Blog for Building Materials Companies

6 Ways to Become a Better Building Materials Salesperson

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6 Ways to Become a Better Building Materials Salesperson

Becoming a great salesperson takes work. Even people with a knack for selling still have to hone their skills, learn new techniques and field test different strategies. The best salespeople aren’t naturally gifted – they’re the ones who never stop growing and improving.

There’s an art and a science to becoming a better salesperson. The art is knowing how to communicate with customers in a way that is persuasive without being pushy. The science is getting an understanding of how the market works and keeping up with the changes in it.

That’s the big picture, but let’s zoom in and take a closer look at what steps you can take to master both of these aspects of selling and grow your sales.

Know Your Products Inside and Out

Your customers are protective of their time. They have too little of it already and don’t appreciate feeling like it’s being wasted.

Unfortunately, that’s what I hear from a lot of builders, contractors, and architects. They often leave a meeting with a sales rep feeling like they got little to nothing out of it. It’s a stretch of precious time they’ll never get back.

That’s why you need to bring something to the table. At the very least, you need to really know the product you’re selling. You should be able to answer every question the customer throws at you, provide product suggestions based on their challenges and boil things down to the details that matter most to them.

Customers don’t want sales reps to be walking product catalogs. They want them to be experts who can help them solve problems and tell them things about the product that go beyond the surface level details.

So, take the time to study your products. Ask existing customers what it’s like to use them and what features matter most to them. Make sure you are familiar with the installation process. That way, you’ll be able to bring valuable insights and information to your customers, not just a sales pitch.

Be Passionate About Your Product

You can’t sell a product you don’t believe in. You can try, but customers are savvy – they can tell when you’re bullshitting them.

You can’t fake passion and enthusiasm. You can give your customers a spiel, but you can’t make them want the product unless you truly believe in the value of that product.

If you’re selling a great product, that passion should come naturally. If your enthusiasm needs a boost, get reacquainted with the product. Compare it to the alternatives offered by the competition to see what it does better. Ask customers about their experiences with it and what problems it helped them solve. When you see how your product benefits people, you’ll be able to bring that positive energy to your sales calls.

Get to Know Your Customer

Customer research is an incredibly important sales tool. You can’t sell to your customers unless you understand how their business works, which problems are their top priority and what goals they hope to achieve.

Understanding your customer helps you communicate and collaborate with them. It also helps you work with your team to develop a big picture approach to selling them, which can include:

  • Targeted marketing campaigns that truly resonate with your customers
  • Improved product development that is specifically geared to addressing your customers’ pain points and implementing key features they desire from building materials products
  • Customer service that is more personalized and better suited to the customer’s needs
  • Inventory management that lines up with your customers’ buying patterns and preferences, so the products they need most are in stock, available and ship out to them without delay
  • Pricing strategies that reflect your customers’ price sensitivity and potential financial needs (for instance, at the start of the pandemic several manufacturers offered extended payment terms, expanded financing options and free delivery)

Adopt New Technology

Some salespeople are hesitant to change the way they do things. Their approach has worked for them so far, so they’re convinced that new software systems and the techniques that come with them would just slow them down or get in the way of really selling.

In reality, sales software lets you do more of what you do best. It automates many of the tedious tasks that stand in the way of you communicating directly with the customer.

Sales software allows you to qualify leads so you don’t waste time chasing down prospects who have little need for your product. It helps you stay on top of follow ups so you never let leads go cold. It clears up a lot of your mundane tasks so you can focus on the one that really matters – building relationships with your customers.

Treat Every Setback as an Opportunity

When you lose a customer, can’t close a sale, or struggle to get a prospect’s attention, it’s natural to want to shake it off and move on. But if you want to really improve as a salesperson, you’ll have to take a close look at these setbacks. By analyzing what went wrong, you can learn from every lost sale and every customer you couldn’t win over.

If a sales call doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, ask yourself questions like:

  • Do I need a new approach?
  • Did I go in too hard, too soon?
  • Did I do enough research? Would it have gone better if I learned more about the customer first?
  • Am I focusing on the benefits the customer truly cares about?
  • Am I reaching out to the right kind of customer?

Focus on Relationship Building

It’s easy to get caught up on numbers and targets. How many deals you closed, how much sales volume you brought in, the number of customers who upgraded to a premium product after speaking with you.

Those are all great outcomes, but you can’t chase after them directly. If you go into a sales call with the intention of making a sale, you’re more likely to fumble the ball.

Instead, approach every customer with the goal of building a relationship with them. Spend time getting to know them and understanding their needs. Work with them to find solutions to their problems. Keep the lines of communication open so they can count on you when they need something.

The stronger the relationship you build with your customers, the easier it will be to sell. It also encourages those customers to become your brand ambassadors and recommend you to others.

So make sure you follow up with customers, are available to them when they need you and above all, make it clear that you’re there to help them, not just close a deal.

Improve Your Skills and Grow Your Sales

The building materials industry is highly competitive, but that doesn’t mean your sales should stagnate or drop. You haven’t hit your ceiling – if you keep developing your skills as a salesperson, there’s plenty of room for your sales to grow.

And if you want more personalized advice on mastering the art and science of selling building materials, contact us to see how we can help.

What is the biggest challenge to your sales growth?

Contact me to discuss how I can help you grow your sales.

About The Author

I am the leading sales growth consultant in the building materials industry, I identify the blind spots that enable building materials companies to grow their sales and retain more customers.  As I am not an ad agency, my recommendations are focused on your sales growth and not my future income.

My mission is to help building materials companies be the preferred supplier of their customers and to turn those customers into their best salespeople. Contact me to discuss your situation.