One thing remains constant about a sales career in homebuilding and trade – it’s always engaging and dynamic. Many individuals are drawn to sales in the construction and trade industry due to the perception of increased autonomy and reduced rigidity.

They’re not mistaken! Being a sales representative in the homebuilding sector allows for a certain level of freedom when executing daily tasks. Adaptability and improvisation readiness are essential in securing the coveted “We have a deal!” with potential clients.
Yet, another aspect of sales in this field is that clients can be very particular, exceedingly cautious, impulsive, or even skeptical. This is why salespeople must be inventive and refine their sales strategies & process to cater to prospective customers’ varying needs and preferences.
So, how can something as fluid as this function within a well-defined framework, you might ask? This piece aims to tackle that very question. Furthermore, it intends to demonstrate that, despite the apparent challenges, a formal sales process is crucial in the homebuilding and trade industry. By adhering to a structured plan, you’ll enhance your work efficiency, boost performance, and even expedite closing sales deals.

What is a sales process in the homebuilding and trade industry?

A sales process in the homebuilding and trade sector is a sequence of systematic steps a sales representative follows to guide a potential client from the initial awareness stage to a finalized transaction. Top-performing sales professionals dedicate approximately six hours weekly to identifying and researching prospective customers.
Generally, a sales process in the construction and trade realm consists of 5-7 stages: 
  • Prospecting
  • Preparation
  • Data collection
  • Addressing concerns
  • Contract signing
  • Build process begins and/or hand-off to production
Essentially, it represents a prospect’s journey from recognizing their need for a product or service to completing the purchase. As such, the sales process serves as a roadmap for homebuilding and trade industry sales representatives.
It’s crucial not to confuse a sales process with a sales funnel. Instead, a sales funnel visualizes all the ongoing sales activities and interactions between a potential client and a business in the construction and trade sector. Think of it as a model that depicts a customer’s purchase path.
While most sales professionals acknowledge that they follow a similar process, not many choose to formalize and standardize it, leaving the decision-making to individual sales reps regarding the steps to take and their timing.
The reasoning is straightforward: as long as salespeople continue to close deals and generate revenue, their specific methods are up to them. However, unless you’re a naturally gifted sales representative, adopting a standardized sales process can significantly enhance your ability to measure, forecast, and manage sales in the homebuilding and trade industry.

Allow the data to speak for itself

As the age-old adage states, “Sales is a numbers game.” Thus, let’s examine the figures and discover why adhering to a defined sales process in the homebuilding and trade industry is more than a sensible decision.
Research by the Sales Management Association indicates that 90% of companies employing a formal, guided sales process rank as top performers. And that’s not all.
Studies by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) have also found that businesses that implement a sales process consistently outperform those that don’t in the construction and trade sector.
For instance:
  • Companies with an established sales process have been shown to have a high degree of forecasting accuracy, with over 70% of their predictions proving to be on the mark
  • Businesses with a standardized sales process experience saw up to a 28% increase in revenue compared to those without such a process.
  • 50% of high-performing sales organizations reported having “closely monitored, strictly enforced, or automated” sales processes. In contrast, 48% of underperforming organizations had non-existent or informal sales processes.
These statistics reveal that three primary sales parameters – revenue, performance, and forecasting accuracy – tend to improve significantly when a company in the homebuilding and trade industry adopts a standardized sales process.

12 strategies for crafting an effective sales process in the homebuilding and trade industry

While relying on your skills and ingenuity is commendable, sales in the homebuilding and trade sector involve a structured sequence of tactical actions. Here’s how to create a standardized sales process for your team or your daily sales endeavors.
  1. Engage with your sales team: A sales process comprises stages that cover significant milestones of a sale, each containing tasks a salesperson follows to progress a prospect from one stage to another. Begin by understanding your sales team’s current approach to converting prospects into clients. Then, interview your sales team to learn their language, strategies, and techniques to incorporate into a unified plan that can be replicated and systematized for others.
  2. Eliminate inefficiencies: Defining specific steps in a process helps identify what is and isn’t working in your sales efforts. For example, determine the triggers (actions) that move prospects from one stage to another, allowing you to pinpoint the proper steps and eliminate bottlenecks and unproductive activities.
  3. Maintain consistency: A sales process is often a “sales rep’s roadmap.” It functions as a GPS with clear steps and milestones, helping sales reps understand their progress, when to advance to the next step, and when to make adjustments.
  4. Apply your sales expertise at every stage: Having a sales process doesn’t negate creativity. Instead, use your instincts and talents to transition from one step to another, as the sales process won’t dictate specifics like sales pitch structuring.
  5. Consider your customer’s perspective: Design an adaptable sales process accommodating different selling situations and customer needs. Ask open-ended questions to create a strategy centered around your customers’ buying patterns and expectations.
  6. Adopt a relationship-led approach: Cultivate deep relationships with clients by practicing active listening, empathy, note-taking, trust-building, and timely follow-ups.
  7. Identify the cause of stalled sales: A sales process enables sales professionals to pinpoint the root cause, allowing for analysis and optimization of actions taken.
  8. Vet out low-quality leads: A well-defined sales process helps your sales team filter low-potential leads and identify prospects with a higher likelihood of purchasing, shortening the sales cycle and maximizing efforts.
  9. Enhance forecasting and revenue: A clear understanding of your sales team’s progress in the sales process allows for more accurate sales forecasting and better goal setting.
  10. Ensure timely follow-ups: A standardized sales process reminds you when to follow up with a prospect, helping maintain a healthy sales pipeline and offering follow-up activity suggestions and templates.
  11. Provide a superior customer experience: A customer-focused sales process transforms a disorganized and potentially aggressive sale into a seamless customer experience, selling value and building trust at the right time.
  12. Simplify the onboarding process: for new sales reps. A defined sales process facilitates training and coaching, providing clear sales steps, required behaviors and skills, expected outcomes, and individual strengths to be applied at different stages of a sale.

A standardized sales process: critical benefits for the homebuilding and trade industry

A well-organized and structured sales process can empower you to execute the right actions effectively and determine what works and what doesn’t. With this knowledge, you can prevent repeating the same sales errors.
There are numerous long-term advantages of implementing a fine-tuned sales process in the homebuilding and trade industry. Your sales team can:
  • Develop and sustain enduring customer relationships
  • Ensure higher customer lifetime value
  • Decrease customer retention expenses
  • Obtain more referrals
  • Boost sales revenue
For a sales manager, adhering to a standardized sales process allows for a focus on crucial aspects:
  • Planning
  • Allocating leads
  • Prioritizing tasks
  • Managing your team’s time and workload efficiently
  • Producing more precise sales forecasts.
To guarantee your team follows the process, a CRM is essential. For example, a CRM system will automate each sales stage, guiding when to take action, follow up, send information, and prepare your sales pitch.
CRM enables you to program all sales stages effortlessly, record all communication, and transition a prospect from one step to another at the appropriate time.   We will go more into depth on the proper use and selection of a CRM system in an upcoming article.
In conclusion, the homebuilding and trade industry can benefit significantly from implementing a standardized sales process, understanding the latest market trends, and adapting to changing economic factors. By focusing on building long-lasting customer relationships and utilizing effective sales strategies, your business can overcome challenges and thrive in a competitive landscape. 
To further improve your sales process and business performance, consider redeeming a Business Diagnostic & Plan of Action (BPA) from Small Business Growth Partners (SBGP). As an exclusive member benefit offered through your Home Builder Association, the BPA provides a comprehensive analysis of your business, tailored specifically to builders, remodelers, and trade companies. By leveraging the insights and recommendations provided by SBGP’s BPA, you can effectively address your business’s unique challenges, enhance your sales process, and ultimately achieve sustainable growth and success in the industry.