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9 min read

SBA 304: BAS Sales Role

By Phil Zito on Dec 6, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Topics: Podcasts

How do you succeed in BAS sales? 

What are the different roles for a BAS sales person?

In this episode we discuss the BAS sales role, what the role does, and how to succeed in sales.

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Phil Zito 0:00
This is the smart buildings Academy podcast with Phil Zito episode 304. Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome to episode 304 of the smart buildings Academy podcast. In this episode we are going to be talking about the BAS sales role. So for the past several weeks now we've been talking about different roles in the building automation field. And this is the last role we're going to be talking about. And then we're going to be moving on to some discussions conveniently, about salespeople, we're going to be talking about different strategies to win you more work, and just make you a more competitive salesperson in the building automation field. Now, this episode, as always, can be found at smart buildings Academy, or rather podcast that smart buildings academy.com For slash 304 Once again, that's podcast that smart buildings Academy, Ford slash or.com Ford slash 3040. My gosh, folks, I'm butchering it today, I'm gonna leave this in just for comedic purposes. You can go like, Oh, my goodness, this guy's done 304 episodes of a podcast, and he still can't get the URL, right? For his own podcast.

Phil Zito 1:12
Oh, my goodness, it's a Monday. So that being said, let's talk about selling building automation systems. What is a BS sales role? Well, there's a couple different types, right? So traditionally, you have inside and outside sales, inside sales is something you typically are going to find more at the product organizations. So these would be folks who go to contractors and get them to carry their products. So they sell to the people who sell their products, as well, as you can see inside sales at Suppliers and distributors once again, selling products to the people who sell the products. So this is more of a understanding product line up and understanding how exactly do I align a product with a problem. And so this role is very solution oriented saying, you know, hey, you've got this kind of project, you've got these project parameters. These are the products I recommend. And here's the order in which I recommend them. That is inside sales and outside sales is more customer direct. And depending on whether you do construction or owner sales, it can require totally different skill sets. So construction sales, you're typically selling to a mechanical contractor, you are bidding projects in what is known as plan and spec work. That's the majority of the work in the construction field. Now there is design build, there's private partner, private public private partnerships, P threes, IDPs. So integrated development projects, there's just a bunch of different types of project delivery models. But at the end of the day, you are selling a project against a most likely pre designed solution. So you're saying okay, there is this design by an engineer for XYZ system in ABC building, and we're going to go and bid it bidding requires you to go and do takeoffs, so you got to be able to read mechanical documents, specifications, etc understand what's going on. And then you've got to create a cost and a design structure for a project. Now on the larger projects, you may have a designer on the sales side, a pre sales engineer, a pre sales designer, who is going to come alongside you and pick the right parts of pieces for your project. Now, you also as I mentioned, have owner sales reps. So owner sales reps sell directly to owners. It's a more relational role. It's more of a problem solving role. And it requires a different level of technical aptitude, whereas construction sales people have to understand construction methodologies, they have to understand Construction Law to a basic degree, contracting how construction works from a design to an execution perspective so that you can appropriately scope design and estimate the projects that they bid. The owner sales rep is more of a hey, I'm coming alongside an owner, I'm going to do digging and problem solving discovery. I'm going to find what problems they have. And then based on those problems, I'm going to sell them service solutions or retrofit solutions in order to go about call solving their issues. So you're selling direct to owner you are often selling to people who are not professional builders. That's just the reality. You know, Gen Con contractor builds hundreds of buildings a year, depending on the size of the general contractor. And an owner may build one building every several years, two decades. So just be cognizant of that, that the level of experience from a contracting and constructing perspective is going to be lower typically on the owner side, but much higher in the field of operations. And as such, you are usually going to be the Smee, the subject matter expert when it comes to executing a retrofit or a service opportunity. Now, there are things like energy conservation projects, there are things like system integration projects, but those are specialties they usually have a very high cost of sales, and they require a fairly experienced salesperson, we're not really going to dive into those in this episode, because while they are big projects, from a percentage of volume, they are a small percentage of the volume of work we do in the industry. So if I were you, and I'm focusing on a sales role, I would focus on owner or construction sales, and then you could laterally move into system integration work or energy conservation work, if you so chose at a later point. So how do you develop the skills to succeed? Well, in order to sell you need to be able to work with people. So you got to be a people person to a point, the most successful sales people I've met are not the, you know, slap happy, Jolly super relational people, they're actually a little introverted. They're very strategic, but they can be outgoing when they need to be. And that seems to work. Well, I've, I will tell you that there are plenty of salespeople are extroverted, and our society and culture make it seem that to be a salesperson, you need to be extroverted. But I think if you dig into the very successful ones, they're actually more strategic in their extraversion in their outgoingness, their strategic and who they connect to. So being strategic, being able to manage time Well being a self starter, self motivated, self organized, because sales roles, you very rarely have direction, unless you're behind plan. If you're behind plan, then you have direction, because everyone is either going to like how'd you till you get to plan or they're gonna fire you. And that's the interesting thing about salespeople, I used to think that we would sell a crazy amount of courses to salespeople, I was like, man, we are going because I'm like sales, people make money. And our courses can help them make money. So we're gonna sell a crazy amount of courses to salespeople. And I was completely wrong. Because the fact is, most organizations, if salesperson doesn't perform, they just fire him. They don't train them, they just fire them and hire someone new. That just seems to be the life of a salesperson, which is kind of disappointing. I think it's a waste of human resources. But you know, it is what it is. So how do you go about developing yourself into a salesperson? Well, first thing you got to do is you got to get yourself to the point where you're comfortable with the decreased income on the front end, for potential unlimited upside on the back end, depending where you work, like our company has unlimited commissions, like once you hit plan, you can keep going about plan and keep earning commissions. Some companies have that some companies cap commissions. I think that's kind of foolish, but it is what it is. So how do you go about this? Well, first you have to accept that you may potentially not be making a whole lot of base salary. A lot of what you do is going to be conditional to you actually selling. So you need to be cognizant of that that is important. Next, I would say that you need to have a baseline technical aptitude of building automation, HVAC and it that way you can understand what customers are asking and you can propose solutions. Next up, you need to, for lack of a better word, you got to understand the environment in which you're selling, whether it's construction, whether its owner, and what vertical market you're selling in. So you need to focus on these things.

Phil Zito 9:28
You know, there's a lot of processes that can be put in place to how do you do take offs? How do you build an estimate? I'm not going to teach you that here. You can learn that for example, in our scoping and estimating course we teach that, but that's usually taught to you what you're going to struggle to find taught is tenacity and level of effort. I feel that anyone can be successful in sales, if they have tenacity level of effort and a baseline personality that people like you don't have to be, you know, loved by everyone. But you have to be, you know, at least at a baseline likable, you combine that with really, really just hard work. And realizing that at least for the first couple years, you're going to have to really work hard on building out your pipeline. And that's going to be, you know, establishing relationships with customers, you're going to be repeat buyers, understanding the market in which you work, what verticals are growing, which verticals are shrinking, what your competition does well, which your competition doesn't do well, so you can take advantage of that. As well as understanding gaps in the market that you can address potentially with your solution. If you figure those things out, and you work harder than everyone else, you will most likely be successful in a sales role. So there Yeah, not much more to it. I wish I could give you some like magical insight on it. But there's so many books written about sales, I would just be regurgitating stuff that you could read yourself. The reality is at the end of the day, it's a very fulfilling role. But it is a role that is very unforgiving. Unlike I hate to say this, but I like being a technical role, you can often fake it till you make it in sales, the monetary numbers aren't going to lie. And so the reality is, if you don't make your numbers fair fairly quickly, you're going to get like go and that's one of the stresses, I would say that is the biggest stress about sales in building automation, or in any field is just getting up to speed on sales. So I would understand like, what pipeline? Are you walking into? What's the market look like? Is it trending up or trending down? Can you even be successful in the market, I would argue you can be successful in almost any market. But there is a reality point to that which is like, if you're in the middle of nowhere, it is going to be kind of hard to meet a crazy large plan when there's just simply no construction and no projects going on. So be aware of that and just be cognizant of that as you approach a sales role. Alright, if you have any questions like always, let us know. And in our next episode, we are going to start diving into specifically sales, what salespeople need no sales strategy and just hopefully give you all some information that by this time next year, you'll have a much bigger pipeline, you will have a lot more business closed. And if you're on the technical side, you can use this to kind of secure more work for you and your technical teams as well. So thanks, Tom for listening, and I'll see you in the next episode.

Phil Zito

Written by Phil Zito

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