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How to Improve Sales Consistency in Your Trades and Construction Business

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How to Improve Sales Consistency in Your Trades and Construction Business

Every business needs more sales! It’s the only thing that brings money into your business and one of the strategies to improve sales consistency.

Many trades and construction businesses have periods where sales are slow and others when sales are high, so they are constantly battling the problems of too few or too many jobs. This inconsistency takes their attention away from business growth activities and keeps them locked in a turbulent cycle. Sound familiar?

In this blog, I’m going to talk about why you have these peaks and troughs, and what you can do to bring more consistency and, surety to your sales and most importantly, your revenue!

The Sales Feast & Famine Cycle

If you have inconsistent sales, you’re likely in this feast and famine cycle. The sales feast and famine cycle happens in most trades and construction businesses, so you’re not alone. 

The cycle starts when you need more work, so you hustle really hard, and suddenly you’ve got lots of jobs on the go. Great! But because you’ve got so much on, and don’t need any more work right now, you stop sales activity. 

Then, the work you had comes to an end, and you’ve not got anything else lined up ready to go. Now you need more work, and you ramp up the sales activity again. So you’re constantly swinging between too much and too little work, and you can never seem to find that sweet spot in the middle. 

Revenue generation starts in sales and marketing. The sales activity you do in the present brings future sales, not current, which is why you can’t stabilise your sales pattern. It shouldn’t be something that you switch on and off. If all jobs on the books start with sales activity, and you want consistent sales in the future, it stands to reason that you need consistent sales activity in the present.

What can you do on how to improve sales consistency?

There are many activities you can do to bring in more sales and increase your revenue. Here are a few examples to kickstart your activity:

  • Add one hour of sales activity per week to your default diary – that’s only 48 hours (a.k.a. one week’s work) across an entire year! You’ll see the results in your quote register, because you can see how exactly how many quotes you’re doing, instead of *feeling* like you’ve “done loads of quotes this month”. Numbers don’t lie.
  • Follow every quote up to get a yes or a no – stop leaving your quotes open and get a definitive answer. Some of you are worried about annoying your potential clients by following up, but this is your head trash-talking. You’re missing out on work, and this activity alone will secure at least a 20% increase in sales. 
  • Be quicker at turning your quotes around – the quicker you turn them around, the quicker you’ll have jobs coming in. Most people are ready to take action when they show interest, so capitalise on their enthusiasm and don’t lose out to a competitor because you were too slow to respond.
  • Take note of who in the team *isn’t* converting sales – if you have a larger team with multiple people responsible for making sales, take note of who isn’t converting quotes. Take that team member out for lunch and chat to them about how you can help them improve their sales.
  • Get feedback – ask the clients you don’t win work from, “What do I need to do differently to win more work from you?” If they say you need to be the cheapest, then never quote for them again, but your potential A-grade clients will give you a reason to reflect on.
  • Network with your biggest client(s) – set up a lunch weekly/monthly/quarterly to catch up and throw ideas around. You don’t know what opportunities could arise.

How to know when your consistent sales activity is paying off

You might think you’ll know when your sales activity is paying off when you’re busier, or when you have more jobs. But you have high sales periods right now, and we want to have peak sales all the time.

It’s not enough to go off intuition or guessing. It’s very easy to think we’ve quoted loads of work, but then we look at the numbers and it’s nothing like what we thought.

That’s why you need something trackable! This is one of the reasons you need a quote register, because it is the first place you will see the results of your sales activity, and will allow you to track your progress.

What is a quote register?

If you’re unfamiliar with a quote register, it is somewhere that tracks every quote that you supply month by month. For some, this might be a simple spreadsheet, or a more advanced software that integrates with other systems.

You should regularly update your quotes register, preferably weekly. If you only quote a few times per month because you quote substantially larger jobs than most businesses, you could reduce this to once a month. 

If you don’t have a quote register, or forget to keep it up to date, try making it part of your quotation process, rather than something you fill in retrospectively. Or, you could add it to your default diary tasks to ensure it doesn’t fall down your priority list.

Are you afraid to bring in more sales?

You’re not alone if you’re afraid of bringing in more work! This isn’t to say you don’t want it, because you do, but you’re worried about overcommiting and not delivering.

If you’re at capacity, you should hire more people. Your cash flow forecast should tell you when/if that is possible. You might be reluctant to do this, because you know how tough the labour market is right now. But, recruiting is a process, and the more you do it, the better you will get at it. You need a strong recruitment process, and when you have that, you won’t be putting the brakes on your sales efforts.

If you can be consistent in your sales activity, your quote register should begin to reflect this with consistent quotes supplied, and a consistent stream of jobs booked in. At some point, your quotes register will be able to tell you the work you’ve got on for the next 2, 3, 4+ months. This will help you plan and allocate your resources.

The answer to improve sales consistency

Every trade based business has been able to relate to the feast and famine cycle! You’ve got too much work, then not enough work, then too much again, and so forth in this never-ending loop. 

The answer to consistent work is really simple – consistent sales activity! Don’t take your foot off the sales activity pedal, because you’ve got too much/enough work. 

Make the switch from reactive to proactive, and put 1 hour into your diary every week dedicated to marketing and selling. If you’re not sure what you can do during those hours, I guarantee you will find something! 

What do you do during those lows, when you’re desperate for more work? You hustle hard! You: Ring up your clients to see if they need anything else, set up meetings, follow up quotes, post in social media community groups, create ad campaigns, look on job sites, etc. 

So…you already know exactly what you can do to generate more sales, you just need to do it consistently!

Put one hour into your diary, stick to it over the next few months, and I have no doubt that you will generate more sales. And if you’re looking for other ways to grow your business, join our Trades and Construction Mastermind Facebook Group, which is filled with business coaching advice for business owners like you!

Here’s to a great week ahead.

Damien Churton,

Partner and Coach, Business Benchmark Group

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