It’s no secret that the job of a dealer salesperson is a competitive one, whether the market is in recession or rebound. Cutting through the price wars and setting yourself and your company apart takes thoughtfulness, careful planning and a good amount of relationship building.
In some cases, it’s also even simpler than that. We checked in with Rick Davis, a leading construction products sales trainer and owner of Building Leaders, to uncover some of the most common—and easily avoidable—sales mistakes that can sour a builder-dealer relationship before it even begins.
1. Showing Up Without an Appointment
Arriving at a builder’s office or jobsite unannounced makes you appear entitled and shows a lack of respect for the customer’s time. It also is a waste of your own efforts. Making an appointment ensures both parties have adequate time and focus, and will result in a better quality meeting—as well as a better impression.
2. Selling the Product First
A good sales leader understands how the customer goes to market, how they make money, how they schedule and how they make decisions. Only then can the salesperson understand the right products to meet those needs. “Your customer can get products from a lot of people,” says Davis. “What they need is someone who helps them succeed. This means showing them how they can benefit from your services with better profit, resale value, elimination of mistakes. And that means listening.”
3. Leading With Price
Too many salespeople show up on a job asking what can be bid on before they know anything about the builder’s business. This speeds up the process but drives the builder to only talk about price. And in doing so, reduces the salesperson to simply a number on paper.
Instead, a good salesperson should first understand how to provide products and services that meet the needs or solve the challenges of the builder and holding off on price until they know their chances for success are very high. This leads to stronger relationships instead of constant bidding wars.
4. Believing That Wood Is a Commodity
We recognize that wood is a commodity—but it shouldn’t be sold as such or it makes you, the dealer, a commodity too. “The dealer might buy a commodity, but what they’re selling is a service,” advises Davis. “The product comes to life when the right product is used for the right situation, when the takeoff is accurate, when the delivery is on time and when the contractor can count on zero hassles.”