CONSTRUCTION SALES TECHNIQUES
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Customers say they want the lowest price, but what they really want is the best value.
Construction businesses that compete on price are racing to the bottom.
HOW TO INCREASE CONSTRUCTION SALES
Construction businesses that focus on identifying their unique value and sell that value to their customers are in a race to the top, and the top is where you stand out.
In this article on Fine Homebuilding.com, I dig into aspects of Neuroeconomics – the study of human decision making.
HOW THE BRAIN MAKES PURCHASING DECISIONS
In my previous article (The Psychology of Price Anchoring), I discussed how the human brain functions when making buying decisions.
Modern psychology suggests humans make various buying decisions in three areas of the brain.
In layman’s terms, these areas are the Old Brain, The Middle Brain, and The New Brain.
From Natasha Wahid’s article on the Wider Funnel blog:
- The reptilian brain [OLD BRAIN] evolved first and controls the body’s core functions from heart rate to breathing to balance. It’s called the reptilian brain because it includes the brainstem and cerebellum (the main structures found in a reptile’s brain).
- The limbic brain [MIDDLE BRAIN] came next and includes the hippocampus, the amygdala and the hypothalamus. This is the part of your brain that records memories of behaviors that produced pleasant or unpleasant experiences: it’s responsible for your emotions and value judgements.
- The last to evolve, the neocortex [NEW BRAIN] is credited with the development of human language, abstract thought, imagination and consciousness. It includes the two large cerebral hemispheres and has almost infinite learning abilities.
Understanding how the brain works when making buying decisions, including buying construction services from a contractor, can help you close more sales and increase the margins of your business.*
*NOTE: The techniques described in this article are not intended to manipulate your customers into buying from you, but are presented here to inform the construction professional tasked with selling construction services how to better connect with their customers and deliver a better buying experience. Sales techniques that use trickery or manipulation are immoral and unethical and should never be used by any professional.
In general (as stated here):
The new brain thinks.
The middle brain feels.
The old brain decides.
Studies have shown that the connections between the middle brain and the old brain happen up to five times faster than the connections between the new brain and the old brain.
Therefore, the sales experience can be enhanced by stimulating the old brain’s decision-making function.
6 Triggers to Stimulate your Customers’ Buying Brain
Your customers are self-centered. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but their old brains will respond better to messages that are customer-centric. Show the customers what you can do for them. Don’t focus on what you can do. Sell benefits, not features.
The way we judge anything is in comparison with something else. The old brain loves contrast because it is easy to see the difference. Although this may seem counterintuitive, but having a higher price is a great way to show contrast. Higher prices often lead to conversations about justification and value.
Customer: “You are 30% more than the other prices we have received. Who do you think you are charging this much?” (Emotional response – see Trigger #6 – Emotion)
Contractor: “I understand that you may not be able to afford us, but thank you for asking us who we are. I’d love to tell you more about the value that you get with that price and how the other guys didn’t include the value we included. Would it be ok to explain how we price our work?”
When your price for a project is close to the other prices, then you don’t stand out. There’s no contrast. There’s no opportunity to shine and sell your value.
3. TANGIBLE INPUT
The old brain does not have the capability to process the written language, especially complicated, industry jargon. Use simple, value-based words on your website, in your proposals, and in your sales pitch.
4. THE BEGINNING AND THE END
The old brain like beginnings and ends. It has to work harder to remember the stuff in the middle.
Place the most important information at the beginning and the end of your sale pitch. This is called the primacy effect.
If you start with a compelling and simple opening, the old brain will process this information very quickly. While it is processing this information, it will ignore what is said in the middle.
Repeat that same information at the end using clear, tangible words (see Trigger #3 above) to drive home the value. This is called the recency effect.
5. VISUAL STIMULI
The old brain is hardwired to make decisions that are mostly based on visual input. Show examples of your product, service, and company in a stunning way.
Examples of visual stimuli for contractors:
- Professionally brand vehicles, equipment, and uniforms
- Neat and consistent paperwork
- Graphical information showing your process of execution
- Photos of your previous customers enjoying your product or service (see Trigger #1 for a customer-centric message)
Our decision-making processes are much less rational than we’d like to believe. Emotions (middle brain) are processed 5 times faster than conscious thoughts (new brain functions). While the new brian is trying to process the logic of the situation, the old brain has already received input from the middle brain and closed the deal.
The new brian will rationalize the decision after the purchase is made.
Examples of emotional evoking sales techniques:
- Fear – You can educate the client that “the other guys” might not have included the same detailed scope of work. They might not getting the project the customer wants/needs.
- Anxiety – Your scheduling is filling up and in order to secure a spot on your schedule the customer will need to sign the contract and pay a deposit by a certain date.
- Awe – You describe the experience you provide to your customers and show them joyful testimonials from previous clients.
Science has shown that we aren’t as logical as we think we are when it comes to making buying decisions. Our brains make buying decisions based more on emotions than rational thought.
Once you understand how the decision-making part of the brain works, you’ll be able to deliver more confident sales presentations, close more deals, and transform your marketing messages.
Your clients will love you for it, even if they don’t know why.
For more information of the science of Neuromarketing, check out this book by the same name.
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Shawn Van Dyke is a construction industry consultant, business coach, and mentor to skilled trade business owners. He is a Brand Ambassador for Fine Homebuilding, travels across the US as a keynote speaker, seminar presenter, and the author of The Paperwork Punch List: 28 Days to Streamline Your Construction Business.
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