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Leaders Make Selling a Priority


"I have some deep concerns about the future of your company. I have some deep concerns about your leadership. I have some deep concerns about the management team you have assembled. Your business is not growing for one reason: You and your management team are not leading by example."

This is the opening to a letter that was recently sent to a start-up company by an investor.  The investor wanted to shake them up and help them realize where their problems lie. Often times, business owners and managers tend to blame their bottom-line woes on the economy, competition, customers, salespeople, or their employees. In reality, results are the biggest indicator of leadership.

Leaders Lead by Example

Leaders lead. Leaders make it happen. Leaders get big results. Leaders set the pace. Leaders get people to follow. Leaders create excitement. Leaders take accountability. Leaders do what it takes.

Making a profit and growing your construction business is simple. It starts with creating enough revenue to cover your job costs, overhead, and profit goals for the year. No revenue equals no business and no profit. Successful business leaders are almost always the big-time revenue generators who create lots of sales. The fastest way to fix a company’s profit or growth problems is to generate more revenue. Check out these quotes from successful leaders:

“Anyone can manage. Leaders go out and create revenue.” (Sam Walton)

“Anyone can write procedure manuals. Leaders go out and sell.” (Jeff Bezos)

“Anyone can mind the store. Revenue takes inspiration and excitement.” (Jack Welch)

“Anyone can organize. Leaders cold call and close sales.” (Lee Iacocca)

“Anyone can tell others to do it. Leaders go out and make it happen themselves.” (Ross Perot)

Selling Is Not Easy

Selling doesn’t always come naturally. Most people do not like to spend their day cold-calling on potential customers who don’t really want to talk to them. Selling is uncomfortable. Selling may not be your gift. What mistake do many of you do to fix the problem? Hire a salesperson. You figure this will remove you from the sales process. Guess what? It doesn’t work. The person you hired continually keeps asking you to go on sales calls with them so you can close the deal. Doesn’t that annoy you? Now what? Can you grow your business without doing any selling? Probably not.

In most construction businesses, clients want to know the owner and project management team before making a decision to hire them. Customers want to know who they’ll be doing business with. They want to build relationships and develop a sense of trust during the sales and contractor selection process. It’s almost impossible to expect a salesperson to get a construction contract signed without the construction company owner’s help. It is easy to hire a salesperson, but the hard part is to get them to do it well without your coaching, direction, and hands-on involvement. When you rely exclusively on your salespeople to grow your business and bring in profitable sales, it just won’t happen. Without the owner and management team involved, it is hard to meet your sales goals.

Leaders Commit to Sell

The only way you can grow your business is to take personal responsibility to get it done. You must be the leader. You must lead by example. You must spend time with your customers. You must sell. What is your personal commitment to selling? This week? This month? This quarter? This year?

Leaders generate revenue. A personal sales approach utilizing face to face appointments with your top 20 to 50 customer targets is what it takes. Every breakfast and lunch are opportunities to be with one of your targets. Every day, arrange at least one or two meetings with potential and current customers from your list. Give your management team a weekly progress report to show your commitment to making sales happen.

Only by your example of leadership will your team get on board as well. Make selling their priority too. Get sales commitments from every team member. If your team members won’t or can’t make it happen, replace them with players who will. You can’t grow a company without 100% commitment from everyone at the top.

Make Selling a Priority

Remember the start-up company that the investor sent the letter to? The CEO got on board and made it happen. He made a personal commitment to make ten sales appointments every week. He also committed to personally generate $15,000,000 in revenue within six months. His leadership inspired those under him to get on board as well. Each team member committed to make selling their priority. This also improved productivity, customer service, and profitability. All good news, and guess what? Their salesperson improved as well. With the full support of the company leaders, they became more aggressive, created leads, and turned them into sales.

If your business isn’t growing in revenue and profits, only you, the leader, can be blamed. You lead your management or project team. You set the priorities. Have you made selling a priority? Your company needs leadership. Your people need someone to follow. The choice is yours. Where will you lead them?

Business - Commercial Construction Industry

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This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.