is some kind of change. A change that has caused something to shift in my relationship with that client or in their particular circumstances. Okay, now think about that for a moment. I’d like you to think about some changes that may have happened in that particular client. So if you can think of some changes just type the word changes into the box. If you can think of some changes that are making you feel like something is slightly off just type that word changes please. Eric, excellent. Okay, that’s excellent. Okay, now think about this in terms of changes that might be occurring.

 

ERIC:

[04:15] Let’s think about some examples of changes. If there’s a change that has occurred in an account can one of you type in, in one word or two words, something about what kind of a change might occur? Just type that in. I’ll protect the identity of everyone here but I’m just curious of what kind of changes are you seeing that might be impacting your feeling. Staff on the project, okay, thank you, thank you for that. What else are some, some changes that might be impacting the way you feel about that particular client.

ERIC:

[04:50] Yes, that’s excellent. The way they make decisions. Ah, the decision making process may have changed. That’s very interesting. What else? What are some other changes? What are some changes that are occurring that are making you feel uneasy? Who’s making the decision? This is great. Okay, so we have one about the process of decision making. We have another one about the person who’s making the decision. And let me say this… their management, that’s good. Now I want to just share this with you. In any sale that’s complex, you have three types of decision makers. You have the user decision maker, you have the technical decision maker, and you have the final money decision maker. And if you’re going to be successful in construction sales, you have to be good at selling to all of those types of buyers. Okay? And you have to understand that sometimes one person plays more than one role.

ERIC:

[05:53] But if you think about it, let’s say you’re selling a project to a general contractor. I know we have some subs on the line here. Now think about superintendent of that general contractor who’s going to be running that project. He’s the user buyer. And if he hates you, he’s not going to want to work with you. And so you’ve got to think about, every time you approach a project, “Who are my user buyers, who are my technical buyers and who is my cash money buyer?” Okay? That’s very, very important. Now let’s think a little bit more about the changes. The changes that could occur in a project include something that’s a sudden change, right? A circumstantial change. Perhaps someone quits, someone moves, someone gets fired – there’s a circumstantial change that just happens quickly. Another kind of change is a gradual change. Hey, think about this. There’s a gradual erosion of your relationship over time. Perhaps you’re on a project with them at the moment and it’s going okay, but it’s not going great and you can just tell that that that relationship is deteriorating a little bit and perhaps they won’t be so open to working with you on their next project. So maybe that erosion is making you feel a little bit uneasy.

ERIC:

[07:02] And then there’s the positive changes. Perhaps they’re in a growth mode. Perhaps they’re picking up projects all over the place and they’re really wanting to work with you in a more engaged way. So not all changes are negative. Some of them are positive. And so what you’ve got to be able to do is when you look at those changes you’ve got to ask this: are these opportunities or are they threats? So what I’d like you to do is just type into the box. When you think about the changes in that one client that make you feel a little uneasy or are changing the dynamic of your relationship, just type in whether it’s an opportunity or a threat. Just type that into the box please.

ERIC:

[07:50] Awesome, opportunity, that’s great. Opportunity. Opportunity. Excellent. Excellent. I have one threat, but I’ve got lots of opportunities. Okay, that’s good. It’s good to have that positive mindset because that’s one thing, I’ll tell you, even in construction where sometimes we fall short and things don’t go exactly well the way that we want them to on a project, right there is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to fix it. It’s an opportunity to regain trust and to even build trust as we fix the problems and the challenges that we have. So, step one is to identify one of your key clients. Step two is to think about the changes that are occurring that might make you feel uneasy. Step three is to really ask what are those changes. Are they a sudden change, is it a gradual erosion, is it a growth change? And then step four is to ask, is this a threat or an opportunity?

ERIC:

[08:39] Okay? This is a strategic approach to looking at a particular client. Now, you take that one client and you’ve got to ask this now. What’s your next step with that one client? Okay? Now each one of you ask yourself this question. With that one client, what are you selling at this particular point? What’s your next sales objective with that one client? Now, think about that for a moment. The second thing you’ve got to ask is this. By when will that sales objective be accomplished and then how much will that sales objective get me? What is the dollar amount that I will gain as a result of achieving that sales objective? Now, sometimes in the construction process, because it’s so long and so complex, you can’t always tie a dollar amount to a particular sales objective. So let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.

ERIC:

[09:40] You may be developing a relationship with a contractor, a developer, or an owner, and your sales objective may simply be to take the decision maker out for lunch in the next 30 days to get to know them. Now, that is a sales objective because it may not be signing on the bottom line for a particular project, but it is a step in the sales process that ultimately leads to developing a relationship, which leads to doing business together. Okay? So when you think of that one client that you’re considering, when you think about the changes that are occurring, what’s your next step? So what I’d like you to do is if you can just type in what you think your next step with that particular client should be. In a word or two, just type in what you think your next step should be.

ERIC:

[10:48] All right. Pick up the phone and make a phone call. Yep. Illustrate how we can bring solutions to the construction process. Excellent. Yep. This is really great. Call the project manager. Uhuh. Meet with the superintendent. I’ll tell you that’s a really good one there. Again, the superintendent of the general contractor is the user buyer and if you need to develop a relationship with him, you’ve got to get out there and do whatever you can. Develop a relationship with the new VP. That’s excellent. The new VP comes in, perhaps he’s looking or she’s looking to make a name for themselves and they’re looking to do things differently. That could be a threat to you, it could be an opportunity, but you want to identify your next step in terms of your selling process. And don’t be afraid to get very micro about your next step. Just don’t think in terms of I need to get a deal or I want to win that project, you know, six to 12 months from now. Think in terms of what’s my next step in the next week, two weeks, three weeks, 30 days.

ERIC:

[11:35] That can really help you to make incremental progress in building relationships with people because that’s what construction is all about, is that incremental progress, building relationships. Now think about this. As you think about that one client that we’ve been talking about here again, that one client, let me ask you as you go through that strategic process. How do you feel about that one client? Just type that word in again. Look at the spectrum and type in one word for me of how you feel about that one client that you’ve been thinking about just over the last 15 minutes or so. Secure, that’s good. Hopeful, hopeful, interesting. Hopeful. Comfort, that’s good. If you’re feeling hopeful, that’s a good thing. You want to really be confirming those hopes, right? There’s an old saying hope deferred makes the heart sick, right? And so if you’re hopeful you want to do everything you can to confirm those hopes. If you’re feeling okay, there’s obviously some work to do there. So I appreciate you sharing that.

ERIC:

[12:37] And the thing that you want to do is whatever it is that you feel you want to do the hard work necessary to find out the truth. So don’t make an assumption, but do the hard work. And in construction sales how would you describe the hard work that you have to do in order to find out the truth? What’s the hard work that you have to do? How would you describe that hard work? What is the thing that you have to do to find out the truth in construction? What would you guys say? What’s the one thing you have to do to find out? Follow up, yup thank you. Ask good questions, thank you.

ERIC:

[13:25] I’ll tell you, this is absolutely essential. Construction is a communication business from beginning to end – communication, communication. And if you’re going to be successful… see if they give you feedback, yes. You’ve got to get feedback. You’ve got to follow up. You’ve got to ask questions. You’ve got to identify who’s the money buyer? Who’s the user buyer? Who’s the technical buyer? Who do I need to talk to? Who do I need to develop a relationship with? Follow up, ask good questions, get feedback. All of these things are absolutely excellent. Okay, so with that strategic perspective in mind, what you want to be able to do with that one particular person – again, and these are just some suggestions – and that one particular account, you want to make phone calls. Maybe you need to get together as a team and brainstorm about how you’re going to approach the project. I know one client I recently worked with, their VP just didn’t have a good relationship with one particular client and so they brought someone else in to develop that relationship. And then you also want to perhaps go face to face. One of the most powerful things you can do in our culture is actually have a face to face conversation because we’re so hooked into technology that we missed that. And there’s nothing like a drive out to the job site. Or going belly to belly at the office. Or going out for coffee, going out for drinks. Whatever the case is, face to face is an excellent way to develop the relationships and to find out the truth.

ERIC:

[14:43] 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.

 

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Malard

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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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