How to Get to a Potential Project First
By Larry Silver
A key question for business development is how to find out about a potential project early enough to negotiate with limited or no competition. There are five primary categories to consider to find out about a project early and to cut off the competition.
Land ? From the ground up, construction obviously requires some parcel to build. Nothing happens without a suitable site. It makes sense to get a lay of the land in your region. Do you have all of the available land mapped out with owner's information at your fingertips? Many contractors consult with prospective building owners regarding the land acquisition.
Lead Reporting Services ? There are many avenues to buy reports about upcoming projects (Dodge, CMD, Peck, Clark, CBD, Clipping Services, etc.), both hard copy and online. Obviously these reports reveal the fact that the project is out on the street and is common knowledge. Even preplanning reports will have competition, though the project may not be designed yet. The thing I like about this approach is that it causes you to reach out to new prospects and allows you the possibility of getting short-listed.
Networking ? Relationships are the best way to secure new work. A good referral given by a previous client is a sure-fire way to cut off the competition. Through community involvement, association investment and numerous organizations, your employees and their families rub shoulders with people from every walk of life. Word of mouth should never be discounted as a primary business development tool.
Marketing ? Consistent promotional activities such as advertising, public relations, literature development, and direct mail are an excellent way to position your firm as a reputable contractor. We have seen the positive impact that marketing has over several years of effort. It is hard to predict when you may reap from all that you sow, but it does make a big difference in the owner's perception.
Industry-Related Firms ? There are many players in our industry and in your targeted industries. Make reaching out to your targets (health care, schools, retail, etc.) and other allies a regular part of the sales effort. Allies would include design firms, developers, insurance companies and subcontractors, to name a few. Set up a regular program to communicate and develop rapport with both your targeted prospects and these influential allies.
About the Author
Larry Silver is Editor of Contractor Marketing, the first marketing magazine just for contractors. He can be reached at 937-864-5854 ext. 11, or you can visit their website at www.contractormarketing.com.