Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Relationship Building with Architects

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Picture3
Someone once told me a very valuable marketing principle that said, if you want to marry a rich woman, have to date rich women. I found this to be a very sound marketing principle. When it comes to a construction company, where do you find the rich women? My experience is most really good jobs come from architects. So if you know enough of the right architects, and have a good relationship with those architects, you’ll get a chance at all of the good work you want.
My clients tell me; well it’s not easy to get to see those architects. I disagree. By using a website like Houzz.com®, that lists all the architects that you want. It is very possible to find the right architect. You have their name, address, and phone number. From a marketing perspective that’s the most difficult part. The Simple truth is if you have the right relationships with enough of the right architects, you get all the work you want. So the challenge is, how do you get them to meet you?

I suggest to my clients that they interview the architect as much as the architect interviews them. Architects get about 50% of their work from contractors. So they are as interested in you, as you are in them. When you call them, let them know where you found them, (On Houzz.com®, referral, website ect.) and you’re very impressed with their work. After introductions, simply cut to the chase. Tell them you are looking for a good architect to refer to, and that’s why you want to meet with them. This works even better if you have a job to refer. If you do have a job to refer, I suggest you meet with several architects to get the most bang for your buck. Referrals in the construction industry are a type of currency, so spend it wisely. When you interview the architect make it mostly about them, not about you. Find some common ground to build a relationship upon. Whether it is construction, fishing, or biking find common interests. Remember you may not get a referral from this architect immediately, but you must have a good relationship for the future. A good relationship is probably going to take five or six visits. So persist, and don’t give up!
Make sure that before you leave the architect’s office you have the next meeting scheduled. Keep the meetings and the relationship up, until hopefully, they give you the opportunity to bid some work. The first visit is meaningless without three or four follow-up visits. Most contractors give up way too early in this endeavor. The contractor figures the architect knows what he is, and who he is. He hands the architect his business card, and asks if he has any work to give them a call. This is simply not how it works. Unless you make a sincere effort to maintain and improve the relationship, you will never get a referral from an architect. If the first visit is the architect telling you about themselves, the next visit can be about you. The third visit might be observing a job. The next visit could be having lunch, or some excuse to get together. Keep the ball rolling. Keep the relationship going. Stay at the top of the architect’s mind, if you want this to work. This is really where persistence pays off. If you’re not willing to persist to five or six visits, months of effort will probably be a waste of time.

How to Get Work From Architects Using the Website www.houzz.com

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

By Paul Sanneman- Dream Business Coaching Founder-

The website houzz.com® has made marketing for the general contractor and subcontractor much easier than it used to be.  I have developed a specific technique for general contractors, and subcontractors, it works very well. In fact, I have used this exact same technique to get as many new clients as I want for my personal consulting business.

Step one: You go to the houzz.com website and identify those people you would consider as prospects. For a general contractor, you would go to architects. This means you select the category architects, and then choose an area geographically that you’re interested in. For example, select architects within 10 miles of San Francisco. You then look at each architect’s houzz.com listing and decide the one(s) you would like to work with. Once you have chosen an architect you want to work with, copy the top of their houzz.com listing, which gives the basics about the company; the name of the owner, their address, and phone number. You then copy and paste this information to a word document and then print it out. This gives you a very basic paper copy of a lead sheet to work with.

Step two: Then you place the all important phone call. The most difficult part about getting in touch with contractors or architects is to actually, physically, get them on the phone. Here is an example of a message you leave to get them to call you back.  Hi, I found you on Houzz.com, I’m interested in what you do, please give me a call back, my name is Paul and my phone # is 123-4567.  DO NOT LEAVE ANY MORE INFORMATION THAN THIS. Use your personal cell phone, so when they call back it will not have your business name on the answering machine.

A lot of the people you call will call you back because, they went through a lot of effort to be listed in houzz.com, and they also think you are a potential job. The next 10 seconds are crucial. You have to be honest, tell the truth, and get them to be excited they called you back. Your phone script should go something like this. I found you on houzz.com, I am a general contractor, I’ve been in business for 20 years in the bay area, and I’ve worked with several architects like…. Make a list of people they know, and will be impressed with. State how long you have been in business, and continue to drop the names of references that they know. This should establish instant credibility for you, and will make them want to continue the conversation.

The entire mission of this conversation is to get an appointment. If they ask for more information, you will want to use any information you give as a reason to see them in person. For example, if they say, can you tell me a little bit about more your company? You close again and say, it is much easier to explain in person, that’s why I would like to set an appointment.  Turn any excuse or objection into a reason to meet.   Again the whole mission of this phone call is to get an appointment. This is assuming that you can meet them in person. If you’re trying to get a phone client, or you’re selling on the phone, this is where you give your sales presentation. If they say, I will not talk to you until you send me more information.  Then you send them an email, and then you set up an appointment over the phone to follow up that email.

Don’t forget to keep closing. You may have to close them three or four times. Remember in closing you repeat any objection(s), so they know you heard them, and then you close again for the appointment. The entire purpose of this process is to get an appointment with qualified prospects. I have found that when people hear you found them on houzz.com they’re not offended when you call them. They went to time and effort to be listed on houzz.com.  It’s like you’re part of the same club, in most cases, they will really like to talk to you. I have one client the told me the best thing that ever happened on houzz.com, was that I found them. I hope you get the same luck with houzz.com that I’ve had.  It’s a great tool, it works nationwide, and it’s going to get nothing but better. 

Step Three: After calling many, many houzz.com® prospects you will be left with three categories of responses. They can be receptive, and pick a time and place for an appointment.  They can be disinterested, not call you back and blow off all other attempts to contact them.  They can be unsure, and do not set an appointment, but do give an indication of interest, just not right now.   Now that you have the responses, it’s time to organize the information.   For each category of response you have, place the paper copy lead sheet with the business info in that category.  This is so you do not call the same uninterested lead twice, wasting your time and theirs’.  Also, you do not want to unknowingly call an interested lead twice, give them your same pitch, and look disingenuous.   The maybe responses go in their call back category.  Remember, a little organization will save a lot of time. 

Selling Versus Marketing

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

by Jim Noh-Kuhn, Dream Business Coach

I have noticed a tendency of small businesses to market by selling, and to sell by marketing. It’s important to remember that these two activites are different. Marketing is the attraction of potential customers to your business; converting a target audience to become potential clients. Selling is the act of converting those potential clients to actual clients by understand their needs and meeting those needs.

As Ron Willingham points out in his excellent book “Integrity Selling for the 21st Century“, selling is about the personal relationship you have with a potential client. It’s about solving their problem, whether that solution involves your product or service or not. If the potential client sees that you have their best interests in mind, then they are much more likely to reward you with business and/or a referral.

Ah – the referral. That brings us to the best business strategy for marketing: word of mouth recommendations. It may not be fancy or sexy, but it has always been more effective towards getting more new paying customers than anything else. And in this day and age of social media and electronic connections, that word of mouth can spread quickly.

But word of mouth is not something controllable, and your marketing plan needs to be controlled (and measured). If selling is about solving a potential client’s need, then target marketing is about reaching people whose needs could be solved with your products and services (if they only knew that you existed). For example, if your business is installing kitchen cabinets, then your target audience is everyone who needs new cabinets.

An important question at this point is whether your marketing plan includes those people who don’t yet know they need new cabinets. How comfortable are you in “creating” a problem, where perhaps a potential client can’t afford new cabinets. This is where your company’s values come into play. That’s why it is so important to articulate and know your values upfront, before a marketing plan is defined.

The next time you’re faced with a potential customer, ask yourself what their real need is, and help them solve that. And the next time you’re faced with spending marketing dollars, ask yourself two questions: what are my values, and who is my target audience? Then, satisfying their needs will feel truly fulfilling.