Melton Construction has project development managers on its staff, avoiding the title “salesperson” because owner Ty Melton thinks the term has a negative connotation.
Credit: Rhonda Mulder
MEET AND GREET: After handling sales duties for most of 2009, Ty Melton, owner of Melton Brothers, in Boulder, Colo., recently hired a salesperson to take on those duties. In 2008, when the company was bringing in $4.5 million, Melton had two salespeople. He eliminated those positions in 2009, but the company was projecting $3 million for 2010, so Melton decided to reinstate two sales positions. With 2.5 salespeople (Melton still handles some sales), the company is on track for $4.2 million in 2011.
When it came to hiring a salesperson, Melton wasn’t looking for someone with a design background; the company already has an in-house architect and a kitchen and bath designer. A friend suggested Melton talk to Josh Fiester, who had been a project manager for commercial projects and was getting ready to start his own construction company. Melton saw Fiester’s potential for strong sales and for bringing in leads and convinced him that he could earn his goal salary and grow with Melton. Fiester’s role, Melton says, is “meeting and greeting, and convincing [homeowners] that Melton Construction has the tools to execute their construction project quickly, effectively, on time, and on budget.”
SELLING SKILLS: Andrew Shore, owner of Sea Pointe Construction, in Irvine, Calif., laid off two salespeople in 2009, but then hired three salespeople over the course of 2010 because he is finding that although homeowners are showing more interest, they’re slow to make decisions. “We needed a little more professional selling skill,” he says. Previously, Shore sought sales staff with a design background. But after the recession he began to focus on candidates with sales experience, knowing that he can provide the design support. One of his salespeople has a background in window sales, the other two have commercial construction and real estate experience.
HIT THOSE GOALS: For Marrokal Design & Remodeling, in San Diego, Lori Bryan, company vice president and COO, says that the firm had some salesforce turnover it had to address, but that it hired two new salespeople and moved a kitchen designer and project manager into sales as well. The main goal: reach specific sales targets and improve the closing ratio.
However, Bryan says Marrokal Construction tried unsuccessfully to hire salespeople and to then teach them design. The company now looks for salespeople with an architectural background. “We’re bringing on people who are passionate about design and architecture,” Bryan says.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.