Companies that made it through the dark days of 2009 and 2010 survived because they had a strong sales culture. If selling wasn’t given the proper respect and attention it deserved back then, the company likely went out of business.
But times have changed. While client acquisition is still important, there are other market conditions that are changing everything about the remodeling business environment, including how a project should move through your company’s pipeline and which types of clients are important to pursue.
It’s no secret that the challenge during the next few years will be finding, keeping, and managing a stable workforce of skilled employees. Construction companies are going so far as to create universities and trade schools to train enough workers to keep up with demand. If a worker doesn’t like their company today for any reason, he or she can go down the street and quickly get a new job.
With that in mind, sales and design departments must now service production, not feed it. Gone are the days when it was acceptable to rush a project through preconstruction or design and hand off a partially complete design to production to “work it out” as they go. It’s now crucial that all project plans are complete and fully organized. Designers and estimators must address every detail before handing a project package off to production. In the future, production will be more challenging than ever and sales, design, and estimating can no longer be the source of those challenges.
Another change created by both the growth in remodeling activity and the labor shortage is a new responsibility on the part of the sales team to get the “right” customers. Professional remodelers must know the specific traits of their ideal customer and ideal project that correlate to ideal profit.
Obviously, salespeople need to learn to identify these ideal customers. But more importantly, they must learn to disqualify non-ideal opportunities. Business owners understand this, but I get a lot of pushback from salespeople when I challenge them to disqualify an opportunity. If a salesperson got through the tough times in 2009, they feel very conflicted about disqualifying a homeowner in 2017.
Given today’s labor and capacity constraints, selling to the less desirable customer not only saps your resources with a challenging, low-profit project, it also prevents your firm from signing an ideal and profitable one.