Increasing sales in a construction business is tough work.
First off, construction is an extremely competitive field. Dozens are vying for the same clients and contracts you are.
Second, there’s a lot of money involved. Convincing people to part with a couple hundred bucks is one thing, but asking them to trust you with a full-blown construction project, quite another.
Lastly, construction projects carry a lot of risks and responsibilities. It’s not like you can “mess up and revise later” the way you can with other jobs. Trust us, adjusting margins in a Word document is much, much easier than adjusting a column in a building.
It’s an uphill battle, for sure, but it’s one you can win given the right strategies.
In this article, we outline four proven strategies that can increase your sales. These strategies have worked well for us and our clients, and we’re sure that they can work for you too.
The 4 Strategies
- Increase Sales In Your Construction Business With Smart Tools
- Align with Your Marketing
- Find a Niche that Works for You
- Upgrade Your Customer Care
Strategy #1 – Increase Sales In Your Construction Business With Smart Tools
The modern tradie toolkit contains more than just hardware. Whether you’re tech-savvy or tech-averse, there’s no denying that technology provides a competitive advantage in today’s markets, especially when it comes to sales.
Although we tradies aren’t generally known for tech, there are ways we can leverage smart tools (read: apps) to improve the way we work. In fact, there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of tradie-specific solutions that we can easily plug into our existing workflows. Some of them are pretty advanced, like this architectural design app that utilises artificial intelligence to come up with design recommendations, including which materials work best with your design.
For those of us in construction, apps can reduce a lot of the manual work we do on a day-to-day basis. If you need help getting started, we recommend the following:
1. Invest in billing tools that make invoicing easy to follow
Admin work is the bane of sales. Seriously.
All the time and energy we waste preparing invoices, writing down job orders, and, of course, digging for old receipts could be better spent selling.
At Tradiematepro, we automate invoicing, accounting, and even reports using apps. Our tool of choice as of the moment is Xero. Whereas before we would spend an entire day or two each month on financial paperwork, now we can use all that time to scout new prospects and pursue new projects—or take an afternoon off to surf.
It’s also made life easier for our clients. Instead of going back and forth via email, we track all our transactions on an app. We’ve since programmed scheduled notifications to let them know if an invoice is due or if there are any updates on their projects. It’s allowed us to stay in sync with them while freeing up our time to do more impactful tasks.
Everything runs like clockwork.
2. Invest in best-in-class rendering software
If there’s anything to splurge on, it’s first-class 3-D rendering software.
Pitching and selling construction projects is a visual exercise. Clients usually respond better to what we show them than what we tell them. We can’t understate the importance of visuals when pitching and working on construction projects.
Instead of talking about building a rustic bungalow with high ceilings and large awning windows, why not create a realistic 3-D rendering of it instead? Your clients might not always understand construction jargon, but they know they like something if they see it. If they don’t like it, you can always work alongside them and rework your design on the spot.
It’s a much better (and cost-efficient) process than going back and forth during meetings, or, worse, building something and tearing down. Plus, it sets you up for an awesome pitch.
3. Always keep customer experience in mind
Customer experience is paramount to sales.
Therefore, always choose tools that improve customer (and employee) experience. You want solutions that smoothen your sales processes, not ones that create additional layers.
Important questions to ask are: Does the software help me serve my clients better? Does it improve my workflows? Are my employees more productive because of it? Is the time and effort I save worth the cost?
Find tools that tick all the boxes and impact your bottom line. Furthermore, always distinguish between needs and nice-to-haves. Vendors will always sell you more features, even if you don’t need them. Stick to the essentials.
A handful of useful features are much more valuable than dozens of unused ones. Sure, a state-of-the-art AI assistant is cool and all, but how much value are you getting if you only take 12 calls a week?
Strategy #2 – Align with Your Marketing
Marketing and sales are often treated as separate disciplines, but savvy tradies understand that keeping the two aligned is key to building a consistent brand.
Coordinating marketing and sales is a lot like storytelling. A good story has a beginning, an ending, and a logical sequence of events in between. Similarly, effective sales begin with engaging marketing, ends with a closed deal, and contains a series of steps in between that makes sense.
That series of steps should have a logical sequence and should flow smoothly.
In other words, the road from the very first touchpoint to the final sale should be mapped out properly, and each preceding step should set up the next.
For example, a customer might Google for “residential construction in Melbourne” and get sent to your blog. The next logical step could be to offer them a free consultation, which could lead to a meeting, a proposal, a few more meetings, and finally a closed deal.
It isn’t usually that straightforward in real life, but it’s a good place to start.
Your marketing should always prime potential customers for a sale, and this starts with keeping things consistent. Everything concerning your brand—your marketing and sales collaterals, your company voice, your sales, and marketing frameworks and processes—should all share an underlying theme and structure.
If there’s anything we can learn from top brands in the world from Nike to Apple to Coca Cola, it’s that they stay consistent wherever they go. It’s the same swoosh, the same bitten apple, the same red cursive in any country around the world.
While you might not quite have the same global reach as any of those companies, you can certainly build a brand with a clear identity and personality.
Keep your marketing and sales on the same page, or, at the very least, the same book.
Strategy #3 – Find a Niche that Works for You
Young construction companies often think casting a wide net is the best way to start: “The more services we offer, the more clients we get.” However, they soon find out that most clients look for an expert who is excellent at specific things rather than a jack of all trades and master of none.
Today’s competition is tough, and, lots of times, the best way to win is to play another game and make your own rules. That is, it’s much better to find a narrow niche and grow yourself there than to compete with everybody else and hope to stand out.
Find your niche by asking the following questions: What is your competitive advantage? Which kinds of construction jobs are you good at? Which are you bad at? Who are your typical clients? Which fields have low competition?
Once you have the answers, work to establish yourself as an expert in a specific area rather than dabble in many things. In construction, clients look for experts, not dabblers.
Focus on a niche category like old house restoration or low-rise buildings. Anywhere with little competition and decent demand. Position yourself well enough, and you’re bound to be top of mind among clients looking for the exact services you offer.
Just make sure the niche you’re vying for exists. There’s hardly any point positioning yourself as an expert in tropical mansions in Hobart if there isn’t a market for that. Choose wisely.
Strategy #4 – Upgrade Your Customer Care
When we discuss customer care, it’s usually about hotels like The Hilton or tech companies like Netflix and Amazon, never construction companies. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
Great customer care is important in whatever industry you’re in. After all, treating customers well isn’t exclusively the domain of hospitality or tech.
In a field as rough and tumble as construction, a little TLC can go a long way.
One area you can focus on is after-sales service. A mistake many construction companies and contractors in general make is treating customers differently before and after the sale. While it’s easy to see why it happens—we always put our best foot forward when we’re selling—it’s never acceptable.
Maintain that same level of energy and enthusiasm, even after you’ve already been paid, and your clients and customers will appreciate it. And they might even send more business your way in the future.
Another area is communication. You don’t have to be on the phone 24/7 but keeping your clients posted on progress and responding to their questions promptly and enthusiastically shows them that you’re reliable and that you value their business.
Furthermore, it helps to have multiple points of contact with a client, so they can reach you at their convenience. If they’re on social, consider opening a Facebook or Instagram account; if they’re on chat, consider Messenger or WhatsApp. The more frequently you communicate with your clients, the faster you can build rapport—and rapport can help drive more sales.
When working to increase sales in your construction business, it’s important to strike a healthy balance between meeting your clients’ project needs and expectations and establishing your expertise. Yes, deliver what they want, but, when push comes to shove, you’re still the expert.
Maintaining the disposition that shows your openness and specialisation will go a long way in not only capturing more leads but also ensuring that your current clients will rely on you in the long haul.