Construction sales get tricky, much trickier than sales in many other industries, and it isn’t because construction itself is more complicated than other industries. Most industries have a fairly specific target market, specified by age, income, location, or interests, the market can be narrowed and the sales people trained to deal with people specifically in that market. Construction on the other hand, is a lot broader. While there are some traits you can use to try and target specifically, like income, it really comes down to who gets hit with damage and needs your help. So how do you sell to all sorts of different people? You train of course! It might take a little more work to do, but it really just comes to learning how to deal with who.
So what exactly does that mean? It means knowing tactics for how to sell to older versus younger homeowners, how to handle a gated neighborhood versus a more normal one, and being prepared for all different types of attitudes that you can be received with, to name a few of the biggest problem areas to address. These are the most common disparities that can make sales hard because you have to be able to recognize and alter your tactics to be most effective for each group of people.
Young vs. Old Homeowners
This is one of the hardest gaps to figure out for many salesmen because younger versus older homeowners have very different mindsets and expectations. Younger homeowners are likely less familiar with the storm restoration process as this may be first time their home has been damaged by hail or wind, so they may need a little more “hand-holding” so to speak, and this is when your expertise can make a big difference. They will want to understand what is happening and why, so explain to them what your company does, how you can help them, and how the process will likely go step-by-step in detail. Younger homeowners are also going to be more receptive to the technology that is used in construction sales. They will have no objection to e-signing the contract, communicating mostly by email, and (if you use a Scoperite!) being able to get the scope report and pictures sent to them immediately. This makes your job easier as it will require less trips to the property itself, and more efficient communication.
Now, older homeowners on the other hand, are a completely different ballgame. It is more likely that they have been through a storm before so they know the drill, or at least they think they do. What that means for sales is that you do a lot less hand-holding than you would with younger homeowners; you will still tell them what your company does, what you will do, and how it will help, but they likely won’t want or need as many of the intricate details; it will be more effective here to differentiate yourself from the competition with your expertise, rather than rely solely on it to sway them. Older homeowners are a little different in terms of technology as well; many will still be fine with e-signing and emails, but some may be less comfortable with it, which means that you will need to do a little extra work and do everything on paper. While that isn’t a huge deal, being able to pick-up on that and do it right from the start will make them more pleasant for you to work with. The moral of the story is take note of the age of the homeowners you are trying to sell to, and keep in mind the differences from the start. Doing so will make it easier for you to close sales, but also to make the process go as smoothly as possible for both the homeowner and yourself.
Different types of neighborhoods can require different selling techniques as well. For very high-end gated neighborhoods, you are usually there because someone called you to come in (seeing as it is hard to get into those neighborhoods otherwise). This means that they are looking for an expert, who will get the job done efficiently, effectively, and leaving the home looking as it was before. This also means that it may not be the best neighborhood to try knocking on the neighbors doors to see if they need work as well. Gated neighborhoods are typically very anti-soliciting which means door knocking will make the neighbors and the client who called you unhappy. Instead stick a sign in the yard (if they sign with you) and give them some extra cards in case any of their neighbors ask who is doing the work on their house. If neighbors are out and about, say hi and be polite, mention you are doing work for your client, but don’t be pushy about trying to sell to them as well; they will more likely call you when they see what a good, professional job you do.
For regular neighborhoods, things are a little simpler. Obviously, you still want to be as professional and efficient as possible, but there is less possibility of losing business by going around to the neighbors. In these neighborhoods, doing some knocking at houses around your client can often lead to more jobs as they will recognize you, your truck, and see the good work that you have been doing for their neighbors. It is also typical that you are in these neighborhoods more because it easier to come and do your job when you don’t have to worry about getting in the gate. This means that people will get used to seeing you around, and will be more approachable if you try to sell to them as well.
When you are selling you are going to meet people with all kinds of different attitudes towards you and your business. Some will be nice, some will be nice but standoffish, some will be disgruntled, and some will be downright mean, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. To prepare your salesmen to deal with all the different types of attitudes out there, make a list of the most common attitudes you encounter and practice the best ways to deal with customers for each one. Being aware of the customers attitude and knowing how to deal with it will make your salesmen more effective, and more confident as they bring in business.
As a whole, successful construction sales comes down to being aware of who you are dealing with, and having the right tools in your belt to sell to all of them in the most effective way.