How the planning system can help you win new work

  • 19 Sep 2016

GUEST BLOG: David Crick MCIM from Contractors Marketing Services describes how market intelligence provided by the planning system helps to win new work.

Marketers in the British construction industry have a gift that other sectors can only dream of: the planning system. Yes, it can be a headache as well, but to a sales hunter, the planning system is a godsend.

All building projects have to go through the planning process, and are publicly detailed at every stage. That means that every upcoming piece of building work in the country can be browsed in advance. It’s a huge source of marketing intelligence. With some basic knowledge about how it works, and a strategy that helps you find what you’re looking for, you can use this intelligence to your advantage.

Finding planning leads

The route into this vast pool of information is the market intelligence providers. Barbour ABI and Emap Glenigan are the largest and they specialise in bigger projects, usually worth over £100k. Planning Pipe and Builder’s Conference are two other sources of sales leads. Between them, hundreds of thousands of projects are listed and detailed.

Making planning leads work

Here are a few of the things that can you can do with these planning leads:

  • Look for the kind of work you most like doing
  • Get a head-start on upcoming projects and chase the most suitable ones
  • Find the companies you’d most like to work with or for
  • Identify new companies in your area, so that you can introduce yourself
  • Search for projects or companies in an area you want to expand into, for a targeted email or mail shot

Targeted marketing

What all these ideas have in common is that they are targeted marketing. It’s proactive. You don’t have to wait for work to come to you – you can go out and find it, pitch for it, and win it. This can be the difference between a company that is just ticking over, and one that is growing and developing. The most successful companies are the ones that are choosing the projects they most want to work on, the clients that will be most profitable in the long term. And then they patiently build working relationships with them.

Contract leads

While ‘sales hunting’ might sound adventurous, that patient and steady approach is very important. You can use sales leads to find shovel-ready projects or to fill upcoming gaps in the schedule. This can be really useful if cash flow is tight. But the real prize is to look to the future, not just the next job. Use market intelligence to locate your ideal clients, your best business, and get the names of the decision makers in those companies. Introduce yourself, submit a price, follow up, chase the work you want. That could be work in a particular line of expertise that you have, or projects in a geographical area. It could be high value jobs, or just something that you really enjoy and want to do more of. Whatever it is, identify it, and then strategically mine those planning leads for new relationships that will lead to repeat business and growth.

The planning system is already throwing up all the information you need. If you’re not using it, your competitors probably are!

Marketing Guide

crick-guideDownload the CMS Really Useful Guide to Construction Marketing.

If you’re a member of the CIOB, you can read it as part of your continuing professional development.

More Guest Blogs from David Crick

Creating a corporate image that brings in profitable work

How to achieve long term partnerships with contractors

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