Those that know me, know my mind is full of what I often call useless information. Truth be told, is it really useless? We are all smart in our own ways—after all, starting and running a business is not for the faint of heart by any means and requires a broad knowledge of everything from accounting, taxes and employee management to understanding pavement and how to fix it.
I’m convinced that we each have our own stash of knowledge. I have learned so much, not only by my time in business but each year at the pavement shows. The question is, how can we use all that knowledge in our business?
Knowledge Aids Sales
Whether or not you consider yourself a salesperson, if you are in this business, you are a salesperson. Sales skills are required to run a successful asphalt maintenance business, so we are -- or need to be -- good salespeople.
But just what does that mean?
To start with, a good salesperson will know the service and product so well that selling is an afterthought. This may seem silly, but many contractors don’t have even that basic knowledge. That’s right, I can’t tell you how many asphalt guys I speak with that really don’t know what they are repairing, why they are using a certain repair process, or even what their sealer is!
But because we’re all salespeople, we can pretty much assume that we can sell something. A key to your success is what you are selling, and I’m willing to guess that you have a good amount of stashed knowledge in your brain you can use to hone your sales efforts.
How to Apply What You Already Know
When we are approached by new clients, it’s usually under a slight guise of potential skepticism. They want to trust us, but they’re just not sure. I think this is largely due to the fact there are many bad actors in our industry – contractors who don’t know even the basics of asphalt maintenance and who just want the job for the #lowbid.
Well, the good thing is, you can set the record straight! You can use your stashed knowledge to educate the customer, positioning yourself as the pavement expert in your market.
One of my first industry experiences was learning about pavement defects from the late, great Alan Curtis. His seminars were filled with boxes of slides of asphalt roads and their defects -- appropriately fitting for a “vacationing” asphalt professional. As I learned what caused each defect and how to fix it, I was able to increase my confidence to our customers. It wasn’t long before I could go into a job and explain why the failure had occurred and what was needed to fix it. Instead of being “just” a salesperson to the client, I had become a resource! I was providing information that none of my competitors were offering – and that they probably weren’t able to offer. The end result was a lot more work and more money.
How Knowledge = Sales
The bottom line is, through those first pavement defects seminars I gained better knowledge of what we were selling, and I was able to better explain the defect and repair options. I was able to convince the customer that we knew what we were doing -- and then we delivered. I continue to learn and refine my pavement maintenance skills – and this has always translated into sales.
Being a resource to the client may not be the biggest golden ticket to success, but it is close. Now, clients know they can count on me for an accurate, professional inspection. We’re not just a #lowbid company that just wants to mop sealer all over -- but doesn’t know why.
So, if you aren't comfortable with what you do, take the time to learn all you can. You can rely on the industry’s many educational seminars and even equipment manufacturers and material suppliers to start with. The knowledge you gain will help with sales more than you realize, and in-turn will help your business thrive.
Being a resource for the client not only betters the industry and gets you more work, it will help find a use for that stashed-away “useless knowledge.” It will help define you as your market’s pavement expert.