I help an NPO from time to time. A while ago I needed to consult with an attorney. I had gotten a good referral for an attorney who was located Boston; this was my first time calling him.
When I got to speak to him on the phone, I immediately got these impressions: This guy was no-holds-barred, I’ll bill you by the second not the minute, full-on, fully focused, full speed, and I play to win. Within 30 seconds, I understood all the reasons why I should hire him and all the reasons why I shouldn’t.
Oh, by the way, I hired that attorney.
Marketing automation and revising sales strategies are two of the top construction industry trends. Old-school, traditional sales approaches often focused on couching your words (your truths) in ways that we won’t think will offend our potential customer. After all, we don’t want to say the wrong things, so we say what we think the prospect wants to hear but we end up saying the wrong things—because we really will never know what the prospect actually will want to hear. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Don’t be afraid to be clear on what you can do (or will do) and what you can’t do (or won’t do).
Never forget that the customer is hiring you because of what you know, not so much what you can do. If you don’t know something, you probably shouldn’t offer to do it.
We’ve grown to become very clear in who we are. In our business, we know there are more than 1,000 agencies out there who can deliver some form of inbound methodology. We’re all about sharing our knowledge and creating collaborative relationships with our clients. This means we listen, we process, and we come up with actionable items to solve. We don't just build and deliver things.
Our best customers are the ones we’ve felt gutsy enough to be totally transparent with. With them, we can "tell it like it is" and they'll love us for it, and we'll love them for being equally honest and clear.
Learn to Win at Relationships
Back in the day, I took some Dale Carnegie courses on selling. Those courses focused on the typical product promotion and air-tight close tactics. Times have changed. Today, selling is about relationships.
Today, your prospects will have completed (at a minimum) 70% of the buying process before engaging with your sales person (Source: Dale Carnegie Sales Training).
Armed with a lot of information, your pre-sale customers may not know everything, and what they understand may be skewed, but they will know a lot more than in the pre-Internet days.
To win them, you need to foster trust. If you appear needy, pushy, impatient, or salesey, your leads will run for cover.
One of the construction industry trends for selling means not “selling” per se, but equipping your customer to buy. You need to be the one arming them with even more information so they’ll want to buy. You need to become the expert in their eyes.
Here are some suggestions:
- Be available. Give away your cell phone number and encourage customers to use it.
- Create many touches. Once a customer engages with you, continue to reach out to them. And not with “are you ready to buy yet?” but “here are some additional resources that might help you.” See the difference? You’re being helpful, not trying to sell.
- Let the customer tell their story before you tell yours.
- Treat them the way you’d like to be treated.
Make Your Prospects Feel Safe
Yes, you need to earn the trust of your prospects before they’ll buy. But what will it take for you to earn their trust? Construction industry trends in sales require that you make your prospects feel safe. You are selling big-ticket projects, so your customers are spending a lot of money.
Your prospects have embarked on their own buyer’s journey even before they contact you. When they finally do contact you, the first thing they’ll want to assess is their confidence in your process. Your capabilities are not your process; your process is the path you use to deliver your capabilities.
You must build and stick with a defined sales process. In fact, all your processes need to have their own playbook.
For example, our sales process first includes listening. We engage our prospects in the same way every time. Here are the first three steps of our engagement:
- A prospect may call and say what they want. We’ll ask what they need. We’ll want to know their pain points, what’s working and what’s not.
- Then, we’ll want to discuss goals and current plans to achieve those goals.
- We’ll want to ball-park pricing within the first 30 minutes of our conversation. Why? We’re looking for a value proposition; we want the prospect to be comfortable with our pricing and the value they will receive.
Everything we've done up to this point is designed to make the prospect feel safe about talking to us. We're not thinking about selling during these conversations, we're thinking how we'll be able to help. Today, if you fail during these early conversational engagements, you'll probably not get a sale.
As our interactions continue, we’ll look for cues that we’re able to solve for our prospect and that our deliverables will accomplish what they need to accomplish.
At every step, we’ll try to anticipate what they need next and then deliver it. For example, proving positive ROI usually is important. So before our prospect says, “We want to be sure we’ll get positive ROI from our engagement,” we’ll offer to run an analysis on some numbers.