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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Construction Marketing: Leads and sales

Why bother with learning about how to be an effective and successful construction industry marketer? The answer -- and measure of your marketing success -- is the quality of sales leads you are able to generate.

Quality leads convert to high-value business with little selling or pricing effort. In other words, if your marketing is successful, people will pay your price, without resistance, and will sign on the dotted line exactly when you wish them to make their commitments.

In many respects, lead quality is far more important than quantity. If you want lots of leads, I can give you the phone book, or you can call one of the commercial services who will send you dozens of somewhat qualified leads, of which a few will convert to real business. Maybe you have an efficient and resourceful (and maybe a high pressure) sales force, who can drum up business by cold calling or door-to-door canvassing. These methods work, but they are stressful or most of us, and unpleasant for virtually everyone.

Conversely, word-of-mouth referrals and repeat clients because of their satisfaction with your service are golden. You don't strain or struggle to serve them, you enjoy working with these prime clients, and some of them are incredibly helpful for your business, perhaps referring several other high quality clients.

These numbers are validated by our ongoing poll, where hundreds of people have now voted, and 73 per cent say they find most of their business through repeat and referral business.

With this information in hand, you now have a clue to how you should focus your marketing efforts.
  1. Develop your service so well that clients want to do business with you by treating them right. Remember, two major client complaints are failure to return calls in a timely manner, and failure to clean up your job site. These are easy fixes.
  2. Then, focus on communicating, responding, connecting, and building out relationships with your existing clients to induce and encourage more repeat and referral business.
Your next challenge is to figure out how to leverage beyond these two basic guidelines. Advertising, leads services, and cold calling and canvassing all have their places: They can be expensive, short term, but if you are able to attract the right type of clients who will fit into the referral/repeat matrix you will recoup your investment. But you can do these things intelligently.

I'm a firm believer in effective media publicity (we provide that to our clients in Ontario, North Carolina and the greater Washington DC area), coupled with resourceful association networking, both in the business-t0-business and community environments. Both forms of marketing can be inexpensive or virtually free in cash cost, but require commitments of time, energy and talent.

You don't need to spend a lot of money to be a truly effective construction industry market leader. Simply focus on your core -- your existing and previous clients -- and build out the relationships of trust and integrity to the wider community through their network.

(And what should you do when you are just starting out? I'll discuss your options in my next posting.)


John Poole said...

Great post. My experience has also shown that repeat business is the best source of new jobs. I'm thinking of starting a construction company and my first priority will be doing the best work possibly for my first few clients. It's crucial.

Construction Marketing Ideas said...

John, you are right. Of course the challenge a the start (unless you have a network and no legal barriers from previous employers) is to find your first clients. I'll frame my thoughts on this topic in the next blog posting.