Markets and Sales Strategies
Contracting is an extremely diverse industry that includes a variety of disciplines and markets. Assuming the trade has been selected and the correct licenses have been obtained, it is important to identify the appropriate target markets.
This typically means focusing on either residential or commercial construction and specializing in ether new construction or the retrofit market. For all trades including general contracting, there are stark distinctions in the clientele, sales and marketing efforts and labor structure for these differing environments.
Contractors in the new construction market require people with accurate estimating skills and sales people with an ability to develop ongoing relationships with developers and general contractors. Since these associations potentially endure through many years and different jobs, it is important to have industry qualified people who can deal with deadlines. They must also be adept at stress management while maintaining their composure as they work through complicated matters in a demanding time frame.
In the retrofit market, involvement with customers tends to be more limited, often ending when the job is completed. Therefore, the sales person must have the capacity to gain customer trust quickly while possessing the skill to address unusual construction situations rapidly and accurately. The quality salespeople in the retrofit business also have the ability to self generate leads and orders. This is especially important since unlike new construction which is often a public bidding environment, the retrofit business is marketing and advertising intensive
Regardless of the focus of the business, key metrics should always be used to measure sales productivity even if the owner is also the primary sales person. Among these tracking mechanisms are the number of sales calls per week, the number of estimates and proposals per week and the number of signed contracts and their dollar value per month.