One part of construction that's interesting is the sales aspect. Supply companies are always trying to sell to big builders. Even during a housing slump there are people staying in their homes, so builders will concentrate on remodeling. Homes always need windows, doors and siding and so on.
Now the important thing that will be addressed in this blog series is what can you do to get a job in outside sales selling to contractors or home associations for a large supply company. For one thing, know what the job entails.
You will be doing cold calling. This can be where you walk into an office without being introduced and literally take a chance on making a contact to sell to. However, normally you will have to call first to make an appointment. That’s where your problems will start.
The person in the company that does the purchasing will have people whose job it is to make sure he or she is not bothered by salespeople. The maddening thing will be that it is his or her job to see salespeople. Try telling this person that.
Because it’s for the benefit of the company you’re calling on for that person to do so. For instance, we kept losing bids at my company even though we supposedly had the lowest prices around from our supplier. Supposed is right. If not for an intrepid outside salesmen, we would have not found out that this was not so; especially since the people we dealt with were smooth liars.
I could go on about how to establish contact with the purchasing rep, but that’s for a latter blog when I will get into cold selling techniques for construction, but you need to get the job first, so how do you do this? Well to start, you need to know the ins and outs of ordering catalogs from Anderson to Pella, etc. You also will need a good grasp of math and blueprints. You need this to help your contractors order and plan projects.
From the supply company’s side, you have to demonstrate you can negotiate your way around job sites and are a go-getter. You need both sides of the equation because you’ll represent your store to the contractor and be the go-between.
Importantly too, the job is a commissioned position until you prove yourself. In other words, it costs the company nothing to hire you to do this job so it may be easier to obtain than others. So why should you do it since if you fail you may not make money?
The money potential: Sales is an unsecure job for bad salespeople. For good ones, it’s the highest paying job, period. My Dad once told me, and he was a great salesman, that the reason sales pays so well is that people don’t like to do it. He was once kicked so hard by a lady when he sold door to door in his youth that he had to go to the hospital. He almost died of colon cancer later which occurred around the area where he had been kicked, and that was no coincidence as we have learned from science.
So, if you can sell like a friend of mine did, you can become literally a millionaire if sales is really in your blood. But you’ll need to be a go-getter - just like Sonny Bono was. Young Sonny Bono of “Sony and Cher” fame drove a truck and in his off time he’d visit a record company because producing records was what he wanted to do. He learned everything he could there. The producers there showed him how it was done. It cost them nothing, he worked while he learned and afterwards; for nothing, and Sonny would bring them sandwiches. One day, Sonny walked in and the owner fired 2 producers right in front of his eyes. The owner looked at him and said, “Can you do this job.” And a star was born.
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Jeffrey Ruzicka is a retired executive of a small company that specializes in industrial water treatment. He lives happily with his wife in Western Pennsylvania and is a contributing writer toFinancialJobBank,FinancialJobBankBlog,ConstructionJobForce, ConstructionJobForceBlogand Nexxt.
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