The construction Industry is booming and with this massive industry growth, there are more and more pieces of quality construction and surface prep equipment on the market to choose from. Although working in a booming industry is a good thing, it also brings quite a few challenges for the dealers/rental houses, and equipment manufacturers trying to sell their equipment in an already saturated market. We’ve noticed a few challenges that people seem to talk a lot about, and in this blog we want to bring them to light and confront them in hopes to help those who are feeling a little stuck in their sales approach.
Confronting the Challenges
1) Price Competition
Price competition isn’t something new, but as more equipment becomes available the prices become more competitive and you may find yourself competing against other companies with lower priced equipment than you. This is just the reality of sales and it doesn’t mean you’ll lose out on a sale because your equipment has a higher price point, it just means you must do a better job at communicating why.
A higher price point doesn’t always mean better quality, but sometimes it does. Understanding why the equipment you’re selling is priced the way it is, is important. Is it because it costs more to manufacture? Is it made using only high quality materials? Is it locally made or imported? Being able to answer these questions are important so that your customers understand where the price difference comes from, and if its reasonable.
If you can effectively communicate the value and quality of your equipment, you’ll discover that price won’t be as much of an issue unless the person you’re trying to sell to is looking beyond their financial ability, or they believe product you’re trying to sell isn’t worth the price.
2) Big Brand Loyalty
Big brand loyalty is a challenge in any industry, especially for small to medium sized business. Many people will only buy from big brandsfor various reasons; accessibility of product, brand power, brand history and recognition in the industry, to name a few. Regardless, it doesn’t always mean that those big brands have the best products. Often smaller manufacturers have the ability to create a better quality product but may not have the same power behind their name simply because they are a smaller business. However, if you are one of these smaller equipment manufactures and you feel like you can’t compete with the big brands...you can.
If you can offer a better quality deal, keep pushing it. These big brands didn’t get big overnight. You have to put in the time and effort needed to get the same kind of exposure in the market.
Try teaming up with other smaller businesses and help to push each other’s equipment or products. For example; if you manufacture shot blasters, try building a relationship with a quality dust extraction equipment manufacturer so as you’re out selling your shot blasters, you can suggest their vacuums to pair with your shot blasters, and vice versa. Networking is a great way to get your brand out there through word of mouth, and eventually you’ll notice your small business isn’t as small as it used to be.
3) Longer Decision Making Timeframes
Before working in, and speaking with sales people in this industry, I never would have thought that decision making timeframes could pose a challenge for sales people. Since equipment in the construction and surface prep industry tends to hold a higher price point, the people investing in the equipment want to make sure they are getting the best value for their money.
As we know, it’s not uncommon for you to be working through a sale with the same customer for a few weeks, or even months. It can be frustrating when you have targets to meet and you’re working your butt off trying to close a sale that seems to be taking forever. In these situations, it’s important to evaluate the situation and do one of two things,
1. Step back. Maybe this customer isn’t that interested in buying any time soon, and is leading you around in circles for whatever reason. If that’s the case, take a step back to focus more of your efforts on other opportunities. Don’t forget about the first customer because they may still be interested in buying at some point down the road, but you also don’t want them getting in the way of other opportunities.
2. Be patient. Big purchases often take time. People want to do their research and make sure they are getting the best value, so being patient, answering their questions and offering help where you can will go a long way and your customers will appreciate it.
Also, sometimes getting finances in order can take time depending on the size of the company you’re dealing with, or how they have their purchasing process set up.
You’re going to have some months where you’re working on multiple sales and you feel like you can’t seem to close any, and other months where you’re able to close sales quickly. That’s just the nature of sales. If you can meet your quarterly or annual sales targets, then don’t stress about the month to month as much. At the end of the day, if a sale takes 3 days or 3 months, it’s still money in your pocket.
This is the most frustrating challenge for a lot of people. You absolutely must have thick skin to be a successful sales person. I’m sure you know you’ll hear “no” a lot more than you’ll hear “yes”. You’ll be yelled at and probably called an idiot (among other things) but you can’t let that get to you. Sales is not for the fainthearted, especially not in the construction and surface prep industries. Stay confident in the products you’re selling, and in yourself. You can’t take rejection personally because it isn’t about you. If you continue to be respectful and understanding, but still confident and stand firm, you’ll do well as a sales person.
A sales person will face many challenges, and although we’ve covered a few, we recognize that there are always more challenges to overcome. Have confidence in the products you’re selling and know the value they have to offer. Be patient, but also aware of your situation when trying to sell equipment, make sure to treat your customers with respect but you must also make sure you respect yourself as well, don’t let someone who isn’t really interested in making a purchase take your time and efforts away from other opportunities.