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Grow Your Business by Marketing and Selling Tilt-Up

By: Ed Sauter, Tilt-Up concrete Association

One of the most fundamental components of owning and operating a business is being able to sell your services or products. While this is one of the most basic tasks, it can also be one of the most challenging. Key to success in marketing and selling is having a detailed understanding of what it is you are selling and being able to educate others about its benefits. This is certainly true in the construction industry, but many fail to sell their construction of method of choice to owners and architects. Being able to sell others on why Tilt-Up is the optimal solution will set you apart from your competition and position you for success.


The first step in being able to sell others on Tilt-Up is to have seen the process. It is very difficult to describe the process without having witnessed it first-hand. This knowledge will help you be able to break the process down into easily understandable components. Since the Tilt-Up process is visually stimulating, it is often helpful to include visual aids such as videos, photos or scale demonstrations to convey the process. It is also important that you are able to describe the process in general terms, regardless of your role in a project. Your audience may have very little knowledge of the construction industry and overwhelming them with technical details could cause them to lose interest in your presentation. You should also be able to clearly articulate how Tilt-Up differs from precast, masonry and metal construction.

Understanding what has been done with Tilt-Up is critically important, especially if you are new to Tilt-Up since you will be selling from other companies’ experience and not your own. You are in luck because almost everything has been done with Tilt-Up from 70-foot clock towers and striking religious facilities to lighthouses and lifestyle malls. It is often helpful in these circumstances to know why Tilt-Up was selected for a project and provide any details on cost or schedule savings that using Tilt-Up provided. Familiarize yourself with the variety of architectural finishes, end-uses and what can be done with Tilt-Up. Reviewing the recent award winners and newsletters from the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) is a good place to start. Also, the executive staff at TCA can provide you with collateral materials and any additional information you need.


Now that you have a detailed understanding of the method, it is time to begin selling Tilt-Up. While it is important to understand the differences between Tilt-Up and competing methods, it is always better to take the high road and not sell negatively by bashing other methods or making false claims. This is not only a poor selling technique, but is damaging to the construction industry as a whole. Also, don’t sell Tilt-Up as the cheapest way to go. This kind of selling positions people to look at initial cost only. Even if Tilt-Up is the most economical method, you also want to sell its other attributes including durability, life-cycle costs, speed of construction and various other benefits. Avoid any advertising or marketing efforts that further the misconceptions about Tilt- Up such as being the answer only for boxes. This could not only pigeon-hole your firm, but also hurt the Tilt-Up industry.

One innovative way to sell Tilt-Up is to host presentations about the method. This will make your firm the premier resource on the subject and foster understanding within the building community. This method has been extremely successful for many Tilt-Up professionals who have presented to local architects, developers and even school boards. TCA has a PowerPoint presentation available for members to use in their selling efforts as well as a variety of other materials.


Today’s concrete professionals understand the need for comprehensive business plans that outline goals and objectives for a firm. However, the importance of developing a thorough and detailed marketing plan that supports the business plan often gets pushed to the backburner. A marketing plan creates a roadmap for your efforts throughout the year and provides a method for tracking success. When creating your marketing plan, it is crucial to define your potential clients. Don’t forget to include architects, engineers, contractors and owners. Each of these professionals can be a valuable source for creating new opportunities for your firm and you should have a detailed plan for how you will market to them since each group has their own specific needs. Also, look at the ready mixed community. Ready mixed producers sell 40 percent more product on a Tilt-Up job and will likely joint your marketing efforts. There are several other outlets such as developers and real estate communities that need to be aware of your message. A marketing plan will help you coordinate these efforts. Make sure to keep the plan an active document and not something that gets put on a shelf collecting dust.


Even if you have witnessed panels being tilted into place multiple times, you never get bored of it. Chances are the media won’t either. It is a dramatic and exciting process that makes a great story. Hold a Tilt-Up party that you invite media and prospects to attend. One tip is to do it on day two of tilting, not day one, so you are better organized and any problems can be ironed out on the first day. Of course, remember to keep safety first. If you are working on a project that needs the support of a community such as a religious or educational facility, get them involved in the project by encouraging them to attend lift day. One innovative contractor encouraged members of a congregation to write messages on the interior of panels that would eventually be covered. The gesture allowed the church community to actively participate in the project and leave their mark on their new facility.

You can also help educate the media about Tilt-Up by sending them stories, articles and ideas. TCA has a variety of articles that can be repackaged for your market. Participate in the TCA awards program and other industry award opportunities to receive press coverage about your projects. This is an excellent opportunity to send your local media a press release about your receiving an award. Don’t forget to take advantage of TCA and other industry associations. They are always looking for story ideas and projects to highlight. If you have done more of something than anyone else or have an interesting project to share, be sure to let others know.

The key to success when marketing and selling Tilt-Up is to be prepared. Do your homework before you get started and develop a comprehensive plan that outlines how you will attack your market. Partner with industry associations and maximize your investment in the association.

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.