Once a year, Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston hosts the Leadership Forum, a sixteen-week course that trains individuals about leading teams effectively, working in a multi-generational environment, and understanding personality profiles.
One of the sessions, Sales and Account Development, recently instructed by several ABC Greater Houston members, covered high level marketing, networking, listening skills, and tips for making a sales call. The session also included the specific process for new business and account development, how to make sales calls, and how to differentiate themselves from others.
“I’ve been teaching this class for about eight years, and about four years ago, we added Dwayne Boudreaux with Ref–Chem and John Marshall with Satterfield and Pontikes Construction,” said Matt Daniel, Senior Vice President of Skanska and one of the instructors of the session. “The point of this session, whether you’re a superintendent or project manager, is that everyone has a part to play in the sales process. We teach them about the importance of networking and how to interact with other people in a room where you know no one. We also go over how to make an effective sales call to learn about key issues of the client.”
The session included a mock bid proposal and presentation made to real professionals from each facet of the construction process, including the owner, owner’s representative/project manager and architect. The students took the skills they learned in the lecture portion and applied them first in a networking situation. They were then assigned a mock project, which was titled, “ABC Building Project.”
For this exercise, the students split up into teams and formed a mock construction company. Each team had to come up with a name for their company and engage in sales calls with each of the selected team member panelists who were placed in different rooms at the ABC office to simulate a real office environment. Once their calls were completed, they were tasked with gathering project information, summarizing what they learned, and putting together a project presentation. After the presentation, the selection team panel deliberated and then made a formal award to the company they thought had the best approach based on the key issues that had been discussed in the meetings. This was like a live situation and debriefing session.
“The attendees divided into four groups – each was a construction company shortlisted for a project,” said Alayne Bomba, Marketing Director at Satterfield and Pontikes who substituted for John Marshall. “We had an architect, owner’s representative, and owner join us. Each team had ten minutes to spend with these decision-makers, with the goal of finding out the key issues for the project from the three different perspectives. The teams then had ten minutes to prepare their interview presentation. After the four presentations, the selection committee selected the winning company. It was great, because it paralleled the real life process of winning work.”
“This session from the ABC Leadership Forum was extremely helpful and beneficial to the growth of my career,” says Wendy Arias with D.E. Harvey Builders. “Skanska, Satterfield & Pontikes, and Ref–Chem helped me understand that business development is more than just generating eye-catching flyers, golf and lunches; it’s about the importance of building relationships in order to truly understand your client’s needs. Our team won because our presentation was tailored to focus on the goals they all shared in common, while providing a specific response to their individual needs. Connections, relationships and understanding client’s key issues are vital to the success of our companies.
The next Leadership Forum will take place in January 2020, with registrations available in late fall. To learn more about ABC and the Leadership Forum, visit www.abchouston.org.