Building a top-notch sales team can be one of the hardest jobs a construction or renovation company owner ever takes on. For most of us in the construction industry, working with our hands come naturally, but the art of communication and marketing (working with our mouths) not so much. Contractors often struggle with the transition from working on the job site to managing sales teams with sales goals and marketing-based projects. Have you ever heard the phrase, “The most successful contractors never swing a hammer”? Well, to some degree that theory has merit. But how does a contractor build a sales team that actually works? Here are a few helpful tools:
How to Grow Your Construction Sales Team
- Evaluate your company’s strengths and goals – If you are a one-man show, this won’t take too long, but if you have started the growth patch with a few or even many employees, it is important to benchmark your progress and set goals for the future. Get a pad of paper and write down the unique strengths that your company and your employees possess.
- Decide on your target market – Your “target market” can be defined as who you would consider to be the "perfect" customer. Do you specialize in exterior renovations like windows, roofs, and siding? Or interior renovations like kitchens and baths? Do you want to find residential work or do you specialize in commercial construction? It is extremely important to define your target market and make sure your team has a clear understanding of who a qualified customer is. “Qualifying” a customer means deciding on specific metrics that your team will use to evaluate whether a customer is worth spending time on, or if they are a waste of time.
- What work is the customer interested in?
- What is the overall value of the property needing work?
- What is the financial status of the customer?
- Is the customer interested in financing?
- Is there a possibility of upselling into more work?
These are just a few metrics you can use for qualifying leads. We will be discussing better construction lead generation techniques in a later article.
- Organize your hiring process – “Onboarding” is a fancy term for the process of getting new hires up to speed on the inner workings of your company. This can be a make or break for construction salespeople because it will set the tone for the level of professionalism you expect. Make it great! The effort you put forth will reflect in the level of professionalism your salespeople will use with your customers.
- Don’t skimp on training - There is no faster way for a contractor to get in trouble, than for a salesperson to mess up the contract. In Michigan, anyone who is working with the customer in the process of selling work is required to be a licensed construction salesperson. This includes passing a state exam. Here is a link to the best Construction Salesperson Exam Prep in Michigan. If you have multiple salespeople, make sure you contact this school directly for Company Discount of up to 50%. Trusting that your salespeople are licensed and doing their work by the book makes life so much easier for you as the company owner.
- Outfit Your Salespeople for Success – This includes both a professional appearance, as well as the support and sales systems they need to work efficiently. We all know a "Chuck in a truck” who pulls up to give a bid in a rusty old truck with dirty clothes and dip in his lip. This works for some people, but it does not lead to growth for your company. Your sales team should be wearing professional clothing and driving a vehicle that represents your company in the best light possible. They should also have at a minimum a clipboard and the standardized paperwork that they can use for taking notes, discussing the various services you offer, and organizing the job process for the customer. The most successful construction salespeople will take advantage of every organizational tool at their disposal. This includes the use of tablets, pictures, and even bid software.
- Keep the leads (and Cash) Flowing – A salesperson is only as good as the leads he/she is given so make sure you have an organized lead generation and marketing process in place. There are all kinds of ways to keep leads coming in, attending trade shows, and local events, even internet, and social media marketing. If you haven’t tackled the social media market, you NEED to check out the Social Media Marketing for Contractors Course. It could be an absolute gamechanger for finding the customers you want without laying out tons of cash on marketing. Follow the link above and choose your state to get started!