Are you in construction or the skilled trades and looking for a way to grow your construction sales?  

No matter the role that you play in a construction company, you are faced with the challenge of growing your construction sales on a daily basis. Hurdles seem to pop-up out of nowhere. And most of the time they are just high enough to trip us up on our way to winning the race.

Typically, construction contractors face the following string of challenges:

  • We worry about construction sales and building a backlog.
  • Once we have the backlog, we worry about getting the work done.
  • Once the work is done, we worry about getting paid.
  • And once we get paid, we are back to worrying about our backlog.

We rarely have time to celebrate the wins. We immediately go onto the next item on the list. If we miss on any of these essential steps the stress grows. And we hyperfocus on solving that issue so that we can get the train back on the tracks.

Is the solution the same for solving each step? Sorry to say, but no. You have to build skills for each step in the business cycle.

Invest 90 minutes to help you build your skills and grow your company’s backlog!

Construction Sales 101

Sales are a critical part of a successful construction business. Without sales, construction crews would sit idle. This course discusses the 9 Core Skills that Construction Sales Pros leverage to compete for and sell projects in the construction industry.

The first step in the business cycle is to build the backlog. There is a critical point to remember when growing your list of signed projects.

The process of building a backlog never stops. You have to keep the process going. If your business signs work but then stops selling while you are completing the work, you will find that you run out of work on a consistent basis.

The construction sales process also never stops. It may slow down, but it never stops. Sales must be a consistent effort.

Sales is also something that everyone in the business participates in. If you are the primary sales producer for your construction business, you know that you are engaged in building a solid backlog of projects.

But did you know that your accounting team is part of the sales effort? What about your crew on the site that is completing the work?

Everyone on your team who interacts with your customers represents your company. They each have the opportunity to support and grow the relationship with the customer. And they also have the opportunity to negatively impact the customer.

How does your accounting department collect past-due balances? Does your foreman on your project communicate in a way that helps build the customer relationship? Each employee within your construction company can build or destroy a customer relationship.

Improve Your Construction Sales Results and Grow Your Project Backlog

Construction companies face daily hurdles and obstacles to success. Leaders who are able to navigate their businesses around those obstacles will help build stronger organizations.

Clearing the sales backlog hurdle is a major task for most construction firms. Maintaining a consistent list of projects in the sales pipeline helps reduce the overall stress on the business.

Knowing where your crews are going next reduces the stress on all team members. Your field employees are more comfortable knowing they have another job in the pipeline.

Accounting relaxes a bit more knowing they can project more cash flow. And your sales team knows they can negotiate from a stronger position because they don’t have to take a job to keep others busy.

But growing a backlog can prove to be much easier said than done. How can you grow your project backlog and improve your construction sales results?

Here are 7 Keys to Help Improve Your Construction Sales Results

Key 1 - Define Your Ideal Customers

Do you know who your ideal customer is?

No, this is not Mrs. Jones. She may have been your first customer and gave you a lot of referral business. She may be a great customer, but we are not looking for a specific person.

Every company has an ideal customer. What are the characteristics of your ideal customer? Are they residential or commercial? Where are they located? What size project do they typically contract for? How do they make their buying decision?

Knowing your ideal customer helps you prioritize your sales efforts. Not every customer is a great customer. The better you understand your ideal customer the better you will be in knowing where to put your sales efforts for the maximum return.

Key 2 - Pre-Qualify ALL of Your Leads

The phone rings. You answer. It’s a lead! Excitement kicks in. This is what you have been waiting for. You quickly schedule a site visit before the customer can change their mind.

WAIT!! How do you know if this customer is a good customer? Look back at the first key. Not every customer is a good customer. They may have needs, but you might not be the right contractor the project.

But how do you know if they are a good match? Slow down the initial conversation and pre-qualify them to make sure that they are a good prospect.

Ask some good questions. Customers actually appreciate when contractors ask good questions. Remember, they do not want to have their time wasted. If you are not a good match for the project, they would prefer to know before they take their valuable time to meet with you.

Ask questions like:

  • How will they choose their contractor for their project?
  • What level of quality of materials do they want to use?
  • Do they have a budget for their project?
  • How did they get your name?
  • Are they getting competitive quotes?

When you take the time to interview your customer, that also gives them the opportunity to interview you. Pre-qualifying your leads is part of the sales process. And it is as important to the customer as it is to you as the contractor.

Key 3 - Exceed Customer Expectations

Customers approach projects with a certain set of expectations. Customers do their research online. They look at images on Pinterest and shares from their Facebook friends and want the same results.

Your prospects come to the table with an increased set of expectations. They know what they want and are looking for a skilled contractor to help them achieve their goals. Expectations are high.

If you meet expectations at any point in the sales process or in delivering the project, you are average.

Customers don’t want average. Average leaves your company being compared to everyone else. And it typically leaves you competing on price in the future.

Customers who are truly wowed by their contractors become repeat customers. In order to wow your customers, you must exceed their expectations. But how?

A key to exceeding customer expectations is to practice underpromise and overdeliver.

From the start of a customer relationship you are making promises. You set an appointment to visit the client at 2:00 on Thursday, but you don’t show up until 2:30. The customer asks to have a quote back early next week and you commit to it. But other things come up and you don’t get the quote back to them until the end of the week.

Two broken promises. Overpromise and underdeliver. And each missed opportunity reflects on you and your company. The customer starts to doubt your word. If you cannot meet these small goals, how can you be depended on to meet the bigger challenges of running a successful project?

Underpromise. Be honest. Let them know if you don’t think you can meet the deadline if they put one in place. If you are going to be late, call them and apologize for missing the appointment time.

Overdeliver. Look for opportunities to exceed their expectations. Deliver beyond what was promised and wow your customer. Contractors who consistently exceed expectations build a backlog of work from customer referrals.

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Key 4 - Be Able to Explain Your Value in Under 2 Minutes

Remember newspapers? In the days before the internet, the art of running a newspaper was more of a science. Newspaper editors knew that they had only a few seconds to catch the reader’s eye. If they failed to draw them in, the reader would be lost.

Sales pros face the same problem when dealing with customers. Customers approach projects armed with more information than they have ever had before. They know what they want to achieve and are aware of the options they have. They are looking for someone to help them achieve their vision.

The initial construction sales visit is an opportunity for the customer to interview you as the contractor. Are you able to help them achieve their goals? Can you understand their objectives and the vision they have for their project? What value do you bring to the project?

Just as with the newspaper headline, you only have a few moments to help the customer understand the value that you bring to the project.

What type of skills does your company have that are unique to your business? Can you point to successful projects that you have done which are similar to the project that the customer is considering?

Success in construction sales requires the sales pro to be able to show the customer the value that the company adds to the construction project. If you are not able to show your company’s unique value to the project, chances are that the decision will focus on price as the primary decision-making criteria.

Key 5 - Define Your Customers Needs

From the first conversation with a prospect or client, the construction sales pro is learning about the customer’s needs.

Customers approach potential projects with goals in mind. They have done their research and are looking to achieve their goals. They prioritize their goals in an order of most important to the least.

Customers buy benefits before they look at the features or advantages of their purchase. For example, consider a customer who is purchasing a new roof. What is the primary goal of the customer? That they get a roof that is leak free and watertight. Looks is secondary to functionality. If the roof leaks, it does not matter how it looks.

Ask good closed-ended questions.

“I understand that you would like to remodel your kitchen?”

Follow with open-ended questions.

“Can you tell me more about family gatherings you will be hosting?”

Ask closed-ended questions to clarify the open-end question response.

“So, you typically host Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for around 20 people?”

Customers have needs. If they did not, they would not pursue construction projects. Successful construction sales pros work to learn about their customers’ needs quickly. The faster they learn about the needs of the customer the more quickly they can help their customer achieve their goals and win the project.

Key 6 - Follow-up on Your Leads and Proposals

Customers reach out to contractors with goals in mind. They are looking to purchase a solution to problems in their lives. Businesses that require additional storage space may be looking to build a new warehouse. Homeowners who are looking to provide housing for aging parents may be looking to add on an in-law suite.

Every customer approaches a project with a set of goals and objectives in mind. They reach out to multiple contractors to see who can present the best solution for the best price. The construction sales process is a chance for the customer to interview the contractor and learn how they can help them achieve their goals.

It is also a chance for customers to see who has the most interest in their project.

Put yourself in the customer’s place for a moment. Would you want to hire someone who shows a passing interest or maybe no interest at all in your project? Of course not! You would want to work with someone who has a genuine interest in being a part of your project.

But how do you show interest in the sales process? You follow-up!

But there is a process for following up. There is a fine balance between being professional and being annoying. Fail to follow-up and your customer may think that you are not interested. Follow-up too much and you can appear desperate.

Follow-up is different for every construction sales pro. Your situation is unique based on your area of work and the type of work that you do.

Track how effective your follow-up process is. Adjust accordingly to get the results that you are looking for. But remember that you must show interest in your customer’s projects. The more interest you show, the greater your chance of having a successful construction sale.

Key 7 - Provide Customer Support Throughout Your Projects

Remember customer expectations? Your customer does.

Did you exceed your customer’s expectations? Most likely they will refer you to a friend or colleague.

Did you meet your customer’s expectations? Chances are that you will be forgotten.

Did you fail to meet your customer’s expectations? Fail to meet your customer’s expectations and they will tell a lot of their connections of their disappointment.

Construction customers are not purchasing a television. They are buying a construction service or project. Their purchase is typically very large.

Large purchases come with greater expectations. Customers do not want to be forgotten after they sign the purchase agreement. They expect to be taken care of throughout the project. Fulfill this expectation and they will help you build a pipeline of referrals and opportunities.

Word-of-mouth referrals are a vital part of a successful construction sales program. Construction companies build their business on referrals and repeat business. They are the cheapest and most productive type of sales leads.

Staying with your customer throughout the sales and project delivery process will help you exceed customer expectations. If there are problems during the project, you are able to handle those issues and overcome those problems before they impact the relationship with the customer.


Success in construction sales is easy to measure. Goals are set up. Sales pros work to achieve their goals and build a backlog for their companies.

Achieving a high level of success is not as easy. Sales techniques must be practiced and developed over time as the sales pro builds their book of business.

Practicing these 7 keys to improve your construction sales results is a great way to get started in building your book of business as a sales pro.

Success comes from remaining consistent in your practice and application of sales skills over time. As you build customer relationships they will lead to other opportunities through referrals.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
– Henry David Thoreau

Invest 90 minutes to help you build your skills and grow your company’s backlog!

Construction Sales 101

Sales are a critical part of a successful construction business. Without sales, construction crews would sit idle. This course discusses the 9 Core Skills that Construction Sales Pros leverage to compete for and sell projects in the construction industry.