August 2014: Business Building

Words: George HedleyAugust 2014

Business Building

The Sales Process Is Simple

Selling construction services is simple. Price every job 10 percent lower than your competitors, and you should get at least 80 percent of the jobs you bid. Or, you can implement a winning sales system that beats your competition on a regular basis. Your company organizational chart is also simple. To build and grow a profitable company, you only have to do two things well: Get work, and then build work. The primary responsibility of the owner or president of a small- to medium-size construction company is to be the chief salesperson, accountable to get enough work at the price needed to pay all job costs, overhead expenses, and make a fair profit that meet your goals.

The chief salesperson must love to sell, tell people how great their companies perform, and be excited about the 100-plus reasons why they’re the right choice to be awarded contracts. The owner must dedicate at least one-third of his time to sales, meeting with potential and loyal customers to generate more business for their companies, and building customer relationships. A good team must be in place. Successful salespeople do not have to be good at selling or cold calling, if they have and use a systemized plan of attack they follow regularly.

Winning salespeople know the sales process is about numbers. More calls will generate more leads, which will generate more proposals, and then more contracts. When you wait for the phone to ring hoping your excellent work and quality reputation will generate enough qualified opportunities, you’ll never get enough work to make any money.

Start by making a list of 20, 50, 100 or 500 qualified targets you think might need the services you offer and are willing to pay you a fair price. Rate them by the potential to win their work and how hard it would be to get work from them. Also rate the potential to develop relationships with them, which will generate repeat business and referrals.

To get a high return on your sales effort investment, you’ve got to increase your odds of success. For example, a better way to get on a general contractor’s short list of bidders would be to get to know the customer first and then ask for an opportunity to propose on one of their projects. General contractors and builders often attend local association meetings, chamber of commerce events, and charity golf tournaments. When you know potential customers, you’ll then have an edge over your competitors and increase your odds of winning some work with them. This is much better sales investment than cold calling 100 general contractors to try to get on their bid lists.

• Make sales your top priority everyday

• Make five to 10 calls per day

• Meet with at least one customer per day

• Look and dress like a professional

• Present like a pro with PowerPoint or video

• Ask questions and listen more than you speak

• Get to know your customer’s goals

• Sell confidence and trust

• Tell them what you’ll do for them

• Offer more than the minimum

• Offer more than your competitor

• Tell them you want their business

• Ask for the order

• Send them a thank you note

• Follow up aggressively again

The key to winning more work than your competitor is to be more aggressive, make more calls, ask for the order, and persistently follow up.

George Hedley works with contractors to build profitable growing companies. He is a professional business coach, popular speaker and best-selling author of “Get Your Business To Work!” available online at To sign-up for his free e-newsletter, join his next webinar, be part of a BIZCOACH program, or get a $100 discount coupon for online classes at, email George Hedley, HARDHAT Presentations, 800-851-8553 Return to Table of Contents
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