It's easy for salespeople to become discouraged in a stinking housing market that drags on and on, but this is the time of year when whatever positive is going to happen finally begins to happen. It's the time of year to "set the hook" and begin to reap the benefits of all of the work you have done with your prospects over the winter months.The following is the advice I'm giving salespeople for spring 2011:

  • If you expect to make more sales and earn more in 2011 than you did in 2010, you must take business away from the competition. There is business out there, so grow your business by outselling your competitors. Much of this new business will be repair and remodeling work.
  • Be upbeat and positive with your prospects. Bring them ideas you have picked up from your most successful customers. Don't hesitate to make marketing and sales suggestions that will enable your prospects to bring in new business.
  • Since many builders are now repair and remodeling contractors, a great marketing idea is to prepare a suggestion list of "what you can expect" for customers when they hire a certain company for a remodeling project. Repair and remodeling work is totally different from new construction, so your contractor prospects must convince their potential clients that they know these differences. Here are a few of the "what you can expect" ideas that may be included in a brochure for remodeler's clients.
  • "What You Can Expect From (blank) Construction Co."
  • Not every contractor knows how to work in an owner occupied home; we do! We know how to work around you. When we leave the job each day, we make every attempt to leave your home so that your lives are disturbed as minimally as possible.
  • We cover areas adjacent to the project area with protective film to minimize dust.
  • When we leave the jobsite, we sweep the floor to remove all sawdust, we move and stack unused building materials away from your living area and give you maximum access to your home.
  • As we come and go from your home, we are careful not to slam doors to minimize noise levels.
  • Whenever possible, we go outside your home to use power tools to both minimize noise and reduce dust.
  • Whenever possible when we leave the job at the end of the day, we reconnect your drainage pipes, electrical outlets, etc., so that you may have unrestricted use of your home during the evenings.
  • Our workers carry cell phones so that we do not have to use your home telephone to telephone our suppliers or our subcontractors during the day.

You may wish to add to this list, but such a list of "what you can expect" can sometimes be the difference in which contractor a homeowner hires to do their project.The definition of a commodity is: "When the buyer cannot discern any differences between the various suppliers he has access to."Are you selling commodities?No, you are not, especially since the one thing the competition does not have to offer is YOU. The competition may sell the same brand as you sell, the same species from the same mills as you sell and they may offer similar quality and service, but they do not have YOU.YOU make the difference between a commodity and an exclusive offering. List the things you do to make this difference and share it with your prospects.Bill Lee is a business consultant, columnist, speaker, and seminar leader who works extensively throughout North America. He also is affiliated with Lee Resources, a Greenville, S.C.-based consulting, training and publishing organization.