The Art Of Construction Selling: Focus On Relationships, Win More Projects With Tom Reber

COGE Tom Reber | Construction Selling


Many salespeople in the construction space often see themselves as builders instead of sellers. Because of this mindset, many fall short of achieving success in construction selling as they are only focusing on low-hanging fruits. Eric Anderton sits down with Tom Reber, Founder of The Contractor Fight, to discuss the best strategies for winning more projects. He explains how to get rid of your mediocre sales tactics and focus on genuine relationship-building approaches to become an elite salesperson. Tom also discusses the right way to leverage networking events, why salespeople should learn how to ask the tough questions, and the massive benefits of taking care of yourself.

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The Art Of Construction Selling: Focus On Relationships, Win More Projects With Tom Reber

I’ve been in sales all my life and whether you realize it or not, you have as well. My guest in this episode is Tom Reber. He is an entrepreneur, coach, HGTV Host, and Founder of The Contractor Fight. He coaches and advises business owners and CEOs on how to sell unafraid, build stronger teams, and scale their businesses profitably. We’re going to have a great time here talking about sales.

I’m laughing because a lot of what Tom says, I tell my clients all the time. Whether you are selling highly complex large construction projects or smaller deals, whatever the case is, the wisdom and the insight that Tom has will help you immediately move the needle in terms of your sales efforts. You need to read this blog. You need to pay attention to the simple but profound wisdom that is shared. If you do and get your people to read it as well, you’re selling will improve. Let’s not waste any more time. Let’s dive into my discussion with Tom.

Tom, welcome to the show.

Eric, thanks for having me. How are you doing?

I’m very well. Thank you. You’re passionate about construction and helping people to overcome mediocrity. One area that you focus on is sales. I think it’s something that contractors often miss. They don’t see themselves as salespeople. They don’t see the value of it. They see themselves as builders and they’re waiting for something to happen. You have this phrase about the Google Gods. Tell us about the Google Gods.

I love this topic because I think there’s so much low-hanging fruit for the average contractor tuning into this and their sales teams. There’s so much opportunity there. Most salespeople and business owners expect the Google Gods to drop worms into their little baby bird mouths in the nest. They are like, “Feed me.” You hire the marketing company and you’re ticked off at them when the phone isn’t ringing as much as you think it should.

We can unpack all that but one of the things we talk about a lot in The Fight, the workshops that I do, and the keynotes I give is what is the true cost of allowing mediocre sales days in your organization. I’m writing a book that’s coming out in 2024 called Sell Unafraid and it’s about unleashing your sales success through personal discipline.

If you want to go from mediocre, an average, to an elite salesperson, it’s going to come down to your daily disciplines and how you approach your time. Way above and beyond the scripts, the word tracks, the objection handling, and things, there’s a lot of opportunity to be on the hunt instead of being a waiter or a baby bird.

Let’s talk about that because you hit on some things that are near and dear to my heart having been in sales for all of my life. What distinguishes a high-performing salesperson from a mediocre salesperson?

It’s how you choose to show up each day. Are you bringing your best with your controllable actions each and every day? There are a lot of demands on a salesperson. There are quotas to meet and all those things. I know I’ve made mistakes in years past where I focus on the result instead of focusing on the steps each day that are going to get me closer to that result.

For instance, there’s a thing that we call Unexpected Intentional Touch. We call them UITs in our world. A UIT is nothing more than taking your phone and sending a text or a quick little video to somebody. This is not a mass email thing. It could be a phone call. I don’t care but it is a personal touch. Eric, if I built something for you a year ago and I’m going to intentionally text, call, or video for 30 seconds and go, “Eric, it’s time with ABC Construction. I was thinking about that project we did for you last year. How’s it looking? Hit me back and let me know.”

It could be that simple. Every time I talk to a group of people live, I have them take their phone out and I have them send one. Literally, before I got to the stage, a guy raised his hand and said, “I sold $15,000 while we’re sitting here.” It’s because as you know, we do so much as salespeople to court people into the relationship and doing business with us. We then close the deal, look for the next one, and miss all the low-hanging fruit that’s in our database already.

Salespeople court people into the relationship of doing business with them only to miss the low-hanging fruit already in their database. Share on X

You know all the stats about how much more likely somebody is to give you money if they’ve already done it before because the trust is there and stuff. I found that there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in your database in the people that already know you. I have a GC that does this. He does three a day every weekday of the year. He sends three of these messages out like clockwork.

He could be sitting at his doctor’s appointment waiting to go in and see the doctor. He’ll send one and go, “Joe, it’s Bob. I wanted to check in on the garage we built for you last year,” or whatever. It’s a conversation. The goal is not to sell something. The goal is to stay on their radar and to let them know that you still care. Salespeople in general are terrible at that because we’re always on to the next kill. He sold over $1 million in twelve months by simply sending three of these a day out that generated conversations.

I swear on everything that is dear to me in my life. We set our big event in Denver. I’m giving the example of Bob selling $1 million. I’m on the stage and he’s off to my left. I’m like, “Bob thanks for letting me share this.” He’s like, “Go for it.” I got done with my opening talk. I walked off the stage and I gave Bob a hug. I go, “Thanks for letting me share your story.” He goes, “You’re not going to believe this.” I go, “What?” He goes, “We just sold another $130,000 from one of these while you were on the stage.” That’s one example of a daily discipline that is super simple to implement that most salespeople won’t do because we’re always on to the next thing.

I’m the president of my company. I’m a builder and I feel a little cheesy about doing this kind of stuff. How do you help someone who is not in sales directly, but if you’re the president of the company, you’re in sales every single day? How do you help someone who feels a little cheesy doing this?

I back it up and I’m like, “Do you care about your customers?” I don’t mean to make this like a pitch fest or a book that’s not even out yet but there’s a chapter called Do You Still Care About Me? It’s like my wife. I courted her. I won her over. I bought her flowers. When we got married, it’d be ridiculous of me to stop doing those things. It’s the same with our customers.

This whole aspect of picturing everybody with a sign. I think it was in How To Win Friends & Influence People years ago. It was the first time that I heard it. One of our coaches uses this all the time. Whenever he talks to a human being, he pictures a sign around their neck that says, “Make me feel important,” and you just approach it like that. Your salespeople should be doing this. You as the CEO should be doing it. Your office manager, when he or she has downtime can send some of these out. Collectively, it adds up a lot, and here’s why.

Let’s talk math because I know you’re readers care about the math of the business. I’ve been doing workshops and coaching on sales for years. I’m working with tons of companies. I found that the average salesperson has two mediocre sales days a week. It means they’re not sending the UITs. I’m not even talking about inking a deal because I understand that some projects are bigger.

COGE Tom Reber | Construction Selling
Construction Selling: The average salesperson usually has two mediocre sales days a week.


I’m talking about building a new connection with an influencer, prospecting, and all those different things, or however you want to fill that in. What are those things that we have control over? Two average sales days a week. If I go 50 weeks a year times 2, the last I checked, that’s 100 days that are mediocre. It gets better, Eric. There are about 264 sales days a year when you take out holidays and weekends and all that other stuff.

If you divide 100 by 264, that’s almost 38% of your available sales days you’re not showing up with discipline and controlling what you control. If your sales rep has a goal of $2 million and if I divide it by 264, that’s $7,575 a day times 100 days that he’s mediocre. He’s missing out at least $750,000. Again, I understand there are buying cycles and things like that but that’s how I reframe this to go, “Every day that I choose in that math example to not send the UITs, not prospect, not do the things, not role play and train, and those types of things is a day of allowed myself to be among the average.” It’s costing me at least $7,000, $8,000, or $10,000 a day when I do that. You then calculate your commissions and all that garbage.

What are some very simple ways for someone to reduce two days of mediocrity to maybe half a day of mediocrity? How can you start to make progress there?

We have a philosophy in The Contractor Fight that success is an inside-out game. I want you to picture dropping a rock into a lake. Where that rock hit is the very center of the universe to us, and that’s what we call “Get Oxygen” as an individual. I take care of my body. I take care of my mind. I eat right. I sleep well. I take care of myself. It’s the old stupid airplane example. You have to have your oxygen first. The next ring out is what we call “Your People.” It means my immediate family because another thing that goes along with this is that success starts at home.

Every day of the week, year-round, my wife and I have a date, which is an example. It could be fifteen minutes of a walk. It could be a glass of wine in the back where we’re connecting. It could be a full-on date. It could be bath time. It could be a number of things but we get time every day to do that. The next ring out is “Build your Empire.” Most business owners especially have that flipped. They make the business the center of the universe all in the name of taking care of the people they love and they neglect the people. They put themselves last.

The starting place to start eliminating mediocre days is to set a standard for yourself or what I call a code of conduct of how I’m going to approach each day. I’m going to take care of myself. I’m going to take care of my people at home and the people in our company too. We’re then going to work on the business tasks. There’s the old saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”

I’m showing up with consistency in taking care of myself. I’m not talking about going to be a bodybuilder, CrossFitting, or something like that but are you doing the best you can do without excuse regardless of how you feel and the field conditions to get oxygen take care of your people, and then build your empire? I think people will be so surprised how quickly the sales results turn around when you work on you first.

There are three words when it comes to this because you’re right there. We’re talking about taking care of ourselves and I think about nutrition, sleep, and exercise. With nutrition, moderation is the key. With sleep, sufficiency is the key. You know how much sleep you need and you got to get it. With exercise, it’s consistency. Again, no one is getting a six-pack ab around here anymore but we need to be focused on that consistent exercise so that we do have that inner circle taken care of. That’s excellent.

How much sleep do you get?

I’m a seven-hours-a-night guy. If I get seven, I’m good. If I’m less than seven, then I’m not good.

I’m 8 to 9. There used to be a time when I was 4 or 5. I was curious how much you slept because I see the value in it. We ordered this thing called the OOLER to cool off your bed. We have a Sleep Number bed and you put this OOLER and it cools it off so you sleep better or whatever.

I want to make a point here that Tom is making that’s important for people reading. I know a lot of guys in construction. I’m like, “You all are out of shape. You don’t take care of yourselves.” You think, “I don’t have time. I’m running a $50 million, $60 million, or $70 million company.” I think Tom nails it. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of your people and your empire is going to suffer so you need to pay attention to that.

Eric, it’s funny. When I worked solely with a CEO at that level, in our very first conversation, I asked two questions. Tell me about how you’re taking care of your body and your health and when was the last time you took your wife on a date? It’s because success is an inside-out game and it starts at home. I personally believe it because I’ve seen it. I made millions, I’ve been bankrupt, and I’ve made millions. I’ve been on every end of this thing. I can tell you from personal experience that for me, my business will only be as strong as I am and my relationships at home.

It’s because of who I am at home, my health, and the stuff, I take with me everywhere, and that impacts every area of my life. As you know, success is inconvenient. Success doesn’t care how you feel now. Sales and running a business are a high stamina game. I heard a stat that running a multi-million-dollar business as a CEO is the equivalent of the mental and physical exertion of being a professional athlete. There’s something out there in the world that I wish I could cite and that’s why I believe it’s so important that you take care of yourself.

Let’s go back to specifically the idea of selling. I have this phrase that has always stuck in my head. “I cannot control productivity, but I can control activity. If I focus on quality activity, then the productivity will come.” If you buy into that, what do you think the difference is between quality activity and mediocre activity?

It’s being a student of your time and its effectiveness. We have this crazy metric that we track called ESR or Effective Sales Rate. Its dollars sold in a time period divided by hours spent in the sales process. It could be prospecting, following up, standing in front of somebody on the site, putting in a proposal, or whatever it is. You divide that and it gives you a number. It could be $3,000, $40,000, or whatever it is. We found that the higher the number, the more efficient you are and the better you’re using your time.

To dumb it down, it’s, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” If I’m part of some networking group or whatever you want to call it and it’s X amount of hours in a week or a month and I’ve been tracking this stuff, we have a problem. In the example of Bob and so many others, when they take literally 5 to 10 minutes a day to send UITs out and it brings back $1 million or more a year, that’s a pretty good use of time.

We want to make sure we’re spending the bulk of our time on that 20% of the stuff that drives the biggest results. I think that’s where most people don’t track. They’re busy. They’re like, “I got to do this, I got to do that.” They’re busy running around because they feel like, “If I’m busy, I must be working.” This has been a big shift for me in the last several years or decade probably. I used to say, “The more activity I could throw against the wall, the better.” I shifted that with the understanding that not all activities that I have control over are equal.

COGE Tom Reber | Construction Selling
Construction Selling: Salespeople must spend the bulk of their time on the things that drive the biggest results.


Let me ask you. You mentioned something there that I think is important to go after and that’s networking events. What advice do you have for construction company salespeople in terms of picking the networking events they go to or do you think that networking events are a total waste of time?

I think you could answer that with it depends. It depends on what’s the group and is your ideal client more likely to be there or what we call influencers. If I’m a painting contractor, my influencers are going to be developers, building inspectors, or whatever. It’s the people who know my ideal client who might be a facility manager. I think, “Is that association or group connected to the influencers of my ideal client, or my ideal clients are there?”

Part two of that is I think most salespeople jump into a networking group and then they take on the baby bird thing. They are like, “I’m in this group. Give me a lead and connection.” If you go in going, “I’m going to play the long game here and give this thing two years where I’m going to give. I’m going to get on a committee.”

We had this thing back in Naperville, Illinois when I lived in Illinois called Ribfest. It’s this big huge thing they have. The Rotary Club at that time was all the business owners. He joined the Rotary Club and this committee where they poured beer at the beer garden every year at Ribfest. He got to know the other businesses and was closing deals left and right because he was giving and he was serving in the thing. He never had to ask for it or to be the annoying salesperson.

I had another friend. He was one of my competitors who was getting the inside scoop on all these big commercial painting projects that I didn’t even know were out for bid because he was on a committee. I think it’s having that play the long game mentality, and as human beings, we want the quickest. We want to join the thing and get the check but that’s sadly not how it works all the time.

The idea of successful networking is number one, you’ve got to make sure that your target market is involved in some way in that networking group or at least influencers of that target market. The second thing is you’ve got to commit to the long game. The third thing is you’ve got to commit to giving without the expectation of immediately receiving back.

It’s about earning confidence. When you’re going to do business with somebody or refer somebody, you’re putting your neck on the line. If you’re going to refer another company like you and I have through the years, more than getting a finder’s fee or any of that garbage, you want to make sure they don’t damage your brand. You have to earn confidence over time. I think showing up to some monthly meetings, shaking hands, and handing out cards doesn’t earn confidence. It’s being together with people whether it’s charitable causes or whatever it might be.

When making business referrals, make sure you do it more than getting a finder’s fee. You must ensure they will not damage your brand in any way. Share on X

Let me ask you this. Tell us a story of someone that you’ve worked with who is struggling. They were frankly a mediocre salesperson and they made a couple of key changes that helped them to go from mediocre to high-performing. Can you describe that a little bit?

I got hundreds that I could think up here. Somebody else I’m talking about is another general contractor who changed the game. He 5X or 7X-ed his business in a three-year period of time and it came down to three core pillars. Number one, we dug back into making sure he was confident in his numbers.

Do you mean the numbers he was bidding for?

Yeah. I believe that the higher your gross profit, the easier it is to have a high net profit. When you understand what it costs to produce the thing you cost or do and then you tie all the risk to it like the risk to property, to people, and all these different things, it’s ridiculous how cheap contractors work for when you figure all that. He set some standards that he wasn’t going to go below a certain margin on his gross problem and if he did, he wasn’t doing the job.

When you have confidence in your numbers, you’re not the growling salesperson who needs the job. That is number one. Number two is he dug into what we call “selling unafraid” and that’s a strong pre-qualification process before you run out there. I understand. Commercial is a lot different than the residential world but you can still have a pre-qualifying company.

COGE Tom Reber | Construction Selling
Construction Selling: When you have confidence in your numbers, you’re not the growling salesperson who needs the job.


Eric, you call me up to build that airplane hangar and I’m going to dig into your motive of what’s important to you. It’s usually an emotional thing. The motive is step one of our process. It is emotion. You don’t want the airplane hangar. Why do you want to drill bit? You want a hole but why do you want a hole? You want to hang your kids’ picture on it. There’s a deeper connection that I think most salespeople don’t get to.

The third part is focusing on getting the right eyeballs on your business. That’s a huge area that Kevin, the guy I’m thinking of, focused on what story are we telling the world about our brain? I think salespeople in general are not using these little supercomputer movie studios that we have to their full capacity of showing us who you are.

I’m not talking before and after. There’s a commercial painting contractor out of Ohio. He’s on LinkedIn. His name’s Steve Spinelli. He’s a good buddy and has been a part of our staff. Steve did a video on LinkedIn where it was a Saturday. He’s like, “We got to keep this project moving. I’ve been out of the field for years, but I came in now. I volunteered to come spray all these door frames on this day because we don’t want to hold things up.”

On Sunday, he goes live on the video and he’s like, “I’m back. I came to check on my work. It is not very good.” It’s like he’d lost his skills a little. You’re the owner. You’re out of the field. He’s like, “I came in to check my work and what I’ve realized is I wouldn’t stand for this if one of my guys did it. I need to fix this now. I’m going to sand down all these frames and reshoot them so I don’t hold up the GC on Monday morning.”

It’s things like that where you’re showing us. You could tell us you have integrity all day, but that’s how I think a lot of salespeople and companies can do a better job on social of showing us who you are. He had another video he did where he got out and said, “I had an opportunity to do this massive paint project for a new customer and I had to say no to him because if I had accepted that, it would have been an issue, a domino effect down the line with some of our already amazing clients that we have and commitments that we’ve made.”

You know what it’s like turning things down like that. It’s funny. I texted him about this. He’s like, “You’re not going to believe this. After I posted that, the main company that I kept my commitments to and didn’t screw up their schedules because I said no to something called me. They said, ‘We saw your video. We have another $350,000 project for you.’”

It’s confidence in numbers, selling unafraid, and working. This is what I mean when I kid around about the baby birds thing. If salespeople would show us who they are and the situations you’re running into on a job. Show us who you are in the community, you’re a father, you coach a Little League, and all these things to help get the right eyeballs. Those three things combined together will move the needle quickly because it makes you stand out. You’re uncommon.

One of the phrases that I like to think a lot about in terms of selling that I think everyone needs to adopt is the idea of kings talking to kings. That goes back to your confidence piece. If I’m doing the work necessary from a sales perspective, I am never desperate. I never have to go in there on my hands and knees saying, “Please give me this job.” I can go in there with a sense of confidence and real clarity about what I need to do for my business and the right type of client I need to be working with and make my say my selling decisions based on that.

I’ve said it for years. The two most important words in business are clarity and consistency. Be clear on what you want and consistent on the stuff that it takes to get you there every day and chip away. It’s because we’re compounding towards something every day. You have to make sure it’s the intentional thing you want to be compounding for. As you said, when you’re clear on your numbers, what your ideal client, your perfect project, and what you’re not ideal project looks like, and you can say no with confidence, it opens up space for so many other things to come your way.

Let me ask you a question here just pivoting a little bit. Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve been working with one of your clients and they’ve been bidding on a large project or whatever size it is for them? However, for them, let’s say it’s a large project to maybe a complex process. It comes to awarding the project and it gets awarded to the competition. They come in and they say, “Tom, I put blood, sweat, and tears into this but it got awarded to someone. The guy who made the decision, I didn’t even know the dude who made the decision. I didn’t know who the final decision-maker was.” Does that ever happen?

Yeah. It’s happened to me. Again, that’s where it’s so important to have a strong pre-qualification conversation. I only know our approach to this. Step one is motive. It’s like, “Why do you want to build the thing?” You create that emotional connection. Most salespeople won’t do that. They won’t lead with empathy, enthusiasm, and the right questions. They won’t shut their mouths long enough to hear what’s important to people.

Usually, those emotional motives are rooted in embarrassment, fear, and those other things. Once I got the motive, I’m now going to say, “Eric, based on what you’re telling me about this project, I got 1 or 2 ways that we can approach this. We could go blow the roof off this thing in every way and go big and crazy. We could build this thing for you that’ll be the talk of the town. It’ll be in every trade magazine.” Let’s say you’re building an auto dealership or something. “Everyone is going to model it after you. We’re looking at $30 million to $40 million or we could come in, not go all crazy bells and whistles, and build you everything that you want based on what we talked about for $20 million or $25 million. Which of those conversations does it make sense for us to have?”

They’re going to tell you their budget right there. If you go, “What’s your budget?” most people lie or they play the game. They’re like, “I don’t know. We’ve never built a thing like this before,” or whatever. Now you’re going to move to step three and I can skip it for right now. Step four is what we call influencers. Who are the influencers in the deal? You go, “Tom, we’re not going to do the $40 million project but we were thinking it was going to be $20 million, $25 million, $30 million, or something like that. If we came back with the design that you wanted and we were in that range, what would happen next?”

“We’d have to run it through so and so in this and that.” “Would it make sense to have a conversation with them?” Another question might be, “Who else is excited to do this project that we need to get on board and make sure that we’re talking the right numbers?” Do you know how many times salespeople and estimators put projects together and the time that’s eaten away when it could be solved by having a conversation up front where, “That’s never going to fly in our world so don’t even bother.” I’d rather not even bid on the thing than spend so much time on it.

I like your framing of the budget question there. That’s excellent because instead of asking, “What’s your budget?” you’re framing it for them and letting them tell you in a more natural way. The other one that’s so important and a lot of salespeople feel a resistance to asking the question is around that idea of who besides yourself is involved in the final decision. What can salespeople do to overcome that internal resistance they feel to asking the tough questions or maybe the uncomfortable questions?

It’s getting in the habit of doing uncomfortable things factor. It’s what I said about, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” As ridiculous as this sounds and I have more after this, the first place is, “Am I holding myself to that personal code of conduct? I don’t miss a workout. I’m home for 5:00 for dinner when I said I was going be home.” When you truly commit to being that type of person who does inconvenient things, that’s step one.

Step two is practice. When I was in the Marine Corps, we went to the rifle range. What does a pro-golfer do? They go to the driving range. A baseball player gets in the batter’s box. Most salespeople don’t role-play. They don’t put themselves in uncomfortable situations. We have a group coaching program where every weekday of the year, unless it’s a holiday, we have a live sales training role-play call with our coaches. We’ll have 50, 60, or 100 members on the thing all role playing and learning. Within the community outside of that call, they roleplay with each other all the time.

The whole goal is going, “Eric, I struggle with this objection, this part of the sales process, or asking this. You said the tough questions so I want you to turn the screws on me on this. Push me to be uncomfortable so that when it comes game time, you’ve been there before.” Now you’re not all panicked and puckered up and, in the corner, freaking out.

What is your opinion on scripting sales presentations and how effective is that? Should I do it and all that kind of stuff?

If you have scripted sales presentations and it’s working for you and you’re hitting your targets and your goals then I go, “Good.” Let’s not fix something that’s not broken. However, I’m more of a fan of frameworks than I am of scripts. I have my go-to word tracks and things like that. If somebody says, “That’s too much money.” “That’s interesting, Eric. What makes you say that?” Instead of me being on the defensive, make them justify why they think it’s so much money. That’s one of my go-to’s. It’s done with the correct clarity and not what I just did.

You have to have some frameworks around information that you need and it comes with practice and training. You can build those. You can tell when somebody is totally scripted. You can tell when somebody doesn’t care. You need some scripts and word tracks as a starting point, but that’s where role-playing comes in where you make them your own over time and you add your own style.

It is easy to tell when a salesperson is following a script, and they don’t really care. It is better to have some framework around the information you are presenting. Share on X

Humor is one of my things when I used to sell. I had this builder I was going after. It took me fourteen months to land the builder back in the early 2000s. The first time I cold-called the office, the lady at the desk was like, “The only way any other painting contractor is getting in here is if Albert died. He’s been with us for twenty years or whatever it’s been.” I’m like, “All right.” I left my stuff and I was gone.

My framework is I’m going to keep showing up. That’s one of my frameworks. Be consistent and be like a bad rash until they deal with me. I’d see one of their trucks. I leave a folder or a card on it. I drive by their office, I’d stop in and talk to the old lady at the desk again, or whatever. I’d stop on their job sites and into the office for fourteen months.

What had happened was that every time I’d stop into the office, the elevator would open. It would ding and out of the elevator, you turn right and that was her desk. Every time she heard the ding, she’d look up. We did this cat-and-mouse game where every time I came out of the elevator, I would peek around the corner and she’d see my head peek around and I’d smile. I’d go, “Did Albert die?” That became our thing.

That’s where you got to be you. You take this framework, word tracks, and stuff but you can only get to that level of mastery by repetition and practice. There are four levels to learning a new skill. There’s unconscious incompetence. You stink at it and you don’t know it. You also have some awareness and now you have conscious incompetence. It’s like, “I know I’m not good at this thing. Now I’m working on it.” Now I have conscious competence where I’m good at this, but I have to try and then I reach unconscious competence, which is mastery. It’s second nature. It’s the guitarist on stage shredding a guitar solo and having a conversation with the sound. That’s where you get it. Most salespeople don’t practice. They don’t put themselves under the fire.

Do you ever talk to your students about warm calling in terms of, “You’re driving around town? You get out of your car or your truck. You stick your head in the client’s office or the potential client’s office and say hi.”

Every day. People are like, “What do I say? What’s a script for prospecting? I’ll give you mine.” I don’t care if I was selling hot dogs. I would use this somehow. I’m a fan of when I see a truck of somebody that says, “I’m a commercial painting contractor,” and ABC Commercial Builders drives by. I literally take a picture of the truck. I call the number and go, “This is Tom with Commercial Painting. I saw one of your trucks go by. I’m a commercial painter. You’re a commercial builder. I thought it might make sense for us to know each other.” That has been my script for many years.

You’re going to hear a lot of noes and that’s okay. However, if you did one of those a day, think about that. You hop online for ten minutes and instead of surfing Facebook, get online and search for whoever your ideal client is. Stop by and say the same thing. DM them on socials. I don’t care what it is. The elite find a way to win. They don’t care what the field condition is.

They are like, “If it rains and we’re going to play a football game and there’s a foot of mud, we both got to play on the same field. Find a way to win.” Also, be consistent. I’ve tried prospecting and that didn’t work. You could prospect with social media, email, the UITs, and influencer calls. Those are the daily disciplines that I’m talking about that people are missing out on.

COGE Tom Reber | Construction Selling
Construction Selling: You can do prospecting via social media, email, and influencer calls. These are the daily disciplines most salespeople are missing out on.


As we’re wrapping up here, Tom, I appreciate your time. Give us the top three pieces of advice and you can feel free to summarize anything you’ve already said that you would give to a salesperson to make traction and to immediately start moving the needle in the next 30 days.

First, work on you. It’s an inside-out thing. That never changes. Second is what I call win the moments. You can’t win the day if you don’t win the moments throughout the day. When you think, “I should call that guy who’s ticked off at me,” and you talk yourself out of it, that was a moment you won. I drove by a commercial facility for six months and I’m like, “I got to stop in there because it needs a paint job.” One day, I drove by and it was painted. How many moments did that happen? It’s an inside-out game, win the moments and practice. Put yourself in the ring.

Role-play this stuff and get uncomfortable because the elite in anything is always practicing like the Bradys and the Michael Jordans of the world. I spent time with Tim Grover who was Kobe’s and Michael Jordan’s trainers for years in Vegas at an event. He put them under the fire and these guys were the elite of their game. They built the habit of being uncomfortable. Once you start getting uncomfortable and make it a habit, it’s not that big of a deal.

Tom, I appreciate your time. Tell us more about you and your business. How can people get in touch with you?

I run The Contractor Fight, the fights between your ears. It’s how you show up. It’s what you think about yourself and success. We work with thousands of contractors all over the world in several different industries. You can go to I do a lot of workshops, keynotes, and things like that. We also have other coaching programs and stuff. I super appreciate you having me here and anyone who wants to check things out, head to the website.

Tom, you’ve been generous with your time. I appreciate it. I do wish you the best.

Likewise, Eric.

Thank you for tuning into my conversation with Tom Reber. Make sure you go out to and learn more about the work that he does. Also, thank you for tuning into the show. I have a request. My YouTube game needs to be upgraded and you’re here to help. The way that you can help is going out to my YouTube channel. Search for Construction Genius and you’ll find it and subscribe. Subscribing helps because the more people that subscribe, the algorithm sees that and they’re thinking, “The algorithm is not a person.” The algorithm then responds to the number of people subscribing and begins to show the videos to more people. My goal is really to upgrade my YouTube game in the next year or so. If you can help me with that, I would deeply appreciate it. Share this show with all of your people in your business who are in sales and that means everyone in your company because everyone is in sales. Thanks again for tuning in. I’ll catch you on the next episode.


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About Tom Reber

COGE Tom Reber | Construction SellingTom Reber is an entrepreneur, coach, HGTV Host and Founder of The Contractor Fight. His content has helped hundreds of thousands of home improvement contractors improve their lives and businesses.

Tom coaches and advises business owners and CEO’s on how to sell unafraid, build stronger teams and scale their businesses profitably. He is also the host of The Contractor Fight Podcast, and author of “Winning the Contractor Fight.”

Tom is a United States Marine Corps Veteran, lover of fine tequila and loves Kettlebells. He is originally from Wheaton, IL and currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO.