As seen in the Tried & True Winter 2024 issue

In the world of construction and contracting, salesmanship isn’t just about moving products or winning projects; it’s about building trust, offering real value and forging lasting relationships.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting, here are some things to consider while navigating the nuanced world of sales in our industry. From understanding your customers’ needs and highlighting product benefits, to providing excellent customer service and staying updated with industry trends, these eleven tips are designed to assist you in connecting with your customers on a deeper level. Even the most experienced contractors can find new ways to excel in the art of sales. We hope you’ll discover valuable insights that will elevate your sales game and further strengthen our Fratco Community.

1. Understand Your Customers

Before pitching your drainage solutions, take the time to understand your customer’s specific needs and requirements. It’s one thing to know broadly what your customers are looking for. But it’s another to understand their mindset; knowing them on a personal level can help you tailor your pitch to what they need to hear. The “one-size-fits-all” pitch is easy to spot and is a huge turn-off to customers.

2. Focus on Benefits Instead of Features

It’s great if your widgets and gizmos increase efficiency by 40%, but what your prospect really wants to know is whether or not they’ll have more money in their pocket at the end of the year. Remember, features tell, but benefits sell.

3. Know Your Product / Service

Be well-versed in the technical aspects of your products. Know the different types of products, materials and installation methods available. This knowledge allows you to confidently address customer questions and concerns. The more confident you are, the more confident they will feel with the product.

4. Offer Custom Solutions

Offer customized solutions based on the specific challenges your customers face. Show that you can tailor your services to meet their unique needs, whether it’s for a small residential project or a large-scale agricultural operation. This personal intentionality can go a long way in helping a customer trust their supplier.

5. Provide Demonstrations

Take your customers to finished or active job sites. Seeing the products in action can be very persuasive for potential customers. It allows them to visualize the benefits and reliability firsthand.

6. Use Transparent Pricing

Be transparent about your pricing structure. Provide clear and competitive pricing for your products and services. Avoid hidden fees or surprises that may irritate customers. You don’t like it when companies you interact with lack transparency, so why should your customers?

7. Build Trust and Credibility

Share customer testimonials, reviews and references that highlight your successful projects. Building trust and credibility is essential in the construction industry. To do this, think of your customers as people first, and customers second. Each will have their own needs and concerns, and giving them the ability to be themselves around you will go a long way.

8. Focus on Excellent Customer Service

Part of building trust is also providing exceptional customer service throughout the sales process. Respond promptly to inquiries, be accessible for questions and be reliable when it comes to project timelines and commitments.

9. Follow-Up

Don’t forget about your customers after the sale. Follow up to ensure their satisfaction and address any post-installation concerns promptly. A satisfied customer can become a valuable source of referrals.

10. Network and Build Professional Relationships

Build relationships within the industry. Attend trade shows, join local construction associations like the Indiana Builders Association (every state has one) and network with other contractors, suppliers and professionals. Word-of-mouth referrals are still a highly effective way to make connections.

11. Keep Up with Industry Trends

This is something to keep in mind while you are building your network. Stay updated on the latest trends and innovations in your field. Sign up for industry newsletters or local social events. Being knowledgeable and involved with the newest technologies and practices can set you apart from competitors.

Remember that successful sales often rely on building trust, offering value and demonstrating expertise. By focusing on these aspects and tailoring your approach to your customers’ unique needs, you can increase your sales as a contractor.