Winter’s last hoorah is just about over and longer, sunnier days are on the menu. I’ve had a lot of people ask me what the market is looking like and I have several metrics that we can look at. Starting in April, we’ll do a year to year comparison on a couple of forward looking metrics. I’d love to hear from you in reference to what you’d like to see in our report besides the obvious permit stats. Drop me a line; we’d love to hear from you! Last month I had a lot more people chatting me up about what they were going to do differently than in the past.

Specifically, we were talking about three things:

1. Who to sell to

2. What to sell

3. How to sell

The days of waiting for the phone to ring, throwing out a price and immediately being awarded the job are long gone. We must become proactive instead of reactive. Many of you already know what I’m talking about and have made the jump. For those of you who are still lagging behind, it’s time to catch up. This is obviously a difficult challenge for a lot of us. Human beings are not always the most adaptable; but that’s exactly what you have to do to survive and prosper in this much more competitive environment. If you’re comfortable today, you are doing something wrong! Change is never easy, but it’s inevitable and fighting it is a losing battle. Join the fight voluntarily before you are drafted. Remember this caveat: The drafted become cannon fodder!

Look at that list above. The usual suspects simply may not be around anymore and for a myriad of reasons, we must decide who it is that we are going to invest our limited and always scarce resources chasing. It is beyond the scope of this blog entry to answer the tough questions listed above, but all of them have a common theme. That is, do what makes sense considering what you do, what your capabilities are, what your competition is doing and what special differentiators you can bring to the table. I have never spent time with a business owner/general manager that after discussion, we could not come up with some powerful advantages they could employee to get more business. If only they had taken the time to think it through. Are you thinking your business through? Are you getting and using your DEC reports? Successful people are inevitably proactive.

Each blog I will try and bring you something actionable that you can use in your daily business. Today, I want to challenge you to consider several points that I’ve adopted from smarter people than myself over the years. Read them carefully and decide for yourself their applicability in your own business and use what you can. Most importantly, question yourself and don’t automatically assume these are only for big companies or are too “fancy” for you to adopt.
Here we go:

- Practice a winning style of presentation and make sure that everyone who is customer facing adopts the right techniques, words, phrases, differentiators and bullets that you know are important to helping you get the deal.

- Are you adapting your style to the prospect or speaking to yourself? I can’t tell you how many people present to me and lose me in the process because they are not speaking to my needs and desires. It’s all about what’s in it for me!

- Have your elevator speech down cold. What is it that makes you unique? Why should I buy from you instead of your competition?

- Keep records. Simply put, how many proposals do you win vs. lose. Even more important; do you know why? Understand who you are losing to and why and you’ll be prepared to make changes that will significantly raise your closing percentage. It’s not always about price no matter what you may believe.

- Work in Progress is true for construction as well as for your sales pipeline. How well do you keep up with your Prospect WIP Status? Untold numbers of deals die for lack of nurturing and follow-up. There is no other area of the sales funnel where more deals are lost simply due to inaction; it burns me up, I hope it makes you go crazy as well.

- Stay in touch. Find a way to stay in front of prospects even when they are in-between projects. Send them an email; share a lead, whatever it takes to stay Top of Mind when they do need you.

- Accountability. Are you getting your share? Are you too readily chalking up that last loss to price or too many other bids? Try to find out what your competitors are doing and best them. Don’t throw in the towel too early. What’s true of the whole (the economy) is not necessarily true of the specific (you). Keep those records and celebrate when you see significant improvement.

Success or failure, it’s all up to us. Hone your skills to ensure that you are on the right side of history, lest you become history! It all starts with believing in yourself and the people you work with and then executing a good plan.

Good Selling!

Allan Feifer is the President of DEC International. Allan started DEC more than 35 years ago and has background in the process and construction industries as well as many years as a recognized authority on construction trends and analysis. Allan lives in Florida with his wife and two cats. You can reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .