Objectives In Sales
Effective selling is the art of attracting and retaining clients. In most cases, there is a front line sales professional who is the lead contact for the client pre-award. It is important to note the difference between
salespeople who just sell the final finished product (lease-fleet salespeople) versus those salespeople who are knowledgeable about the design and construction of permanent modular construction buildings. The salespeople that know about how the modular buildings are designed, constructed, and meet code requirements require a particular aptitude and attitude to be effective.
Sales Objectives Include:
- Building long-term business relationships with clients
- Getting the contracts and performing well on them
- Uploading the company's reputation
- Selling, planning, and marketing have to be in harmony. For example, if management has targeted healthcare as a marketing objective, the salespeople need to learn about individuals in the healthcare field ( including suppliers of medical equipment, doctors, nurses, etc.) and communicate the benefits of the construction company to hospital boards and administrators.
First impressions form lasting impressions. How a salesperson communicates is as important as the information that is communicated. In the modular construction industry, complex projects require creative selling, which involves modeling a solution to fit the client’s specific needs and thus promotes value over price.
Characteristics of Salespeople
- A combination of technical, administrative, and human relation skills
- Construction knowledge is preferred but not mandatory
- Ability to program and coordinate work on a daily basis
- An intimate, first hand knowledge of the major sources of modular construction
- Entrepreneurial instinct
- Superior written and oral communication skills
- Optimism (dealing with rejection; taking risks)
- Conceptual ability (seeing patterns or trends in unrelated events)
- Empathy and ego drive
- Accomplished in the art of persuasion (great storytellers)
- Patient, adaptable, and ready to embrace change
Behind a skillful front line person is a formidable back end. Given the changing requirements from project to project, the essential resources available from this group can help secure a project:
- Estimating Department
- Building Manufacturers
- Project Managers
- Material and Equipment Suppliers
- Site Contractors/Installers
The salesperson should take advantage of the qualifications and experience of this group including team meetings, site visits, and exploring material and system options with designers, manufacturers, and suppliers. Bringing these experts to client meetings can increase the salesperson’s position of confidence and trust.
The salesperson needs to learn as much as possible about the client’s business in order to translate the project’s aspects into service benefits. A consultative selling approach will determine special requirements and show the client how they will be met.
Sync selling goals with client’s buying goals by determining what the client needs, wants, and values the most. Establish who all the stakeholders are and their role in the buying decisions.
Once the client’s needs, wants, and values are determined, weigh some of these potential elements for the following design considerations: Code compliance, budget, image/branding, occupancy date, program requirements, sustainability, etc. Make the client a part of the team so that he/she is aware of the impact of the choices made for the project.
The salesperson’s ability to evaluate the overall site location for building location, obstructions, grade elevations, and site restoration is very important during the design phase. Transportation companies, installation/ set crews, design consultants, and estimators can be called upon to contribute valuable thoughts and information to arrive at the proper solution.
Influence the direction of the sale through creative strategies in design project implementation and financing. Find something that adds value or solves a problem that no one else has considered. Apply value engineering and constructability principles during the scope and design phases.
Examining Project Elements
The salesperson needs to have an understanding of the elements required to complete the project beyond the building design and construction itself. These additional project elements can include: site preparation, grading and excavation, foundations, transportation of the modules to the site, setting and finishing, utilities, and site restoration. Generally, modular construction companies, at a minimum, will include transportation of the modules and setting and finishing in their scope of work. The other elements are delineated based on the desires, abilities, and resources of the client and modular company.
Verifying Scope of Work
The optimal scope of work should be the result of careful thought and discussion between the parties. It should balance the needs and resources of the client and modular construction company. Scope elements must be clearly identified in order to avoid duplication or gaps. Clients may be looking for “one stop shopping” and see an expanded role by the modular company as beneficial. If the modular company has the experience, project management capability, financial strength and subcontractor resources, then the company will have better control over the project in terms of communication, costs, and quality. This could mean a better outcome for the client and increased profitability for the modular company.
Presenting the Optimal Package
The final proposal should reflect the culmination of all discussions, evaluations, and research that has taken place from initial contact with the client. Use a checklist to assign areas of responsibility, particularly when the client or his/her general contractor has assumed some of the scope of work. Review the project scope with the client and compare notes. If there are inconsistencies or objections, revisit them and revise the proposal. Be responsive to an unexpected change in direction. Try to identify any barriers that may be preventing the deal being closed. Sometimes they are not apparent, and have nothing to do with price.
Transitioning the Project
Transitioning the project over to the project management team and making sure the project manager exercises the same level of care as the salesperson is important for continuing positive client relations. Make sure that all information is available on which the proposal is based and that it is clear to all stakeholders on the project.