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The Roadmap for

Business Development— A Structured Approach by Stephane McShane, Maxim Consulting Group


Sales & Marketing

Take Off the Mask: What Is Your Real Value Proposition?

by Larry Silver, Contractor Marketing, Inc.

How to Find Sales Aces

by Tom Woodcock, Seal the Deal

Selling Effectively: The Buyer Blending System}

by Jerry V. Teplitz, JD, Ph.D., CSP

Switched-On Selling: Balance Your Brain for Sales Success

by Jerry V. Teplitz, JD, Ph.D., CSP

Legally Speaking:

Subcontractors: Are You Complying with New Paid Sick Leave Requirements?

by Ross A. Boden, Sandberg, Phoenix & von Gontard P.C.

Save the Date!




February 28 – March 3, 2018 Tempe, Arizona

SAVE THE DATE! February 28 – March 3, 2018



August 2017

EDITORIAL PURPOSE The Contractor’s Compass is the monthly educational journal of the Foundation of the American Subcontractors Association, Inc. (FASA) and part of FASA’s Contractors’ Knowledge Network. The journal is designed to equip construction subcontractors with the ideas, tools and tactics they need to thrive. The views expressed by contributors to The Contractor’s Compass do not necessarily represent the opinions of FASA or the American Subcontractors Association, Inc. (ASA). EDITORIAL STAFF Editor-in-Chief, Marc Ramsey MISSION FASA was established in 1987 as a 501(c)(3) taxexempt entity to support research, education and public awareness. Through its Contractors’ Knowledge Network, FASA is committed to forging and exploring the critical issues shaping subcontractors and specialty trade contractors in the construction industry. FASA provides subcontractors and specialty trade contractors with the tools, techniques, practices, attitude and confidence they need to thrive and excel in the construction industry. FASA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Richard Wanner, President Letitia Haley Barker, Secretary-Treasurer Brian Johnson Robert Abney Anne Bigane Wilson, PE, CPC SUBSCRIPTIONS The Contractor’s Compass is a free monthly publication for ASA members and nonmembers. Subscribe online at ADVERTISING Interested in advertising? Contact Richard Bright at (703) 684-3450 or or EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS Contributing authors are encouraged to submit a brief abstract of their article idea before providing a fulllength feature article. Feature articles should be no longer than 1,500 words and comply with The Associated Press style guidelines. Article submissions become the property of ASA and FASA. The editor reserves the right to edit all accepted editorial submissions for length, style, clarity, spelling and punctuation. Send abstracts and submissions for The Contractor’s Compass to ABOUT ASA ASA is a nonprofit trade association of union and non-union subcontractors and suppliers. Through a nationwide network of local and state ASA associations, members receive information and education on relevant business issues and work together to protect their rights as an integral part of the construction team. For more information about becoming an ASA member, contact ASA at 1004 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314-3588, (703) 684-3450,, or visit the ASA Web site, LAYOUT Angela M Roe © 2017 Foundation of the American Subcontractors Association, Inc.

Features The Roadmap for Business Development—............................. 8 A Structured Approach by Stephane McShane, Maxim Consulting Group

Take Off the Mask: What Is Your Real Value Proposition?...... 12 by Larry Silver, Contractor Marketing, Inc.

How to Find Sales Aces......................................................... 14 by Tom Woodcock, Seal the Deal

Selling Effectively: The Buyer Blending System.................... 16 by Jerry V. Teplitz, JD, Ph.D., CSP

Switched-On Selling: Balance Your........................................ 20 Brain for Sales Success by Jerry V. Teplitz, JD, Ph.D., CSP

Departments CONTRACTOR COMMUNITY..... ........................................................... 4 LEGALLY SPEAKING.............................................................................. 22 Subcontractors: Are You Complying with New Paid Sick Leave Requirements? by Ross A. Boden, Sandberg, Phoenix & von Gontard P.C.

Quick Reference ASA/FASA CALENDAR.......................................................................... 24 COMING UP............................................................................................... 24

CONTRACTOR COMMUNITY ASA Encourages Prime Contractors to Apply for National Construction Best Practices Awards Prime contractors and specialty trade contractors that have signed, within the past year, a contract directly with a construction owner under which it performs construction services are encouraged to apply for ASA’s National Construction Best Practices Awards. These awards recognize prime contractors who construction subcontractors say are the best to work for—those who are committed to best business practices like safety management, prompt payment, prompt processing of change requests and claims, and effective project scheduling and coordination. The criteria for these awards include the use of a standard subcontract whose provisions substantially reflect the best practices incorporated into the ASA-endorsed ConsensusDocs 750 Standard Agreement Between Constructor and Subcontractor, as well as highly favorable evaluations from three specialty trade contractors, based on 20 project management factors. Each applicant must supply three sealed business-practices recommendations from specialty trade contractors that have worked for it in the past year along with a copy of its standard subcontract with its application. A construction attorney will evaluate the standard subcontract, and the ASA Task Force on Ethics in the Construction Industry will evaluate the recommendations from specialty trade contractors. Prime construction contractors that use the ASA-endorsed ConsensusDocs 750 contract form as their standard subcontract automatically pass the subcontract evaluation. The application deadline is Nov. 3, 2017, and the application



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fee is $495. Awards will be presented during ASA’s annual convention, SUBExcel 2018, which will take place Feb. 28-March 3, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. Information about these awards is located under “About ASA” on the ASA Web site.

Federal ‘Know-Before-You-Bid Construction Transparency’ Bill Introduced Contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry are challenged daily with the idiosyncrasies of bidding and the challenge of getting paid in a timely manner for work performed. New federal legislation, introduced by Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), addresses these concerns by providing small business contractors and subcontractors with information they need to be successful on federal construction. H.R. 2350, the “Small Business Know-Before-YouBid Construction Transparency Act of 2017,” includes concepts initiated and supported by ASA. Specifically, the bill would require a federal agency to: • Include in its requests for proposals or invitations for bid on federal construction projects likely to be performed by small businesses, information on its policies and procedures for processing requests for equitable adjustment, more commonly known as change orders. Some federal agencies routinely delay review and approval of change orders until the end of a project. In the meantime, contractors and subcontractors must pay their own bills—employees, suppliers and even taxes—while payments from their federal customers are delayed. This bill would provide prospective federal construction contractors and subcontractors with


information they need to factor into their bids and offers to the federal government the risk and resulting cost of delayed payment for change orders. • Post on a Web site each payment made to a prime construction contractor, including the date of payment and the amount paid, specifying any amounts withheld from the amount requested by the prime contractor and a general explanation of why an amount was withheld. This information will allow a subcontractor or supplier to determine when its payment is due (i.e., under the Prompt Payment Act, seven days after the government pays the prime contractor), without resorting to contacting directly the already harried contracting officer or the prime contractor. Further, the prime contractor will benefit from having a clear statement of why its federal customer did not issue full payment so that it can more expeditiously address and correct any problems. • Post on a Web site a copy of any payment bond provided for under the contract and any modification to such bond required by the federal agency. The federal Miller Act requires a prime construction contractor with a federal contract of more than $150,000 to provide a payment bond to assure payment of its subcontractors and suppliers. In order to determine the validity of such a bond and where it must provide required notices, a subcontractor must have a copy of a bond. This bill will allow a subcontractor or supplier to obtain a copy of the payment bond without resorting to contacting directly the contracting officer or the prime contractor.

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H.R. 2350 was referred to the House Small Business Committee, which is expected to hold a hearing on the bill in the very near future.

How Can You Help Get Congressional Support for H.R. 2350? 1. Ask your House member to cosponsor H.R. 2350, the “Small Business Know-Before-You-Bid Construction Transparency Act of 2017.” Use the bullets in the above article to describe the bill to your elected representative or use ASA’s Legislative Action Center to see sample emails and a direct link to your legislator. 2. If your company has an example that illustrates the need for this H.R. 2350, contact ASA Chief Advocacy Officer E. Colette Nelson at For example, has your company had difficulty in obtaining a copy of a payment bond on a federal construction contract? Has your company had difficulty finding out when your prime contractor got paid in order to determine the timeliness of your own payment on a federal construction project? Has your company experienced a lengthy delay in getting a change order approved on a federal construction project? If so, ASA needs your case studies to illustrate the need for this legislation. 3. Ask other construction associations to which you belong to support H.R. 2350. If you would like Nelson to follow up with them, contact her at The Construction Industry Procurement


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Coalition supports the bill. Coalition members include: • American Council of Engineering Companies • American Institute of Architects • American Society of Civil Engineers • Associated General Contractors of America • Construction Management Association of America • Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services • Design-Build Institute of America • Independent Electrical Contractors • Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors • National Association of Surety Bond Producers • National Electrical Contractors Association • National Society of Professional Surveyors • Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association • The Surety & Fidelity Association of America

ASA Resource Answers Construction Subcontractors’ Questions About Pay-If-Paid “Pay-if-paid” contract clauses can cause big problems for unpaid construction subcontractors and suppliers. Such clauses specify that a subcontractor or material supplier will not be paid for the work it performed or the supplies or services it provided “if” the general contractor doesn’t receive payment from the project owner. Pay-if-paid is not enforceable in all circumstances, however, and ASA’s Contingent Payment Clauses


in the 50 States helps subcontractors and suppliers understand their risk. “This resource is of tremendous business value to subcontractors and suppliers, who need to know the risk of pay-if-paid,” said ASA Chief Advocacy Officer E. Colette Nelson. “Pay-if-paid is enforceable in some but not all states, and the states in which pay-if-paid is enforceable differ as to when a contract clause creates a true ‘condition precedent to payment’ threatening the right of unpaid subcontractors to be paid for satisfactory work.” Contingent Payment Clauses in the 50 States explains for each state (plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands): • Whether a “pay-if-paid” clause will be enforced in that state if it is unambiguously drafted. • Whether the state distinguishes between “pay-if-paid” and “paywhen-paid” provisions. • Whether “pay-when-paid” clauses allow a contractor in the state to only delay payment to its subcontractors for a reasonable time. • Key statutes and cases that describe the state’s position on contingent payment clauses. The ASA-member law firm and ASA general counsel, Kegler, Brown, Hill and Ritter, Columbus, Ohio, prepared the manual, which contains contributions from construction attorneys from across the country. The manual is available to ASA members as a downloadable PDF document on the ASA Web site in the “Contracts & Project Management” section located under “Advocacy & Contracts.”


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ASA-PAC: Subcontractors’ Unified Voice in Congress The ASA-Political Action Committee provides construction subcontractors with a means to amplify their voices before the U.S. Congress with the goal of improving the business environment for the construction industry. As a qualified multi-candidate committee registered with the Federal Election Commission, the ASA-PAC allows ASA members to pool their political contributions to support a common goal. The ASA-PAC supports candidates for federal office who support the interests of construction subcontractors in Congress. These issues include, among others, subcontractor payment assurances, bidding procedures, and tax reform. Federal election law requires that members of a trade association, such as ASA, provide authorization for a PAC to solicit contributions or even explain the full benefits of contributing to the PAC. Help ASA by authorizing it to keep you informed about the ASA-PAC and its activities on behalf of construction subcontractors. Complete the form and email it to or fax it to (703) 836-3482. Returning this form to ASA imposes no financial obligation on you or your company. One person can make a difference, but hundreds of subcontractors together provide greater recognition to ASA and its issues.

Managing Human Resources When Workers Are in Short Supply People are a subcontractor’s most important asset. If a subcontractor’s employees can say, “This is a great place to work,” they will be willing to stay for the long-term. During this time of workforce shortages, what a



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subcontractor needs most is people working harder and smarter than they ever have before. Some of the most difficult decisions for a subcontractor include changes in employee responsibilities and salaries/wages and benefits. A well-defined company mission statement can help the subcontractor navigate these changes. Many subcontractors describe one or more of the following elements in their mission statements: • The company measures success by profitability, job performance and employee satisfaction—not by how large the annual sales volume is. • The company is committed to safe, high-quality, well-managed work with satisfied clients. • The company is dedicated to building a capable and loyal workforce and seeking jobs within its capability. (This is different from taking on projects that force a subcontractor to build up its workforce quickly with transient employees who often lack sufficient training.) • The company organizes work for maximum efficiency and productivity. • The company considers customer service a priority and rewards employees who practice it. When company owners and managers have a clear sense of mission and model their behavior on it, it makes discussing changes within the company easier and boosts morale.

ASA Asks New Labor Secretary to Reopen and Stay OSHA Silica Rule On May 3, ASA joined 24 others in construction in requesting Alexander Costa, the Secretary of Labor, to reopen the rulemaking and record and


issue an administrative stay of the rule on crystalline silica, issued in March 2016 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The petition described the “significant issues” that construction employers are facing as they prepare to comply with the rule, which currently is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 23. The Construction Industry Safety Coalition wrote, “These issues are driven principally by OSHA’s final Table 1, which does not present a viable compliance option for contractors. The issues are compounded by OSHA’s failure to assess the feasibility of the rule for construction outside of the Table 1 context. And despite the Agency’s recent 90-day delay in enforcement of the rule, construction employers are being forced to expend significant resources to even attempt to comply with a rule that is infeasible and unworkable in the construction industry.” Specifically, the coalition requested: 1. A full consideration of the technological feasibility of the construction standard. The coalition said that OSHA’s feasibility analysis was incomplete and insufficient. 2. A re-examination of Table 1. The coalition asserted that tool manufacturers have not developed tools with the control measures recognized by Table 1 for use in the wide variety of settings in the construction environment. 3. A revisiting of three ancillary provisions—housekeeping, a written exposure control plan, and medical surveillance. The coalition also asked DOL to administratively stay the compliance date in OSHA’s silica rule to allow for reconsideration and to avoid unnecessary expenditure of resources.

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ASA, in collaboration with 22 other construction associations, also has initiated a lawsuit to prevent OSHA from implementing its silica rule. In the meantime, ASA urges construction employers to take steps to comply with the OSHA silica rule by Sept. 23. For more information, see the ASA Fact Sheet on OSHA’s Rule on Respirable Crystalline Silica, the ASA Frequently Asked Questions on the OSHA Standard on Respirable Crystalline Silica, and the free ASA video-on-demand, “OSHA Silica Rule— Applications for Subcontractors” (Item #8101), presented by Gary Visscher, Esq., Law Office of Adele L. Abrams, P.C.

OSHA Revokes Interpretation Memo Regarding Union Rep on Walk-Around Inspections The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has withdrawn a February 2013 memorandum that granted union representatives permission to accompany OSHA inspectors on walk-around inspections at non-union workplaces. Under the original memorandum, an OSHA inspector, at his/her own discretion could invite the union representative to participate in an inspection, if the inspector thought the representative would add value to the inspection and the employees chose to have the union representative act as their representative for purposes of the inspection. As a result of the rescission, the policy is no longer part of OSHA procedures.


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OSHA Rescinds Recordkeeping Rule On May 3, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration formally rescinded its rule that was intended to clarify that an employer’s duty to record an injury or illness continues for as long as the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness. In March, Congress had approved H.J.Res. 83, which invalidated the rule under the Congressional Review Act; President Donald Trump signed the resolution on April 3. The CRA allows Congress to roll back recently-adopted regulations by a simple majority vote. ASA had argued that the OSHA rule was an overreach of the agency’s authority and a clear misinterpretation of the law. The rescission took effect upon publication.

Guideline Can Help You on the Critical Path to Success Project schedules don’t just impose constraints on when your company’s work must be completed. They also can be tools for insisting on efficient project management. Remember: The project schedule is a two-way street! For example, suppose a schedule specifies the sequence and duration of inspection, punch list and closeout activities, and who is supposed to do them. You need to have your work done and be ready to take care of loose ends and closeout promptly according to the schedule. By the same token, that schedule makes it difficult for a customer to justify demands that your company continually return to the job site to take care of items on an endless punch list. At a certain point, it’s clear that the customer failed to properly supervise work at an earlier stage, or else it would have been on schedule. Looking at each project schedule as a two-way


street requires both experience and learning. An experienced project manager will be acquainted with the effects of having—or not having—the project schedule put together in a certain way. How does the schedule account for the possibility of early or late starts, for example? A schedule explaining this removes ambiguity about how early/late starts affect your work and the work of other trades, and could even help your company with delay claims. A tool for both experienced and less experienced project managers is the “Guideline on Sequenced Project Scheduling.” The guideline is one of the Guidelines for a Successful Construction Project jointly developed and published by ASA, the Associated General Contractors of America, and the Associated Specialty Contractors. It describes the rationale, components and communication required to make sequenced schedules work. For example, it states that “[t] he scheduler should be familiar with all of the various trades and be able to communicate with each trade” and “[t]he schedule should receive input and support from all stakeholders.” If a scheduler does not meet these expectations, your project manager can cite the guideline when asking for a replacement. If a schedule excluded the input of your trade, cite the guideline when asking for an adjustment. Citing the guideline may create temporary stress with a customer, but the payoff is long-term. You’ll have better relationships with customers, and both you and your customers will reap financial rewards. When project schedules are used to establish not just constraints but also real efficiency on all parties’ behalves, contractors and subcontractors may avoid liquidated damages. That’s a winwin if there ever was one.


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Feature The Roadmap for Business Development— A Structured Approach by Stephane McShane, Maxim Consulting Group The need for structured business development processes has never been more important. As the delivery methods in the construction industry evolve, so does our need to be highly skilled at selling our work. That said, there are many pitfalls in the sales side of construction that can be avoided with a defined approach. In order for business development to be focused, measurable, and well-supported, there are steps that should be taken to ensure its success.



Strategy Definition We are quite familiar with the term strategic planning, but what does it mean in connection to business development? The company must first establish a strategy of what markets, what customers, what job sizes, etc., that it wishes to pursue. That is done through strategic planning and data analysis. What we see frequently from the management consulting lens is a directive for business development staff to simply “go get some work.” While I appreciate the ambition of those giving the instruction, it demonstrates that some elementary steps in definition may have been overlooked. Let’s discuss the first step, and that is defining that type of work you are seeking. To do this, a data analysis of past completed projects is necessary. When conducting an analysis of current business operations, it is critical that the organization have a clear picture of what type of work they do well and why, as well as what work they’re challenged by and the reasoning for that, also. For example, see Figure 1. This type of data analysis shows the total revenue and margin broken down by the type of work performed. In this sample, there is some significant information to review when defining what type of work to



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Medical 3%

Fig. 1 Revenue and margin analysis by vertical market

Total Revenue

Contractor A 6%

Contractor R 7% Contractor Q

Contractor B 9%


Contractor P 19%

Contractor J 3%

Contractor D 15%

Contractor G 20%

Contractor F 13%

Total Margin Contractor R Contractor A 6% 8% Contractor Q 5% Contractor P 12%

Contractor J 5%

Contractor B 19% Contractor D 22%

Contractor G 8% Contractor F 10%

Fig. 2 Labor and margin analysis by general contractor


focus business development efforts on. If you review the total revenue of retail work versus the total margin on that same work, retail comprises 20 percent of the company’s revenue but produces 33 percent of the company’s margin. This would certainly warrant further investigation as to the reason why this is so successful, who the work is performed for, where the margin gain/ fade is coming from, etc. Conversely, if you review the hospital sector, it comprises 23 percent of the revenue, but produces only 6 percent of the margin for the organization. Again, this would warrant some additional discovery as to why this isn’t a prolific sector for the company and whether there is either improvement that can occur, or whether this is a market to continue to pursue. Figure 2 shows the data by general contractor. This also gives a view into who your firm does business with and what the rewards of that investment are. If you look at Contractor B, they are responsible for 9 percent of revenue, but 19  percent of margin. In contrast, Contractor G produces 20 percent of revenue, but only 8 percent of margin.

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There are easily dozens of other metrics that can and should be analyzed to narrow the focus of business development efforts. These revenue and margin analyses should be run on an annual basis for all closed projects. These could be divided into branches or divisions, calculated by job size, customers, contract delivery method, geographic region, etc. Margin gain and fade analyses can also be run with these same types of differentiators to identify where overbidding or underbidding may be occurring. From this type of data, strategic decisions can be made to determine the guard rails for business development efforts. This will define: • Which markets do you wish to pursue. • What job size is optimal for the organization. • What geographic region do you wish to pursue work. • When do you need that work to begin. • Which specific customers are likely to have that work, in those markets, and in those time frames. An analysis of market research is also needed to predict market swings. As we know, the market cycles locally between residential, commercial, industrial, and public work. These studies are published by many construction and financial organizations and should be used as a strong resource during the strategic planning process.

Assessment of Organizational Structure Once the market, customer and revenue targets have been established, business development efforts will be futile without an examination of the existing company structure. We would be need to examine the existing staffing, tools, and technology being utilized to perform our work in order to determine how growth would affect it.


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As a simplified example, if expanding an industrial special projects group was a defined strategic play, an investigation as to the current staffing, structure, and workload of the group including stratification of executives, project managers, and project administrators would be in order. Also, we would need to assess the need to migrate to a specialist versus generalist model in order to add the most value to the customers given their specific needs. Next, process mapping could take place to ensure that the entire workflow from order to cash was defined, including the technology, tools, and equipment necessary to do the work. This mapping of each deliverable necessary for this department to function optimally could identify the gaps and most immediate issues requiring resolution in order to support the growth of this group. This will place a solid foundation on which to scale the department’s growth.

Business Development There are many in the industry who believe that business development is a nebulous, undefined process where actual progress toward a goal is difficult to measure. This is simply not the case. The premise behind great business development begins with the strategic target development, then progresses through a sales process where those targets are evaluated every step of the way. The example discussed previously about telling our sales staff to, “Go get us some work,” is where the confusion begins. Business development efforts do not target thousands of companies at one time. It strategically identifies a small number of opportunities and crafts a plan to land a large percentage of those targets, as opposed to a large amount of effort spread over a large number of targets, resulting in a very low hit rate. Once we have established the list of companies we will be pursuing, a screening process must take place C O M P A S S

to ensure that these companies fall into alignment with the types of firms that we wish to establish a long term relationship with. These qualifications should include financial, operational, and cultural metrics to ensure that their acceptable characteristics outweigh their unacceptable attributes. This will narrow down the target list to those who would be the best fit for us. Next, we must find out who the buyers are. Large companies will have multiple people involved in the purchasing process. Identifying those individuals, and assigning an appropriate point of contact for each of them, will be critical to the success of opening discussions with them. Utilizing your vendor and contractor contacts for this information may significantly streamline the process. Further, we must find out what your potential customers want from you. Understanding your buyer’s needs utilizing customer surveys, relationships, and personal contact ensures that you are well prepared to discuss how your company can fulfill those needs. During this process, it will become necessary to also establish what that company fears. Said differently, what would be the reasons that they might hesitate in granting you the work in favor of one of your competitors. Knowing this will be an additional point of preparation in ensuring that you can respond to quell this discomfort. We cannot become outstanding in their eyes if we do not understand what that looks like from their perspective. Once we have alleviated their fears, we must ensure that our staff, at all levels of the business development process, are well versed in the presentation process. Remember, it will not only be your sales staff in front of the client, but any of the subject matter experts needed that were identified during the needs assessment. If one of their needs was strong project management, then you would ensure that our strongest


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PM would be involved in the sale, bringing comfort to that specific fear and discussing how they propose to manage the project to its success. Lastly, we use dashboards to evaluate on a regular basis the status of the target client. These measurements include using defined milestones to ensure that we are making positive, predictable progress. This will also shed light on those targets that are not working out so that those efforts can be redirected in a productive manner elsewhere. This allows transparency of performance for each of the potential clients and the staff assigned to the different levels of contact within that client. Crafting structure around the business development process can reduce the frustration and false starts that occur so frequently in sales. It will also allow us to utilize our limited sales resources and channel them in the direction that creates the greatest benefit for the organization.

To do this, we must determine which markets we wish to grow in and why. Then we will make structural and organizational improvements inside of our organizations to ensure successful delivery of those new projects. From there, we can define which customers work in those markets and assess which firms are the right fit for us. Once we identify those targets, we assign staff to determine the needs and fears of the client to provide the critical information needed to formulate the presentation. And, finally, we track the progress of each of the target clients to ensure that the acceptable amount of forward momentum is occurring. Following a process such as this can increase your chances of landing the right customer with the right type of project, at the right time, with the right tools and resources to ensure the project’s success and the chance of establishing a long term, solid relationship.

Stephane McShane is a director at Maxim Consulting Group responsible for the assessment and implementation processes with our clients. McShane works with construction-related firms of all sizes to evaluate business practices and assist with management challenges. With a large depth of experience working in the construction industry from the field to executive leadership, McShane is keenly aware of the business and, most specifically, operational challenges firms’ face. Her areas of expertise include leadership development, organizational assessments, strategic planning, project execution, business development, productivity improvement, and training programs. McShane is an internationally recognized speaker, mentor, author, and teacher. Her ability to motivate, inspire, and create confidence among your work groups is extremely rare and very effective.

2017 ASA BEST PRACTICES AWARDS ASA offers national recognition to prime contractors that are committed to superior business practices like prompt payment. ASA’s annual “National Construction Best Practices Awards,” developed by the Task Force on Ethics in the Construction Industry, recognize elite prime contractors that uphold best practices and refuse to do business according to the “lowest common denominator.” The deadline for prime contractors to submit applications is Nov. 3, 2017. The application fee is $495. Each prime-contractor applicant must supply three sealed businesspractices recommendations from specialty trade contractors that have worked for it in the past year, along with a copy of its standard subcontract, with its application. ASA will honor recipients during an awards ceremony at the ASA annual convention, SUBExcel 2018, Feb. 28-March 3, 2018, in Tempe, Arizona.


Helpful Links: • Watch the National Construction Best Practices Awards video. • Prime contractors: Download the 2017 National Construction Best Practices Award application form. • Specialty trade contractors: Download the 2017 National Construction Best Practices Award “Form for Evaluating the Applicant’s Business Practices.

Feature Take Off the Mask: What is Your Real Value Proposition? by Larry Silver, Contractor Marketing Inc.



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One of my fellow construction consultants was an expert on proposals and was contacted by a toptiered ENC firm. My friend showed up in their conference room to review their current proposals and to evaluate why their win ratio was so low. He slowly and deliberately was turning the pages of their proposal in silence. After some time, the client was irked. “Why do you keep doing that?” “Well,” he replied, “You stated that your company slogan was ‘Client-Centered.’ I just found the first slide on your proposal where a client was mentioned. It’s page 29.” So often in the AEC industry, we think that to sell our firm it is all about us—the features of what we do and how we are that will attract a client. But actually, clients do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. They want you to bring them value, something that will help their business to flourish, grow, and expand. They want their vendors and suppliers focused on their business and cued into the goals, concerns, and issues they are grappling with day to day. If you can become a consultant and solve their problems and dilemmas, your firm’s stock can rise and you can sell your price on every project, even if it is not the low price. What are you really offering them? A design? A building? A hole in the ground with some structure on top of it? Really, you are offering them a partnership, a relationship they can trust to bring savings to their bottom line, comfort for their hassles, mitigation of their liability and insurance for their risk. You bring a listening ear instead of a talking tongue. Do you really


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want to bring the same old rant that they hear from other competitors in your line of work? If so, then your price had better be lower, because that is all that will separate you. Your service is now a commodity, a no-frills approach to a necessary evil. Do you believe your clients really want to invest millions of dollars on construction because it is sexy, fun, and a thrill? I hate to burst your bubble, but none of them think this. This capital-heavy purchase is necessary for their growth, but it is not a fun or instinctive process to go through. Figure out an approach to make construction easier, simpler, and more practical. Easier One of the challenges of construction is that your clients do not know what to expect. The majority of clients have never built a multi-million dollar facility. Set up a clear communication system that brings their expectations in line with reality. Offer them regular updates without too much detail, scratching where they itch. Let them know if a major milestone changes and the reason for it. There are many factors that clients need to be addressed—ongoing budget considerations, schedule priorities, safety, ascetics, and overall progress. Simple Construction can be very complex and very demanding. However, for most clients, it helps to keep it simple, to the point, and short. Explain things in layman terms and ask questions that reveal the heart of the matter so that wise decisions can be forthcoming. Keep the staff at your firm cued up to


the corresponding staff at your client’s firm. Don’t have an engineer explain to the CEO what the problem is. This is asking for trouble. Have people at similar levels communicate to their counter parts, so that things are straight-forward. Practical Take off the mask and do not pretend to be someone you are not. Be practical and relevant. If you are a business developer, then do not try to be technical. If you are a superintendant, then do not talk about marketing and PR. Each team member in your firm has a role that they are suited for that has practical value for the client. Celebrate your milestones together and meet when trouble comes unexpectedly to solve the challenge. Be real. Construction is an art and a science and problems always come. It is just a matter of where and when. Now that you have a mindset to make things easier, simple, and practical, you are putting your best foot forward with every project. Think about your focus and your value proposition. What are you offering that no one else is? Where are you strong where you can differentiate from the competition? Don’t wait until page 29 of your proposal to show the proof of your value. Then clients will see your worth, and they will be attracted to doing business with your firm for their upcoming work. Larry Silver is president of Contractor Marketing Inc., a national consulting/recruiting firm specializing in the AEC industry. Silver can be reached at (937) 7767170 or larry@contractormarketing. com.


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Feature How to Find Sales Aces by Tom Woodcock, Seal the Deal I’m often contacted for references on top-notch sales aces. Contractors and suppliers that are willing to overpay to get an established, proven sales rep. Instead of developing or finding their own, it’s easier to poach a sales person that is already built. The fact they’re riding the efforts of the company that found and developed that individual is inconsequential. They need someone to get them business right out of the gate. I’ve witnessed this philosophy in action dozens of times and rarely does it result in a successful outcome. What usually happens is the rep promises they can bring customers over and exaggerate what percentage. The reality ends up being that they bring one or two with them, but nowhere near what was expected.



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The opposite side of the coin is hiring inexperienced people that “seem” to have a good sales ability only to find out they can’t bring in the results. It can be very frustrating as you turn over personnel left and right in hopes you find a diamond in the rough. You interview, test and review resumes until you’re blue in the face, getting the same type of rep every time. What’s the answer? How do I find that sales ace everyone else seems to have? There’s got to be a way. There is. But the problem is, it takes research, engagement, cost and effort to pull off. Understanding that you’re going to have to invest your time and reasonable expense to find this individual is the first step. I haven’t found a test, interview process or


recruiting service that serves as that magic sales wand yet. Let me help a bit. Sales success requires four, nonnegotiable, basic requirements. Not that others can’t have some success, we’re talking about aces here. The four are: 1. Personality—Let’s be honest, if someone is not likable and does not have strong communication skills, their chance of success is minimal. You have to be able to talk to people. Work a room. Make people laugh. These are basic to interaction with customers. They also need to have a good appearance. Sorry, how the rep looks makes a difference. 2. Discipline—The willingness to make personal calls and do phone work is imperative. Running a

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structured schedule which includes prospecting and follow-up allotments is standard procedure to an ace. Seat-of-the-pants time management will never produce maximum results. Great reps don’t need to be babysat. 3. Intelligence—Can the individual think on his or her feet? Is the individual capable at presenting options? A decent product or service knowledge is important. Aces need to be sharp to be able to steer a customer. Weakness in this area usually results in discounting or price reductions. 4. Work ethic—Sales takes work. The rep is going to lose some evenings and weekends. Though the schedule is not always 9-5, it’s intense. A willingness to stick with a deal or position through to success is key. If it was easy to be an ace, they’d be everywhere. The truth is, selling can be a simple process or very complex one. In the construction industry it’s often made more complicated than it really needs to be. Many contractors are faced with being the sales rep themselves. They already know format of competitive bidding can be frustrating, but if you don’t let the pricing mechanism dictate your actions, you can see through the fog. I help some very intelligent contractors who have to work not to buy into the conventional wisdom on bidding. It’s extremely easy to get sucked into the “it’s all about low bid” crowd. The pressure to focus on pricing can be intense. It takes discipline and effort to realize there are other factors in the construction-buying decision. Failing to recognize those factors can lead to a lack of understanding of why you’re not winning projects. Getting on bid lists is a small accomplishment, but getting inside information on the bid process, needs or results is significant. An ace will understand


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this immediately. This is not achievable through a great Facebook page or social media activity. Achieving it requires customer engagement and relationship. Being connected to your customer base is old school but necessary. The impact of social media is beginning to level off which brings us back to good ol’ fashion customer contact—where the ace lives. I still thoroughly enjoy helping a client get connected to the customer base and first watch bid volume increase then customer penetration. They develop strong relationships that even turn into friendships. They do not just entertain their clients but connect socially. It isn’t a matter of throwing money at them, but treating them as people, learning their preferences and likes. Then, in the end, taking advantage of that position and securing quality opportunities. The investment of time and treasure produces significant returns if you stay with it. The easy thing to do is write the necessary customer contact off as time-wasting and expensive. To be honest, the majority of contractors tend to lean in that direction. The ace will persevere to get the desired results. The process of connecting with a wide swath of customers is simple in nature if you don’t complicate it. Getting in front of them and doing so consistently will pretty much meet the requirement. Talking about life in general will incorporate business conversation nine times out of 10. Forcing conversation or pressuring a customer usually backfires. You’ll experience a lot of oneappointment-and-done results. Relax as much as you can and ask reasonable, personal questions. An ace is genuinely interested in their customers’ opinions and lives. The customer appreciates it and wants to know about them. Stepping out in this fashion will grease the path to success. Personal contact is very difficult for


some people. It’s a struggle to meet new people and feel comfortable. It can sometimes seem amazing that aces can connect at the drop of a hat. If you have one of these unique individuals, don’t saddle them behind a desk or computer. Top-notch people skills can be very difficult to find. Though, often these talented team members need structure and support. For those selling contractors who dread connecting with people or working a room, putting yourself in the position to do so is half the battle. Pushing yourself to introduce yourself to a new business contact breaks the seal. Most people feel exactly as you do, so that little step can begin the relationship process. If there’s no other choice but you having to connect with the customer base, you have to learn how to make a first move. It’s easy to hide behind Linkedin or Twitter, send an email or post on a wall. The problem is it simply relegates you to virtual invisibility. White noise per se. Gaining the separation from competitors everyone is now saying is necessary requires personal contact. The more you try to structure your approach, the more complex it becomes. Ten-second elevator speeches and cute ice breakers are easily spotted. Trying to get out what you do in the first 90 seconds is amateurish and flat out cheesy. The construction consumer is much more astute than in generations past. The ability to secure information and project knowledge is at our fingertips. The more you’re simply yourself, the more impact on the customer. Let’s face it, being yourself should be easier. As I train dozens of construction personnel on selling, I find the greatest impediment being the willingness to get around people as much as possible. It’s much easier to make excuses why you can’t get around Continued on page 19


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Feature Selling Effectively—The Buyer Blending System by Jerry V. Teplitz, JD, Ph.D., CSP Have you ever tried to sell a client and had difficulty establishing rapport? Have you ever emphasized something you thought important and your client responded blankly? Do you find some clients make slower (or faster) decisions than you think appropriate? Answering yes to any of these questions means that you have run across a client whose buying style is different from your selling style. To be more successful you need to learn to adapt your selling style to fit your client’s buying style. By “reading” your client’s behavioral style and appealing to that person in his or her terms, you can actually increase your sales dramatically.



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In the early 1930s, a concept was developed by William Marston, which was later elaborated upon by Dr. John Grier. This concept divides people into four basic personality types. Understanding these types will allow you to sell more successfully. Many companies using this approach have increased sales from 10 percent to 30 percent. The first step in this process is discovering your own style. The next step is recognizing your client’s buying style, and the final step is to apply this information to your sales presentation. The four basic styles are called Dominance (D), Influencing


(I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C). An important point to keep in mind is that no style is better than another. Rather, the key to being a successful salesperson is being able to adapt your selling approach to fit your client’s buying style.

Determining Your Style First you need to determine your own selling style. To do this you will need to answer several questions. When you select your answers, think about which response best characterizes you when you are out there selling. In responding to these questions, you may feel that both aspects apply to you. In that case pick

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the response that describes you a bit more accurately. Question 1: Is your selling behavior style more active and outgoing? Or, is your selling behavior style more reserved? If you answered active and outgoing, you are either a D (Dominance) or an I (Influencing) behavioral style. If reserved, you are either an S (Steadiness) or a C (Conscientiousness) behavioral style. To find out even more specifically what your style is you will need to select only one of the following as your choice: If your last answer was a D or I: Are you more concerned with directing of others, or are you more concerned with relating to others? If you are a relater, then you are an I. If you are a director, then you are a D. Those whose first answer was an S or C need to answer the following questions: Are you more concerned with accepting of others? Or, are you more concerned with assessing or judging of others? If you are concerned with accepting of others, you are an S. If you are concerned with the assessing or judging of others, you are a C.

Characteristics of the Styles Now that you know what type of style you are, let’s explore the characteristics of the different styles. If you are a D, Dominance style, you like getting immediate results, causing action, and accepting challenges. You prefer to make quick decisions to solve problems, and you enjoy taking charge. If you are an I, Influencing style, you enjoy contacting and entertaining people while making a favorable impression. You are very verbal. You like generating enthusiasm and creating a motivational environment. You want to help others and enjoy participating in a group.


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If you are an S, Steadiness style, you like staying in one place while concentrating on the task at hand. You are loyal and have tremendous patience, which allows you to be a good listener and able to calm excited people. If you are a C, Conscientiousness style, you prefer following standards and procedures, concentrating on details, and working under controlled circumstances. While you can be diplomatic with people, you like accuracy and will criticize someone’s performance, if necessary. You are a critical thinker and believe in authority.

Your Client’s Style Now that you know more about your style, you need to explore your client’s style. The D Style Client If your client is a Dominance or D style, he or she is highly interested in seeing the new and innovative things about your product or service. He or she usually possesses a fairly strong ego and does not like to waste time. To sell this highly individualistic gogetter, get right to the bottom line. Don’t waste his or her time with a lot of facts and figures. He or she just wants to hear the high points of your presentation. The D client will be loyal as long as you provide them with service. The D style is more impressed with your efficient, no-nonsense business manner than any testimonials or data. He or she would rather leave cost factor details to someone else. There are several do’s and don’t’s for each of the styles which are important to understand. First the do’s. For the D style you do need to be efficient and omit details. Do be strictly businesslike, as they will let you know if they want to chat. Do flatter their egos. Stress both the prestige and efficiency of your product or service. Do make sure you


give them direct answers. Finally, do give them a short summary and close. Here are the don’t’s for the D style. Don’t explain too many details unless they ask for them. Don’t give your opinions. Don’t be evasive or indecisive, but do give plenty of options. The I Style Client If your client is the Influence or I style, he or she is the friendly, gregarious type who wants to talk and socialize. He or she would make a great salesperson him- or herself (he or she may even attempt to sell you something!). With the I style, spare him or her the details because he or she is not interested in them. He or she loves the new and innovative aspects of your product or service. The I is fairly easy to sell if you are sociable with him or her. This also means he or she can easily wind up going with another competitor’s product or service, so give him or her plenty of follow-up service. Buy him or her lunch or even a cup of coffee and closing will be easier. Here are the do’s for the I style. Do let them talk, and give them compliments about their accomplishments. Do use their own words to direct the discussion back to business. If you can, do use the testimonials and name drop. Do be enthusiastic and friendly. Do have your summary focus only on the major selling points. Don’t’s for the I. Don’t give them a lot of facts (you’ll create confusion). Don’t chat so much that you don’t get around to selling them. The S Style Client The Steadiness (S) client may be a bit shy, but he or she wants to be your friend. The S client is not suspicious, but is slow to make changes. The S client needs to feel he or she can trust you. You need to show him or her that your product


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or service is more traditional, and, if applicable, how it will impact their family. With an S client, take it slow and easy. Speed can lose the sale. He or she will want to see your entire product line or learn about your services. He or she wants plenty of statistics. To earn his or her trust and friendship, ask about his or her family and hobbies. Emphasize the traditional and proven nature of your product or service, and make reassuring follow-up calls. Here are the do’s for the S style. Do be low key. Do keep your explanations quiet and simple but loaded with details. Do involve the family in the decision. Do stress the security, reliability, and guarantees of your product or service’s. Do provide them with a complete cost picture. Do assure them that their decision is right, and that they will be pleased. Don’t’s for an S. Don’t go too fast or omit details. Don’t get too friendly too quickly.

The C Style Client The Conscientiousness (C) client may sometimes be suspicious of you. These individuals can become solidly faithful to you, but only after they trust you. They are tough clients to get (and to lose, once you’ve got them). They are not great talkers or innovators. Give a C style client solid background information and convince him or her that your product or service works. Testimonials from other satisfied clients help, especially if the testimonial is from another C. He or she needs time to absorb details and digest the facts before taking the next step. He or she will want to see your entire product line or services that can impact him or her. He or she likes traditional and proven products or services. Here are the do’s for the C style. Do set a tone of trust and sincerity. Do emphasize how you will minimize difficulties. Do stress the need for them to make an early decision. Do be patient, explain things fully, and ask them “how” questions to get their

opinion. Do give a complete detailed financial picture. If you have a written description of your product or service, do be sure what you say is consistent with the written description. Don’t’s for a C. Don’t give the C client a hard sell. Don’t get personal about their family if you don’t know them well. Don’t speak too loudly, or answer their objections lightly.

Blending Seller and Buyer Now that you understand yourself and your clients better, you need to put it all together. To be truly effective, you will need to blend your selling style with that of your client’s buying style. Blending for the D Salesperson You are strong-minded and confident. You like to deal with new, innovative items, and you become bored with details. • To sell a D: Be yourself. One D communicates well with another. • To sell an I: Be a little more friendly than usual, not quite as businesslike. You should get along fairly easily with him or her.



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• To sell an S: Slow down, give

assurances, give more details, be friendlier, give him or her a chance to digest facts, don’t overstress new or innovative aspects. • To sell a C: Present plenty of proof and facts, make sure all questions are answered, take it much slower than your usual pace, and don’t be “pushy.” Blending for the I Salesperson You are friendly and happy-golucky. You lack attention to details, become easily bored, and are very social and people-oriented. • To sell a D: Don’t tell jokes or make small talk. Stay businesslike, and don’t waste time. • To sell an I: No problem, just remember to ask for the agreement. • To sell an S: Earn their trust before becoming too friendly. Stick to the facts and figures. Some socializing and small talk about your families is desirable. You will need to show a lot of knowledge about your product or service and his or her group’s needs. • To sell a C: He or she is probably your most difficult customer. He or she is not impressed by storytelling or socializing. Give the facts, figures, and proof. The best you can do is attempt to act like another C.

Blending for the S Salesperson You are steady and dependable, but easily discouraged. You can lack confidence in your sales abilities when placed in new and difficult situations. • To sell a D: Assert more confidence, and don’t be intimidated or scared off by the strong-willed and challenging D. Come back strongly with the answers he or she wants. • To sell an I: You may not like his or her over-friendly, time-wasting attitude, but you should get along fairly well. • To sell an S: Like you, he or she will probably require lots of assurances, so be confident. • To sell a C: You’ll have a fine rapport as long you can confidently answer all his or her questions and firmly present specific facts and figures. Don’t be intimidated by his or her skepticism. Blending for the C Salesperson You are a well-organized facts-andfigures person who prefers selling the traditional aspects of your product or service. • To sell a D: Be careful; don’t overwhelm him or her with all your facts and figures. Just hit the high points. And muster enough courage to sell those new and innovative aspects of your product or service.

• To sell an I: Again, resist the urge

to lay out all the facts. Just hit the high points, being as friendly as possible. Try showing him or her the new and innovative aspects of your product or service. • To sell an S: Just don’t talk too fast, and you’ll get along well. Give him or her plenty of time to digest the facts you present. Talk about his or her family a little, too. • To sell a C: This is your easiest sale. You’ll see eye-to-eye with him or her from the start. While few people are pure “D, I, S, or C,” most of us are mixtures of the different styles. Blending your style to your client’s main style will be one of the most effective and successful sales techniques you can use. Use the people in your office whose styles are different from yours to help you discover how to approach that tough client more effectively. You will find that the more you use these techniques, the easier it will become to identify clients and close more sales. Dr. Jerry Teplitz is an author, attorney and has a Ph.D. in wholistic health sciences. He is author of Managing Your Stress, Switched-On Living and Brain Gym For Business. He speaks and consults on management, leadership, sales and personal development issues. Dr. Teplitz can be reached at (800) 77-RELAX (7773529) or For more information, visit

How to Find Sales Aces Continued from page 16

potential customers than raise the priority of such behavior in your schedule. Paperwork, project visits and financials are actions with immediate results. Sales is the definition of delayed gratification. Accepting this premise and persevering anyway will separate you from a high percentage of the competition. Finding a sales ace or becoming one is not easy. Many contractors settle for less than desirable sales efforts and people. More time is often spent


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evaluating project managers than pursuing strong business development people. One final caveat is sales training. A good sales training program can improve an existing team and fire up an ace. Finding a program that fits construction is difficult, but they’re out there. This can help sales personnel see what they’re missing or educate them on a sales trend taking place in your market. The challenge is to invest in your sales efforts. Sales is simply the most important aspect of your business, period! Without sales, nothing else matters. If you don’t win


projects, it doesn’t matter how well you can manage them. Giving proper focus to your sales personnel and plan is critical. In my experience, few contractors invest the time to even recognize an ace, even if it’s right in front of you. Now you know what to look for! Tom Woodcock, president, Seal The Deal, St. Louis, Mo., is a speaker, trainer, and author of the book You’re Not Sellin’, They’re Buyin’! He can be reached at (314) 775-9217 or www.


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Feature Switched-On Selling: Balance Your Brain for Sales Success by Jerry V. Teplitz, JD, Ph.D., CSP Your wiring system is how your brain interprets information and how the neuron nets in the brain are activated. Switched-On Selling specifically focuses on this level to give you a completely unique way to become a successful salesperson. Let me share with you the results experienced by of one of my clients, Kevin Kordek, CEO, A-Active Termite and Pest Control in Virginia Beach, Va. In August 2009, in the middle of the U.S. recession, Kordek put half his sales force through the oneday seminar that the book is based on. I told him to put his mediocre salespeople through the one-day

Today, if a company or an individual invests in sales training, they want it to make a difference in the bottom line. But most sales trainings start at the wrong level by focusing on sales techniques instead of the subconscious blocks that are keeping salespeople from achieving their full potential. Where sales training needs to start is at the level of the salesperson’s brain wiring. My latest No. 1 Amazon Bestseller book, Switched-On Selling: Balance Your Brain for Sales Success, co-authored with master sales trainer, Dr. Tony Alessandra, lets you immediately experience greater success than ever before.

class. Immediately afterwards, six of the eight salespeople who attended the training jumped above his top tier performers. They defined a new top tier. In October 2009, as we moved into the slow recovery, Kordek put the rest of his sales force through the training. A year later, Kordek told me that his company’s profits had doubled and that his company was now the No. 1 distributor in the country on two of his high-end product lines. In addition, one of his salespeople increased his sales over 300 percent! By the way, two of the original six who became part of the new top tier group thought the seminar was a waste of time. Four months after the seminar, Kordek showed the two their sales stats before the seminar and the jump immediately after the seminar and even they finally said it was the seminar that caused their tremendous increase in sales.


I Am Comfortable Asking For The Order And Closing The Sale

Total Number of Respondents (%)



55 50


Post Seminar Responses




35 31



1 Month after Seminar Responses

16 12 8






1 Strongly Disagree

2 Disagree

3 Agree

4 Strongly Agree

*Pre and Post SOS respondents limited to those who returned 1 Month Later survey


Getting Switched On

Pre Seminar Responses



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How did these changes happen? By using very simple and easy-to-do body movements and exercises called Brain Gym®, which facilitate the integration of both sides of the brain, creates changes in brain function and reduces stress levels in the body and the mind. Brain Gym® was originally developed by Dr. Paul Dennison and Gail Dennison for children and adults with learning disabilities. Dr. Dennison has a Ph.D. in education and they discovered that using Brain Gym could give students who were averaging Ds and Fs the capability to become A-level students in a semester. In the Switched-On Selling book and seminar, I adapted the simple body movements and exercises in Brain Gym so these same concepts could be used to assist sales professionals to

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become more effective and successful. With the integration of the brain toward the goal of success, the task of selling becomes easier and less stressful, resulting in successes such as those experienced by Kordek’s sales force. In the book, you’ll also learn Tony Alessandra’s techniques for more effective selling, plus you’ll learn how to switch yourself on for being able to do what Tony is teaching in each chapter. You’ll find in minutes, what was difficult will become easy and what you avoided doing you’ll be able to do. It will even help those of you who are already good at selling get even better!

seminar high or a placebo effect. One of the questions was, “I am comfortable asking for the order and closing the sale.” At the beginning of the seminar 52 percent responded negatively to this statement. At the end the day, the number on the negative side dropped to 8 percent. A month later, the number dropped down to 6 percent. On the positive side of the equation, at the beginning of the day only 16 percent responded Strongly Agree. At the end of the day it jumped to 35 percent and a month later, this figure jumped up to 50 percent while the other 47 percent responded Agree. (See the graph on the previous page).

I’ve Got The Research to Prove it!

By using a “switched on” approach to selling, you will now have the missing piece to enable you to succeed. Fear of rejection, cold calling, and asking for referrals, as well as, any of the other sales challenges you face will dissipate and be gone in minutes. So switch your brain on today … it will pay dividends for years to come.

I’ve conducted a research study with 695 salespeople. We gave attendees a pre-questionnaire at the beginning of the seminar day, a post-questionnaire at the end of the day. We then collected the forms and got them back to the participants a month later as a way to get over the results being because of a

Switched-On For Success

Two Choices: Attend a Live Seminar or Get the DVD Album The next live open to the public Switched-On Selling seminar will be Nov. 19 in Norfolk, Va. For more information, visit htm. Dr. Jerry Teplitz is an author, attorney and has a Ph.D. in wholistic health sciences. He is author of Managing Your Stress, Switched-On Living and Brain Gym For Business. He speaks and consults on management, leadership, sales and personal development issues. Dr. Teplitz can be reached at (800) 77-RELAX (777-3529) or For information about purchasing the Switched-On Selling book, or purchasing the 6 DVD album of the live Switched-on Selling seminar (4 DVDs) combined with two DVDs of Tony Alessandra’s selling techniques visit SOSDVD.html.

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Legally Speaking Subcontractors: Are You Complying with New Paid Sick Leave Requirements? by Ross A. Boden, Sandberg, Phoenix & von Gontard, P.C. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final rule on Executive Order 13706, which established paid sick leave requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors. The final rule is consistent with the growing trend among state and local governments implementing paid sick leave requirements. After fully implemented, the Department of Labor estimates that the rule will provide paid sick leave to 1.15 million employees. Non-complying subcontractors may face civil actions for lost pay and benefits, liquidated damages, other monetary damages, equitable relief, and could be barred from future work on federal contracts, so compliance is important. There are many limitations and exceptions to the new requirements, and this article examines common compliance questions.

Are All Federal Subcontractors Covered? No, but the final rule applies to all subcontractors of any tier under a wide range of federal contracts including: 1. Procurement contracts for construction or services under the Davis-Bacon Act 2. Service contracts under the Service Contract Act 3. Concession contracts, including concession contracts excluded from the Service Contract Act under Department of Labor Regulations 29 CFR 4.133(b) Contracts in connection with federal property or lands and related to offering services for federal employees, their dependents or the general public. The final rule applies to new contracts in any of the above categories that are entered into on or



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after Jan. 1, 2017. The final rule does not apply to existing contracts, but it does apply, with some limitations, to existing contracts that are modified or renewed after Jan. 1, 2017. There are narrow exclusions for grants, contracts with Native American tribes, procurement contracts for construction under $2,000, and service contracts under $2,500.

Which Employees Are Entitled to Paid Sick Leave? Any persons performing work on or in connection with a covered contract and whose wages are governed by the Davis-Bacon Act, Service Contract Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act, including any employees who are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (i.e. executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees may be covered), are entitled to paid sick leave. The final rule distinguishes between employees working “on” covered contracts and employees working “in connection with” covered contracts. Employees performing services specifically called for under the contract (i.e. crane operator or welder) are working “on” the contract and must be given paid sick leave; whereas employees performing other work related to the contract (i.e. security or payroll) are working merely “in connection with” the contract and are not automatically entitled to paid sick leave. For employees working “in connection with” a covered contract, the employees are not entitled to paid sick if less than 20 percent of their hours are spent working in connection with covered contracts.


There is also an exclusion for workers subject to a collective bargaining agreement, but the exclusion applies only if the collective bargaining agreement already provides at least as many hours of paid sick leave afforded to employees under the final rule. Otherwise, the employer must make up the difference.

How Many Hours of Paid Sick Leave Are Required? 56 hours annually.

Do Employers Have to Carry Over Unused Paid Sick Leave into Future Years? Yes. Employers must carry over any unused paid sick leave time from year to year. But even though the time carries over, employees are not entitled to use more than 56 paid sick leave hours in any given year.

Are Employees Entitled to All 56 Hours Upfront? No. Employers have the option of providing employees all 56 hours upfront or requiring employees to accrue the hours over time.

How Do Employers Calculate the Accrued Time? If the accrual option is selected, employees are entitled to one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work performed on or in connection with a covered contract. Hours worked on non-covered contracts do not count toward the 30 hours, but an employer may utilize this exception only if the employer tracks its employees’ time spent on covered versus non-covered contracts or has a verifiable system in place for estimating the time spent on covered versus non-covered contracts.

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If no such tracking or estimating system is in place, all the employees’ hours must be counted toward the employees’ paid sick leave accrual. For example, as of Aug. 1, 2017, the final rule will have been in effect for approximately 31 weeks. Assuming all employees have been working 40 hours per week on or in connection with covered contracts, every employee is currently entitled to 41 hours of paid sick leave. On the other hand, if the employees have spent only half of their time working on or in connection with covered contracts and the employer has a system in place to track or estimate which hours are covered, then the employees have accrued only 20 hours of paid sick leave. Employees are not entitled to fractions of an hour for increments of less than 30 qualifying hours. For example, an employee working 89 hours has accumulated only two hours of paid sick leave. The remaining 29 hours would be added to the employee’s qualifying hours during the next pay period.

Are Employers Required to Notify Employees About These New Rights? Yes. Employers must calculate and notify their employees in writing of the amount of accrued paid sick leave: (1) at the end of each month or pay period, whichever is shorter; (2) when the employment relationship ends; and (3) when a former employee is rehired.

What Is a Permissible Use of Paid Sick Leave? The final rule provides employees with broad areas of permissible uses. These include: 1. For an employee’s own physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition; 2. For obtaining any medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventive care;


C O N T R A C T O R ’ S

3. For seeking relief, care, legal action or relocation due to domestic violence, assault, or stalking. 4. For assisting an employee’s child, spouse, parent, domestic partner, blood relative, or any other individual with whom the employee has the equivalent of a familial relationship with any of the first three conditions.

In What Increments May the Employee Use Paid Sick Leave? Generally, employees must be allowed to use paid sick leave in one hour increments. Employers may permit increments of less than one hour, but are not required to do so. For example, if the employee must be 30 minutes late to take a child to the doctor, then the employer may require the employee to use a full hour of leave, but has the option of allowing the employee to use only a half hour of leave. An exception to this rule is permitted when employees are physically unable to access the job site after the start of a shift and no equivalent position is available in the meantime. In those cases, the employer may require the employee to use leave time for as long as the access restrictions exists.

Employers may not under any circumstances require employees to find a substitute worker before permitting employees to utilize accrued leave.

What Happens When the Job Ends or an Employee Quits with Unused Paid Sick Leave? Cashing out the employee for unused time is not required. The employer has the option of either cashing-out the employee for the unused time or tracking the time and reinstating the time if the employee is rehired within 12 months. Ross A. Boden of Sandberg, Phoenix & von Gontard, P.C., Kansas City, Mo., is an attorney who represents construction professionals in a wide range of legal matters across Kansas and Missouri. He can be reached at or at (816) 627-5536. Visit for more information.

Are Employees Required to Give Advance Notice of Their Leave? It depends. If the need for leave was not foreseeable (i.e. the employee’s child woke up with the flu), then no. But if the employee had a routine doctor’s appointment scheduled weeks in advance, then yes, the employee must give notice seven days in advance. Regardless of whether advance notice is required under the circumstances, employees must provide oral or written information sufficient to inform the employer that the employee is requesting paid sick leave.



2 0 1 7


Coming Up

ASA/FASA Calendar January 2018

8 — Webinar “The Devil’s Triangle: Understanding the Overlap Between the FMLA, ADA and Workers’ Compensation Laws” presented by Philip J. Siegel, Hendrick, Phillips, Salzman & Flatt

9 — Webinar “Indemnity and Hold Harmless” presented by Lee B. Brumitt, Dysart Taylor Cotter McMonigle & Montemore, P.C.

22 — Webinar “Self-Funded Healthcare for Subcontractors” presented by Andrea Aker, Redirect Health (Complimentary)

23 — Webinar “How the Difference Between Extra Work and Additional Work Can Impact Claims for Payment” presented by Stephen Moore and James Morris, Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith

September 2017

February 2018

12 — Webinar “Lean Construction” presented by Ashley Colburn, Hoar Construction

13 — Webinar “Getting Better Subcontracts” presented by Eric Travers, Kegler, Brown, Hill and Ritter

22–24 — ASA Executive Committee and Board of Directors Meeting, Baltimore, Md.

28–March 3 — SUBExcel 2018, Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, Tempe, Ariz.

26 — Webinar “How to Have a MultiMillion Dollar Impact by Asking ‘One More Question’” presented by Eric Anderton, Professional Leadership Coach and Trainer

April 2018

10 — Webinar “Technology and Transparency—Part 2” presented by Stephane McShane, Maxim Consulting Group 20–21 — ASA Legal & Advocacy Meetings, Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M. 24 — Webinar “Using Drones: What Subcontractors Need to Know” presented by Brian Esler and Seth Row, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP November 2017 14 — Webinar “Employment Law Mistakes Most Commonly Made by Subcontractors” presented by Philip J. Siegel, Hendrick, Phillips, Salzman & Flatt

10 — Webinar “Lien & Bond Claims” presented by Timothy Woolford, Woolford Law, P.C. May 2018 8 — Webinar “Change Orders” presented by Joe Katz, Huddles Jones Sorteberg & Dachille, P.C. June 2018 12 — Webinar “Cash Management” presented by James L. Salmon, Benjamin, Yocum & Heather, LLC

Theme: Workforce & Professional Development • How

Organizations Hurt Their Operations Without Even Knowing It

• Women

Contact information for ASA/ FASA events and programs:,

12 — Webinar “Ownership Succession Planning” presented by Stephen Bonebrake, Maxim Consulting Group


in Construction

• Components

of a SelfFunded Healthcare Plan

• Use

of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment

• Inflexible

Leave Policies

• Resources

to Assist with ADA Compliance

• Criminal Aspects

of Acting

Unethically • Legally

December 2017



August 2017

October 2017


in the September 2017 Issue of ASA’s


Look for your issue in September. PAST ISSUES: Access online at

C O N T R A C T O R ’ S J U C N O M E P 2A 0S 1S 7 TM



Project Management Software for Subcontractors Complexity. That’s the biggest obstacle to implementing a new technology. The more complex it is, the less your people will use it. That’s what sets us apart. Our software was created for subcontractors by subcontractors. It speaks your language. It mirrors the way you work. And it strips away all the confusing bells and whistles that make other systems so complex. With Project DocControl, it’s never been easier to stay connected to all your projects from the field. Or to access project information from your mobile devices. Discover why so many ASA members have implemented Project DocControl. For more information, or for a no-obligation online demo, call 813.903.9446 or visit

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50! Congratulations to ASA on your 50th anniversary! Project DocControl is proud of its decade-long ASA national sponsorship.

MAY 7 TH , 8:10 A .M .



AmSlab Solutions founder, Arik Mullen, is always finding ways to solidify his concrete business. So when he learned how a simple workbook available through CNA’s Motion is Money® program could highlight hundreds of hours of worker inefficiencies, he called his Risk Control Specialist, conducted a worksite audit, and developed a plan to minimize bending, lifting and reaching for tools. Now AmSlab productivity is up 3%, and Arik’s enjoying a much healthier bottom line.

When you’re looking for programs that help keep workers safe and businesses strong … ® we can show you more.

To learn how CNA’s insurance programs for contractors can help your business grow more profitably, contact your independent agent or visit The examples provided in this material are for illustrative purposes only and any similarity to actual individuals, entities, places or situations is unintentional and purely coincidental. Please remember that only the relevant insurance policy can provide the actual terms, coverages, amounts, conditions and exclusions for an insured. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice. “CNA” is a service mark registered by CNA Financial Corporation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the “CNA” service mark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities. Copyright © 2017 CNA. All rights reserved.

The Contractor's Compass August 2017  

The official educational journal of the American Subcontractors Association

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