How to sell your project

Petteri Lautso, Customer Value Director, Ruukki
Apr 19, 2016

I am quite convinced that there is a skill to be learnt in selling for all of us, not just salespeople. Most of us in the construction industry are far more focused on how to complete our projects with minimum hassle or how to make most profit during the project. Not a lot of thought is wasted on what the customer wants. In fact, it sometimes seems unclear to many participants who the customer is. The industry as a whole is not exactly customer-oriented.

Why is the customer buying from you

The money tends to come from the customer, so it might be a good idea to stop for a while and think of why they would be giving their money to you. And the answer is not because you are the cheapest, because you are not. The cheapest alternative would be not to buy or rent at all.  So there must be a reason for the customer to be buying in the first place.

Digging into those reasons is the first step of successfully selling anything including the property and construction sector. If you happen to have what a customer thinks he or she needs, it’s just a question of finding out how those customers can be reached, right?

How does this work when you are selling a project instead of a product? You possess just the capacity, skills or other assets necessary to reach the goal your customers have set for themselves. Not the goal itself.


In my experience, the best thing to do is to listen, also between the lines. Sometimes understanding takes a little effort, but it is almost always worth it.  If you can get on the same page with the customer, you have much better chances of putting together the right solution to offer a viable route to reach that goal.  If you have the right assets available, that should get you pretty far. But it will not get you quite all the way to selling anything. There’s the talking part, too.

Things are not always how they seem, but decisions are based just on how things seem at that moment. I would not go as far as to say appearance is everything, but still the customer should be able to understand what benefits you can bring to the table and why that is relevant to reaching the goal. It is the seller’s job to make things understandable, even if the customer does not know half of what you know about your specialty. This is something we often forget when bashing our customers about making the wrong decision.

Who, how and why

Salesmanship as a skill is something that professional salespeople can perfect, but for most of us deep in the world of complex solutions like buildings it is usually something that should be built on top of other skills. This goes for all of us. Even if you never see the customers, they still pay your bills.

Personally I have come to believe that keeping in mind who, how and why is buying what I offer, is a very good way to continuously challenge myself to do better and co-operate more efficiently. This might be true regardless of the discipline we represent even though specialist professionals tend to neglect the thought. It will most certainly help you in selling your project.

Petteri Lautso
Customer Value Director, Ruukki

Contact Petteri on Twitter: @PLautso

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