buyers (1)

Companies don’t buy floors. People do

In working with over 20 commercial flooring companies we have benchmarked the activities of their salespeople:

  •  Only 6% of their time is spent prospecting for new business.
  •  Nearly 50% of their time is spent tracking, emailing, estimating, and pricing their bids.
  • And then they only win 1 in 5 of those opportunities!

Let’s assume you can’t change a leopard’s spots and they continue to only spend a meager 6% of their week prospecting for new work. (I'm not knocking salespeople. They are your lifeblood for growth. But you know selling a floor, getting it installed and getting paid has many steps and many hurdles that suck at a salespersons time)

This week’s blog is how to maximize your revenue from that small time investment.

Why not sell to existing customers who already know, like and trust you? Don’t wallow in the bid board with prospects you don’t know and hope you get the last look.

I’ll give you several reasons why this obvious sales goldmine is not optimized.

  1. Territorialism

“No, I can’t call on Hensel Phelps. That’s Steve’s account”

Steve has sold 1 job. The unwritten “law” is it is his account. But you know what, Steve is only spending 6% of his time prospecting and he is not calling on Hensel Phelps as his guy only has the one project.

Look—Hensel Phelps does not buy floors. People within Hensel Phelps buy floors!

So what is the share of wallet?

If you go to Hensel’s website they list 7 major divisions:

  • Aviation
  • Commerce
  • Education
  • Government & Justice
  • Healthcare
  •  Infrastructure & Transportation
  • Science & Technology

They have $5billion in revenues and over 3,000 employees!

I’d guess, at a minimum, there are at least 5 construction managers in each of those divisions who have projects you could bid on. That’s at least 35 buyers!

Steve’s share of the Hensel Phelps flooring wallet.

–Maybe 3%.

Has Steve got a plan to identify and build relationships with the other 34?

–No! He has used up his 6% selling allotment chasing his tail.

Steve lives in Charlotte. We’ve got other salespeople like Dan in Atlanta and Mary in Miami. Let them go call on Hensel Phelps people there.

Customers and prospects are your flooring company assets not “personal” relationships “owned” by salespeople.

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2. No plan—the dog ate it.

In all my time working with flooring companies I have not seen one written account plan. Oh, the sales guys will tell you they have one but when I observe their daily behaviors you see the pattern I opened this blog with.

3. Limited relationship management

People buy floors. Companies don’t. People move companies. If you have a relationship or have sold and delivered good work, why not follow them?

Know why? Salespeople spend 50% of their week in the weeds. They forget. They find new shiny objects.


I rarely see a customer relationship management system (CRM) actively used.

Customer knowledge is tribal.

When a salesperson leaves the customer history and network leaves.

“No! Not at my company” I hear you cry as you show me your customer list for the past 5 years.

Well, it usually itemizes the GC name and the job name and probably its value.

But again, GC’s did not buy. Their people did!

–Who was the customer senior client?

–Who was the owner?

–Who was the architect?

–Who was the PM?

–And more critically, where are those people now?

–And are you calling them??

OK, I was a bit verbose today. Here’s the skinny if you want to maximize your growth:

  • People buy floors. Companies don’t.
  • Salespeople don’t own the assets called “customers”. You, the owner do.
  • Your sales machine (even if you are twice as good as the average company) spends a minimal amount of time selling. (Gasp)
  • Sell to your existing customers—identify and build a list of all the people who can buy from you in that account.
  • Create a written plan and measure your penetration plan to increase share of wallet
  • At a minimum, have your sales and project people connect with everyone you have a relationship with on LinkedIn. Then ensure an executive member of your company also connects ensuring the longevity and access to that relationship.

Go for the easy business. There are soft targets I guarantee you are not focusing enough time on.

See you here next week.