I appreciate why architects, engineers and construction businesses spend so much time thinking about how to respond to RFP requests, or how/when to bid/estimate jobs. After all, these are the final stages between maybe getting some work, and if you are fortunate, ensuring the new business is profitable.
However, if we really want to build and maintain viable businesses we need to go well before — and well after — the estimating/bidding/proposal stage to the very beginning (and end) of the process: Finding new clients and retaining existing ones.
The latter of course is relatively easy to do, if you have even the slightest business sense. You don’t even have to be perfect about your”excellent customer service” — just delivering reasonable service is usually enough to keep clients in place (though if you do the “wow” things, you’ll obviously have an edge — and be well-positioned to earn powerfully profitable referral business.)
There is a tendency to be passive about this sort of work — it is relatively expensive, with seemingly low return (the ongoing Construction Marketing Ideas survey shows most businesses earn 72 to 73 per cent of their business from repeat and referral clients).
Yet the remaining 27 or 28 per cent (from leads services, advertising or hard-rock canvassing and telemarketing) represents the difference between your business being sustainable, and ultimately failing.
You need to be thoughtful about this stage of the work — and figure out strategies to reduce cost and stress, and increase effectiveness.
That is why Bobby Darnell’s webinar Prospecting for Geniuses — about things other than prospecting, is so important.
Virtually everyone needs a system to discover new clients, create some initial qualifying mechanism, and then bring the new prospects along the line to do business with us. We also need the system to be easy to manage, require minimal prime billing hours working time and, in some cases, to be a process you can delegate to others.
Darnell will provide these answers on Sept. 10. The early bird registration deadline is approaching, and a special offer for a free copy of my Construction Marketing Ideas book expires this evening.