Simple Sales Strategies to Win Construction Work

Implementing these few strategies could help contractors create a winning sales system that beats the competition on a regular basis

The key to winning more work than your competitor is to be more aggressive, make more calls, ask for the order and persistently follow-up.
The key to winning more work than your competitor is to be more aggressive, make more calls, ask for the order and persistently follow-up.

Selling construction services is simple! You could price every job 10% lower than your competitors, and you should get at least 80% of the projects you bid or propose on. Or you can implement a winning sales system that beats your competition on a regular basis.

Your company organizational chart is also simple. In order to build and grow a profitable company, you only have to do two things well: get work and build work.

The primary responsibility of the owner or President of a small- to medium-size construction and development company is to be the chief salesperson accountable to get enough work at the price needed to pay all job costs, overhead expenses and make a fair profit that meet your goals.

The chief salesperson must love to sell, tell people how great their company performs, and be excited about the hundred plus reasons why they’re the right choice to be awarded contracts. This energy can’t be delegated if you want your company to grow. And therefore, the owner must dedicate at least one-third of his or her time to sales, meeting with potential and loyal customers to generate more business for their company, and building customer relationships. And to make this happen, they need a good construction operations team in place who is 100% responsible to estimate the work and get it done on-time and under budget.

Successful salespeople do not have to be good at selling or cold calling if they have and use a systemized plan of attack they follow on a regular basis. Top salespeople have a lengthy list of target, potential and repeat customers who fit within their specific market and project type they want to go after. This list is focused on customers who buy or award contracts based on how you want to do business: negotiate, cost plus, lump sum, design-build, value engineering, fast-track schedule, or by being the low bidder.

Make those calls every day

Winning salespeople know sales is about numbers. The more calls you make will generate more leads, which will generate more proposals and then more contracts. When you wait for the phone to ring hoping your excellent work and quality reputation will generate enough qualified opportunities, you’ll never get enough work to make any money.

Start by making a list of 20, 50, 100 or 500 qualified targets you think might need the services you offer and are willing to pay you a fair price. Rate them by the potential to win their work and how hard it would be to get work from them. Also rate the potential to develop relationships with them which will generate repeat business and referrals.

Improve your odds of getting a sale

To get a high return on your sales effort investment, you’ve got to increase your odds of success. For example, a better way to get on a developer, general contractor or homeowner’s short list of bidders would be to get to know the customer first and then ask for an opportunity to propose on their projects.

Getting to know customers is easy if you focus on where they spend their time. General contractors and builders often attend local builder association meetings, chamber of commerce events and charity golf tournaments. As a contractor or builder, getting involved in these type of organizations where potential customers are involved guarantees you’ll meet decision makers. When you know potential customers, you’ll then have an edge over your competitors and increase your odds of winning work with them. This is much better sales investment than cold calling 100 potential customers trying to get on their bid lists.

Another simple sales strategy is to ask your current and past customers to go to lunch or attend a sporting event with you. Make it your goal to build rapport, talk about personal and business issues, and tell them you are trying to grow and expand your company. Ask them how you can do more business with them, and if they know anyone they could introduce you to who could use your services.

Remember, don’t ask, don’t get. When you ask for help, people will gladly help those who they trust and enjoy doing business with.

Simple sales systems that work

  1. Make sales your top priority everyday
  2. Make five to 10 calls per day
  3. Meet with at least one customer per day
  4. Look and dress like a professional
  5. Present like a pro with PowerPoint or video
  6. Ask questions and listen more than you speak
  7. Get to know your customer’s goals
  8. Sell confidence and trust
  9. Tell them what you’ll do for them
  10. Offer more than the minimum
  11. Offer more than your competitor
  12. Tell them you want their business
  13. Ask for the order
  14. Send them a thank-you note
  15. Follow-up aggressively again

Follow-up your bids and proposals if you want the job

The key to winning more work than your competitor is to be more aggressive, make more calls, ask for the order,and persistently follow-up. Most contractors submit their bids and never follow-up or ask for the order. The purpose for your bid is not to price the work, keep your estimator busy and hope you get a contract. When you wait for a customer to call you after you submit your bid, guess what? They’re talking to your competitor!

If you are willing to do what you know you need to do to grow your business, it will happen. Rather than being afraid to make a cold call, go out in your community, get involved in groups where you can meet people in a friendly environment and then get to know them well enough to ask for the opportunity to work with them and get a referral.

George Hedley CSP CPBC is a certified professional construction BIZCOACH and popular industry speaker. He helps contractors grow, make more profit, build management teams, improve field productivity, and get their businesses to work for them.  He is the best-selling author of “Get Your Construction Business To Always Make A Profit!” available on  E-mail [email protected] to sign-up for his free e-newsletter, start a personalized BIZCOACH program, attend a 2 day BIZ-BUILDER Boot Camp, or get a discount at online university for contractors. Visit for more information.