12 Top tips for people new to construction product sales
It’s really important to remember that you are representing your company in all communication to customers, be that verbal, written or face to face. Understand your company values; live them, breathe them and portray them.
2. Big Picture
So you have a big area. Your job is to get profitable sales for your company and for you to earn commission on those sales. Think big, focus on those projects, companies and people that will give you a better return on investment. Farming is essential to keep good customers on board, but hunting is essential to grow your business and your earnings.
Understandably you’re eager to get out there and get in front of customers. First think carefully about forward planning, plan as if you were paying for your own time and travel expenses. Keep travel between sales meetings to an absolute minimum. You will not be effective if you try to fill your diary on a Monday morning for the week ahead. Get those key sales meetings with decision makers booked three weeks in advance.
There’s no excuse these days for not researching your potential customer. A lot of information is out there and at your fingertips. Prepare a check list of information required. Any answers you can’t obtain before the meeting, try to get them at the meeting.
What is the reason for the meeting? Have in your mind three meeting objectives. What do you want to leave with? Achieving all three is excellent, but achieving one is still really good.
6. Pick up the phone
Don’t use email, text or social media to make your first introduction. This is always best by telephone, but keep it short and sweet, remembering that your customer may have a million things on his or her mind. You might want to start by saying: ‘Is now a good time to talk?’
7. Don’t pester
Do not be surprised if your potential customer does not return your calls. It’s not as if they don’t like you, more likely that they have more important issues to deal with. Be patient, don’t phone twice a day, or even daily; once a week is plenty to get that sales meeting you want and remember it could take months to get that. Don’t resort to email.
We’re all busy people in a hectic world. Once your customer has agreed to a meeting send them a calendar invitation as confirmation. Think about giving a call the day beforehand to see if your customer is still OK for the meeting.
9. At the meeting
Be prompt, but never arrive more than five minutes before the meeting. If being late is unavoidable, let your customer know. It’s highly likely that your customer sees dozens of salespeople a year, think about how you can stand out from the crowd. Craft your perfect pitch and take in samples of your product whenever possible. Impress them with the research you have done. Keep it simple. Don’t put down your competitors, focus only on what you’re good at. Don’t make any promises you can’t keep. Don’t be embarrassed to say, ‘I don’t have enough information to answer that question, but I’ll find out and get back to you.’ Keep it one hundred percent honest.
10. When to Leave
Brush up on your body language skills. Read the situation, measure customer engagement and close the meeting when you get the signals. Five good minutes are better than five good minutes plus another twenty minutes boring the customer to death. If a customer has a bad experience of the meeting, they will avoid meeting with you again in the future.
11. After your meeting
All information is good, but don’t make too many notes during the meeting. Take five minutes immediately after the meeting to record items discussed and note follow up actions. Follow all meetings with an email communication of thanks and confirm actions. Is now the time to send that LinkedIn invitation? Did you meet your three objectives? Measure your success rate and adapt if needed.
12. Don’t Panic
It’s unlikely that you’ll inherit a fabulous pipeline of opportunities. Don’t panic, your line manager should appreciate that it takes time to build a strong pipeline, sometimes it can take two to three years to convert an opportunity to an order. Your early objectives should be around activity and pipeline growth, orders and sales will follow.