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Hiring the Right People for your Construction Business

February 1, 2022
Gregg Wallick

Gregg Wallick is the CEO of the large, successful commercial roofing company, Best Roofing, based in South Florida. He received his BBA and MBA from the University of Miami where he was the captain of the Miami Hurricanes football team. Gregg has been a second-generation roofing contractor since 1978. In this blog, Gregg shares his tips and best practices around hiring the right people for your construction business.

Through Gregg’s career, he has learned that it’s easier to teach roofing than it is to teach people how to behave. It’s recommended to hire based on character and then train the individual. Worry less about how much experience they have and more about who that person is.  

Bobby Bowden was one of the greatest college football coaches. A few years ago, during an interview, Bobby was asked about his secret to his success. His response was, “it’s 80% recruiting and gathering the right players on the field and 20% good coaching and good planning.”

The same applies to your business. You have to put the right people on the field and have the right players representing your organization. You really define your success by who you hire, to a certain extent.  

Hunters and Farmers

Hunters and Farmers

Gregg believes that there are two types of salespeople: hunters and farmers. We’re not saying that either one is right. It just depends on what kind of business you have.

A hunter is someone who’s likely going to go out and find you new business while a farmer is likely going to maintain your existing clients and help them grow. Let’s break down the characteristics of these two types of salespeople.

Hunters are really good at bagging big jobs. They take charge, are aggressive, competitive, and have an entrepreneurial spirit. Hunters are very hungry. They tend to be loners but can also be disruptive in your organization.

Farmers are the kind of people that cultivate relationships. They let things develop and ask their clients, “So what do you think?” Farmers are collaborative and good team players. These individuals tend to be softer and nurture relationships – much like watering a plant and letting it grow.  

So, what type of salesperson does your organization need? For Gregg, he has both hunters and farmers working for his commercial roofing business. Farmers are especially prominent in Gregg’s service department at Best Roofing. For his service department, there’s no selling going on. The sale took place the first time they did the project and now they’re just maintaining the relationship. But he also needs new business coming in and new clients, which is where his hunters come in to play on his sales team.  

Prepare a Written Job Description

The next component of building a successful construction sales organization is to have a written job description for every position within your company. For sales, you need to define what markets you’re going to go after and who you want your salespeople to pursue. It’s important to define the responsibilities and set clear expectations while identifying essential competencies. Understand what kind of skills the person who’s representing you should uphold.

Here’s how you can format all your job descriptions:

  1. Start with a statement or objective of what’s expected.  
  1. Clearly define the duties and responsibilities.
  1. Describe the reporting structure. (Who do you report to)
  1. List the experience and skills required
  1. State the salary range

Stating the salary range is crucial for your job description. It’s important to get the salary ranges and everything spelled out right up front. Nothing can ruin a good relationship faster than a dispute over money.

Hiring the Right People for your Construction Business

Compensation Drives Behavior

Gregg is a firm believer that compensation drives behavior. There’s not one particular compensation program that is best for your organization. The right compensation plan is going to depend heavily on the culture of your company and how you go to market.

There are certain companies that are successful with commission only. When you have a commission only salesperson, they’re going to be very loyal to themselves and their clients. However, it’s highly unlikely that they will be as loyal to you because they are only getting paid when they sell.

There’s the salary plus commission plan which could be the right fit for certain kinds of cultures and companies.

Next, there’s the straight salary which is typically a good fit for someone who is more on the farmer side where they are servicing existing clients, not bringing in new business, or they’re working on sales that have a very long selling cycle.  

There’s the salary plus bonus compensation structure where people are likely going to be more loyal to the company because they don’t have to sweat over whether or not they’ll get a commission check to feed their families.  

The compensation program that you choose for your organization will depend on the culture of your company and how you go to market.  

How Do You Find the Right People?

Next, you’ll want to make sure you find the right people for your organization. It’s a tough market out there. Sometimes, you need to target your competition to find the right fit.

Another successful way to find a good fit for your company is through your existing staff. Gregg typically finds his best salespeople through his existing staff and even offers a bounty for his staff members who give his company a referral.  

Networking is always a great way to find good employees for your organization.

Hiring the Right People for your Construction Business

Social media is another wonderful source for staffing. Leveraging platforms like LinkedIn is a great way to build connections and find potential new staff.

Traditional media could work for your business depending on your target audience but typically, this is an outdated outlet for reaching potential new staff.

Associations are one outlet that can be leveraged when finding the right people for your business.

Last, depending on the size of your business, you could leverage headhunters to help attract the right fit for your company. However, this might not be the most cost-effective method when you could post a job listing through LinkedIn or Indeed and access prospects internally.

Behavior Assessments

Behavior assessments are key when it comes to finding the right people for your company. Fifty percent of forecasted sales are lost due to sales force turnover. Sales force turnover is usually where the greatest turnover is in most organizations.

Best Roofing has ten salespeople on their sales team plus five estimators, so that gives them a team of fifteen individuals. Best Roofing got tremendously serious about hiring the right people and making sure they had a good compensation program in place.

Why Use a Personality Assessment Tool?

Personality assessment tools help you understand how somebody is wired and what kind of work style they have. It helps identify specific talents and behaviors, their ideal work environment, and provides managers with keys to motivation and management. Personality assessments also help you identify areas for improvement and what their weaknesses are.  

Remember, we’re not in the behavior modification business. In the roofing business, you shouldn’t be looking to change and modify behavior. You should be looking to put people in positions where they can be successful. Understanding what somebody’s weaknesses are allows you to identify what positions they do, or do not, belong in. Don’t try and make them into something they’re not.  

One way to look at it is – don't think you can take somebody who’s a good offensive lineman and put them out as a wide receiver and expect them to catch a lot of balls. They’re not wired for that. It’s important to put people in positions where they can be successful.

Disc Personality Assessment Tool

The Disc Personality Assessment tool is something Gregg leverages when hiring the right people. This tool reveals strengths and weaknesses, actual behavior, and tendencies towards certain behaviors. Most people are either outgoing or reserved. They’re either people-oriented or task-oriented.

There are four basic personality profiles: dominance, influencer, compliance, and steadiness. Typically, everybody falls somewhere in between.  

Hiring the Right People for your Construction Business

The disc personality assessment is a 15-minute multiple choice test taken online. Below, you will find Gregg’s personality profile based on this tool:

Hiring the Right People for your Construction Business

You’ll see those four characteristics listed at the top: Dominance, influencing, steadiness, and compliance. The line down the middle of the graphic is going to determine if it’s a strong characteristic. Gregg tends to fall into the dominance category. He’s driving, ambitious, pioneering, etc. He’s also a good influencer. He’s not the steadiest person. You’ll notice based on these results that Gregg, he’s impatient and not very compliant, but that’s who he is.  

Hiring the Right People for your Construction Business

You’ll notice this test was taken back in 2008 but Gregg has taken this test a handful of times since then and it still comes out about the same every single time. The graphic above is referred to as “the success wheel.” This shows Gregg’s natural personality as a conductor persuader. His adapted characteristic is that he’s a conductor. Under pressure, leans more towards the dominant personality trait.

Gregg believes that if you’re not a conductor, persuader, or promoter, you don’t belong in sales. If you’re in business development, you should be looking for a promotor or a persuader. If you’re hiring an estimator, you should be looking for an analyzer. If you’re looking for someone to work in the field, you’ll want to look for someone who’s a coordinator or supporter.

It’s crucial to conduct this test so you know that they’re wired to do the job you’re asking them to do. Of course, there are exceptions when it comes to these traits and selecting the right candidate but overall, if somebody is wired to do a particular job, they are a lot more likely to do a better job at it than someone who’s not.

Gregg is such a believer in this tool, he even had his wife take this test before they got married and shared his results with her as well, allowing for complete transparency.

Have a Prepared List of Questions

Next, you’ll want to make sure you have a prepared list of questions before you start interviewing someone. Ask them:  

  • “What would be the perfect role for you?”  
  • “Who was your best boss and why?”  

If you’re going to be the boss, you want to know what they’re expecting from you and how you can be effective with them.  

  • “How do you organize your priorities? What tools do you use to help?”
  • “Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why?”
  • “What is your greatest skill/asset you would bring to the organization?”
  • “What’s the most significant personal accomplishment that you’ve had?”
  • “What’s the most professional accomplishment that you’ve had?”

Past performance predicts future performance.  

Hiring the Right People for your Construction Business

Followup CRM

Growing your construction company starts with hiring the right people but doesn’t end there. You need the right construction software to help you track your leads, manage bids, and track your pipeline. Followup CRM gives you all the tools you need to streamline your sales process and grow your construction business. To learn more about the #1 CRM for construction, schedule a live demo today.  

About Gregg Wallick

Gregg Wallick is the Founder at Followup CRM. Also, the CEO of Best Roofing, Gregg faced some great challenges managing a roofing business when the recession hit in 2008. After hiring a professional sales coach, Gregg realized they did not have a set sales process in place and they were not leveraging a CRM to track sales activities. This sparked an idea that led Gregg to design a cloud-based CRM that standardized the selling process, was easy to use and helped with accountability. That’s when Followup CRM was born and is still growing and evolving as we continue to improve the system, add more integrations and new features.  

Gregg graduated from the University of Miami where he earned his BBA and MBA. He also served as an assistant football coach at UM for two seasons while attending graduate school. Fun fact: Gregg has a pet mongoose!

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