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Sales Steps to Win More!

Hedley  George

Most construction businesses have fixed indirect overhead expenses, which doesn’t vary much as sales go up or down. With a relatively fixed cost of doing business, the best way to make more profit is to generate more revenue or sell work at higher margins.

In your business, you need someone responsible to bring in enough sales revenue and profit margins from customers. Without enough profitable revenue, your company won’t be able to grow or continue offering services. With this in mind, the top company priority must be to find and keep high paying customers.

Many contractors grow steadily during the boom years by doing good work and relying on their reputation to generate repeat customers and referrals. A systematic marketing program is not necessary to generate enough revenue to keep companies busy. But, when the economy slows down, you won’t be able to generate enough profitable revenue to keep your doors open without a dedicated marketing and sales program.

Why Should Customers Do Business With Your Company?

Selling starts with understanding what your potential customers want to buy and why they should do business with you. You must be able to answer these questions with such clarity that customers will see the benefits you have to offer and the differentiating factors that set your company apart. Start by making a list of benefits you provide and reasons they should only buy from you.

To help you finalize your list of customer benefits, put yourself in their shoes. What would convince you to only buy from your company? Remember customers don’t really care how long you have been in business, your experience, commitment to quality, safety record, what other services your perform, or what tools and equipment you own. They only care about what they want and how you’ll provide effective solutions.

Only Sell to the Best Customers!

The best salespeople fish for profitable customers using the best strategies, in places where there are lots of customers who want to buy what you offer at the price you want to sell your services at. It’s hard to make a sale when there are too many fishermen trying to nab the same small fish with the same proposal offering a fixed price for a specified scope of work. What you offer must be different than what your competitors offer by focusing on giving customers exactly what they want.

The Seven Step Sales Cycle

1. Find Potential Customer Targets and Leads

Start your sales process by identifying past, repeat and potential customers who are perfect targets for exactly what you offer. Review your contracts over the last three to five years and create a database of customers who have a potential to be long-time repeat loyal customers. Next, spend several days searching for potential customers who need what you offer and are viable candidates for you to get in front of, and make proposals to. Compile your list on a database tracking software system so you can sort them by needs, potential, project type and location.

2. Implement a Consistent Marketing Plan

The key to any marketing and sales plan is to do it consistently over a long period of time. A one-time brochure, email, phone call or mailing will not penetrate potential customers and get them to want to do business with you. Determine how you’ll proactively attack your customer target list over the next two to three years. Commit a budget and the time required to develop an attack plan via in-person, mail or email contact.

3. Get a Meeting

The purpose of your marketing effort is to get a face-to-face meeting with customers who want what you offer. Start with a consistent mailing program to familiarize customers with your company and what it has to offer. Customize letters explaining why they should do business with you, and how you’ll make them money or save them time. Promise a follow-up call and deliver on your promise. If your offer is enticing enough, customers will take your call and want to meet with you. Call and suggest a short 10- to 20-minute meeting to discuss what they need and how you can solve their problems.

4. Get the Facts

Consider your first meeting as a fact-finding session where you’re there to ask questions, listen and look for ways to solve their problems. At this meeting qualify their potential for a long-time relationship, see how they do business, find out how they award contracts, look for ways to improve your odds of winning business from them, determine what they like and dislike from a contractor, and other ideas how you can set your company apart from your competitors. After the meeting, send a handwritten thank-you note.

5. Present Winning Proposals in Person!

After your first meeting, create a winning proposal that will entice customers to buy from your company. Answer their questions and offer solutions. The more reasons you give them to want to hire your company, the less likely they will be stuck on buying the lowest price. Offer to take them out to a job site or completed project to see your work and talk to one of your other customers.

6. Follow-Up Aggressively!

After the proposal presentation, you must follow-up at least every other day to show you are interested in working with them. If they don’t return your calls, leave messages with additional ideas how your company can save money for them. Don’t give up. You worked hard to get this far, so take it to the finish line. Send postcards, handwritten notes, photos or anything during this phase to keep your interest and company at the top of their mind. Your efforts and diligence will show you really want to work with them.

7. Create Loyal Customers

Getting a signed contract is only the first step in your long-term relationship with customers. Stay in touch often to ask how it’s going and how you can do more or better than expected. After the contract is completed, send them a thank-you card and gift as a token of your appreciation. The sales work continues as you work hard to stay close and build on the initial relationship.

George Hedley, CSP, CPBC, helps contractors grow and profit as a professional business coach, popular speaker and peer group leader. He is the author of “Get Your Construction Business to Always Make a Profit!” and “Hardhat BIZSCHOOL Online University” available on his website. Visit for more information.