In his second guest blog post, David Crick from Contractors Marketing Services explores the benefits of the long term approach to winning contracts.
Beyond the next contract: the value of long term partnerships with contractors
As a marketing sales hunter, it’s tempting to measure success in quick wins – getting to tender, securing a first face to face meeting, or even winning a lucrative contract. Experienced sales people know that there is a bigger prize behind this business activity, and those are all steps towards it. What you really want is long-term business partnerships.
Getting a contract is one thing. Becoming a trusted partner, with multiple contracts over the next few years, is another thing altogether. You’ll never build a sustainable, profitable business by just chasing jobs one after the other. Good marketing builds repeat custom and long term sources of work.
That means that in the construction industry, sales and marketing is a permanent discipline. It’s not enough to run a campaign, raise awareness of your company, and then sit back. Productive business relationships need time and commitment, perseverance and patience.
If you’re going to be investing serious time and effort into building relationships, then it’s obviously important to choose carefully who to approach. So be strategic. Look for the companies you want to work with and for. They may be specialists in a similar field, or local to you. They may be a company you admire and respect. Identify the most profitable sources of work, the kind of jobs you want to be doing, and then go after your best business. Call them and start a conversation. Follow up by email. Send more information, and call again. Talk through up-coming projects. Find out what their needs are and work out how you can meet them. As we discussed in the last guest post, always keep asking how you can help.
This isn’t easy. On average, it will take seven different types of contact before a client will commit to a sale. A lot of other sales people will give up before they get that far, so stick with it and your persistence will be rewarded. I don’t need to tell you how slowly some projects move in the construction world, dragging on for years sometimes. Hang in there, and as other fall away, you will distinguish yourself with your commitment.
Once you get to actually meeting clients, making presentations and so on, you’ve still got more to do to build a partnership. It generally takes at least 12 hours of face to face time to build the necessary trust and rapport for a productive working relationship.
And that’s ultimately what you’re after as a marketer – relationships. So think beyond the next job, and build towards long term potential.
Download our Really Useful Guide to Construction Marketing – and if you’re a member of the CIOB, you can read it as part of your continuing professional development.
Read David Crick’s Guest Blog: Top sales & marketing tips for the construction industry.
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