At the reception of the Ottawa Construction Association's Annual General Meeting in February. It makes sense to belong to your relevant construction/trade association, but if you really want to gain marketing power, consider joining relevant client-focused associations. How can you determine which associations to join? Invite your best clients for lunch and find out which groups they support.This month's Publisher's Viewpoint in Ontario Construction Report
By Mark Buckshon
President, Construction News and Report Group of Companies
When times are good – either for the overall economy, your business, or both – you don't have to work too hard for your business. Clients are calling you, there is more than enough business for everyone in the marketplace, and you can focus on your trade or profession and (maybe) solve labour shortage issues.
When times are tough, even the simplest processes seem to be much more difficult. You are running low on work, and new business isn't flowing as you wish. So you decide you need to reach out and promote your business, to advertise or review leads service reports for whatever opportunities arise. You spend time, money and energy – but find you have even more competition, and even less chance of success.
We certainly cannot change the external economic environment (if we had that kind of power, we wouldn't be writing or reading articles like this), but we can take some measures to create an effective “good times” mentality in your marketing, even though things are less-than-perfect out there.
To achieve great results, you need to appreciate that it isn't what you take, but what you give, that counts; and your objective should be to forge and develop relationships so that your personal and business reputation are so strong that potential clients call you without worrying about the price or competition. The marketing word for this is “branding”.
How do you achieve these results? I've found by far the most effective route is to connect with associations or groups representing the interests of your current and potential clients, and give your heart, soul and spirit to the groups. (You can give your money as well, but you don't need to spend much if any cash here to succeed.)
After a while, your generosity will be recognized by the groups' leaders – and their influence is strong among the members-at-large. With the buy-in at this level, you will find you tipped off about projects. Where bidding opportunities must be competitive, you find you end up with the subjective edge in the selection process.
Remember, from a marketing perspective, your contributions should be to the groups you wish to market to, more than your own trade group or organization (though of course participation and support of your own industry or trade can be healthy and rewarding for you and your business.) If you are wondering which groups to join, take your best clients for coffee or lunch, and ask them which groups they respect within their industry. They may provide introductions to you to help speed up your acceptance among their peers.
Do you have thoughts or questions about this posting? Please feel free to post a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.