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Marketing For Construction Video Course Masterclass

Friday, 26 November 2010

Eight Essential Characteristics Of The Construction Marketing Expert

The construction industry has been hit hard by the economic recession. Construction has been one of the fastest growing and lucrative businesses in the world. However, in 2007 the bubble started to burst and by the middle of 2008, many house builders were in serious trouble. Now we see some light at the end of the tunnel but in order to capitalise on the growing number of opportunities, many are rediscovering the essentials of construction marketing to build a solid foundation for future growth. Knowing how to procure work in a changing economic climate through an understanding of sound business development principles and construction marketing strategies is key to the future of the industry.

Construction marketing has had a bad press. This has largely been due to a misunderstanding of what modern marketing is all about. Gone are the days of the fancy sales talk, over promising, irrelevant jargon and hype. These days marketing is all about building relationships, making the right connections, offering genuine solutions and forging collaborative partnerships. In order for effective construction marketing to take place, the right person needs to be appointed.

Most Managing Director’s of smaller construction companies spend a lot of time on public relations exercises for which they may not feel cut out! They have enough on their hands managing the business. So someone to concentrate on marketing, client relations and business development is crucial.

Construction Marketing is a specialised area and should be an essential ingredient in your business plan if you want to expand and take on the new challenges of a changing industry. Of course there are marketing techniques and general principles that work in any industry, but whoever does your marketing, needs to know the business.

The construction industry is evolving and changing with new demands and challenges to be faced. This will inevitably mean that we live in a climate of change. Any marketing person worth their fee, will stay ahead of the game and spend time focussing on key areas of development.

Although the opportunities in the construction business are growing rapidly with every government led initiative, the competition for work is getting more intense – especially with the growing emphasis on partnering and frameworks. If your company is to stay in the front line of business growth, you need a Marketing and Promotions Budget and the right person to take things forward.
There are eight essential characteristics you should look for in a marketing person. This may be a special appointment or someone within your company who has the skills and abilities to be at the front end of your marketing and business promotion efforts.

They need to be:

1. A people person. It is essential to have an open personality that connects easily with others and is able to understand how human psychology works. Knowing how people tick, what their key motivators are and what is likely to grab their attention in terms of that new business proposal, is an essential characteristic.

2. An excellent communicator. It’s no good being at the front line of business development if you can’t articulate well. This is more than picking up the telephone. Creativity is essential if your prospect is to be won. So keeping accurate records of every conversation and a knowledge of the company you are targeting is crucial together with relevant personal details of the target. For instance, knowing birthdays, important anniversaries, hobbies and interests can enable a good communicator to respond appropriately. Sending a personalised birthday or Christmas card can be a powerful way of building relationships which form the foundation for business opportunity.

3. Un-flappable! The marketing person will encounter a number of hurdles on a daily basis. The pressure of meeting Key Performance Indicators set by the management can create undue stress for instance. Then there is the unpleasant business of rejection, which is inevitable when targeting new prospects. Sometimes in a busy office environment, especially in the construction industry which often doesn’t rate the marketing role, there can be tensions and a conflict in perceived priorities. The marketing person needs to hold firm in times of uncertainty, believe in the company and it’s products and services and have a determination to grow that sales pipeline.

4. Focussed on the big picture. Getting the next tender through the door and securing that letter of intent is only part of the picture. The marketing person will always be thinking ahead, three to six months down the line, to ensure that all important sales pipeline is healthy. Especially in construction, where the lead in time from tender to job on site can often take months.

5. Highly motivated and a motivator of others. Marketing people need to be self starters. People who see what needs to be done and then just get on with it. They need to be people with initiative and drive and have the ability to take others with them.

6. Well informed. The problem faced by the construction industry in terms of business development is that there have been few specialists in this area. So the danger of appointing a marketing consultant with no real knowledge of the industry has been a real one. At the very least the marketing person needs to have a working knowledge of the industry if not a background in construction.

7. Creative, flexible AND organised! A disorganised marketer is doomed to failure. So although creative and flexible approach is essential, accurate records should be kept using an efficient Customer Relations Management System.

8. Well presented! First impressions do count! They way the marketer presents themselves is crucial. By all means, they can be modern and trendy, but they do need to wear a suite and tie!

So best of luck in finding the right person to carry your business forward! Be careful who you appoint and then give them the resources they need to do their job.

Masterclass In Construction Marketing

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Eight Essential Keys In Construction Marketing

The construction industry has been under unprecedented threat because of the economic recession which took hold in 2007. We are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but it will be the forward thinking construction company owners that will be regaining a vital edge through an up to date construction marketing strategy.

Here are nine essential keys to the development of a healthy construction business using key concepts in construction marketing.

1. NURTURE YOUR EXISTING CLIENT BASE: It is at least 5 times easier to win a new contract from an existing client than to go out and find a new one! That is not to say that we should not be extending our client base – that is essential for ongoing company growth and to ensure a healthy sales pipeline. However, if you are producing good quality work, you should find that 70% to 80% of your turnover comes either directly from current or past clients, or from referrals and recommendations from clients you’ve worked for. You need to spend a lot of time developing relationships with these key people – they can become your best marketing tool. ONE OF THE TOP FIVE BLUNDERS THAT CRIPPLE THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY is ignorance of this fact: current and past clients are like gold dust to your business. Your existing client base also forms potential sales revenue for “back-end” products and services.

2. OFFER SOMETHING FOR FREE! 70% of your efforts should focus on projects with a reliable outcome. However, you still have 30% exploration resource at your disposal – although you may want to limit this in a time of economic uncertainty. Having said this, a great way of nurturing current clients AND building a new client base is to offer something for free. Lunch Clubs, Golf Days, Pre-Construction Consultations, CPD (Continuous Professional Development) events to which you will invite existing clients and target new key contacts also. If you do not have a Newsletter or Website, you should get one ASAP. You can deliver information products on your website for free – Business Reports on vital issues confronting the industry; “Insider” insights and interviews with key people; analysis of market trends and tips on how to grow business – all these can raise the kudos of your company and encourage people to visit your website

3. LET YOUR CORPORATE IMAGE DO THE TALKING FOR YOU: This is the first port of call for many of your potential clients so whether you are a small family run business or a large corporation, public perception of your company will effect your bottom line. Be able to state simply and clearly how your company is different and use a strap line with everything you distribute as a company. However, please remember that although we live in a “sound-bite” culture where every media communication is in 30 second modules, it is a fallacy to believe that we can promote our company just with a catchy headline and interesting strap line. This is simply the gloss, the taster, the hook. Most companies who test the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns are now recognising the truth of the phrase, ‘the more you tell, the more you sell.’ Once you have people interested, give them the information they need to make an informed choice. Research shows that ads which are presented as editorials get much more response than ads that look like ads!

4. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A THOUGHT THROUGH MARKETING STRATEGY – AND STICK TO IT! Always monitor and record your marketing effectiveness whether it be telesales, direct mail shots, internet sales or advertising campaigns. When you gauge what works and what doesn’t, either get some training to strengthen the weak areas, or focus your efforts on the things that do work for you.

Every conversation you have, every phone call, every encounter, every email, letter EVERYTHING – should be recorded against the appropriate client record in your database.

6. BUILD A FILE OF ENDORSEMENTS, RECOMMENDATIONS, CLIENT COMMENTS AND REFERENCES. These will be like gold dust for you in your marketing efforts. In marketing speak, Social Proof speaks volumes to onlookers who may be wondering whether to use your company or not. This is probably the most effective form of promotion for your company. If you have won awards for your product or service, make sure you use this information in sales letters, ads, websites etc., to enhance your credibility and standing as a company. You have a track record, build on it.

7. HERE COMES ANOTHER OF THE TOP BLUNDERS THAT CRIPPLE THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY: Disregarding the value of your workforce is deadly to your business success. Everyone in the company needs to “buy into” your marketing efforts. They will only do this when they share the vision and are encouraged to take part in the process. It’s not just the person on the phone or the “professional marketer” – everyone from the business owner to the workman on site has a crucial part to play.

8. LAST BUT NOT LEAST: BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WEAPON IN YOUR MARKETING ARMOURY. This is a key concept in construction marketing. The Construction Marketer needs expertise in a variety of areas: telesales techniques, cold calling, writing effective sales letters, one on one interviews, hosting events, managing database records, copywriting skills, networking abilities, marketing research skills and an up to date knowledge of developments in the industry. However, all of this should be wrapped up in the one aim – to build relationships. This is the area where the most effective marketing takes place.

Masterclass In Construction Marketing

Eight Blunders That Kill A Construction Marketing Sales Letter

Junk Mail! We all hate it! Some people I know write return addresses on all their unwanted mail and it goes back to the sender - sometimes with a rude comment on it! If you receive unsolicited mail, what do you do? Probably trash it. That's why there is an art to writing sales letters to maximise your chance of it getting opened and read.

You only have a few seconds to convince the receiver that your letter is worth reading and in larger companies, the secretary, receptionist or Personal Assistant will open the mail and decide if the person to whom the letter is addressed actually gets to see it!

Remember that your letter will be competing with perhaps twenty, thirty or even fifty sales letters received every day, sent by sales-people people hoping to gain your target's attention. To get through, your sales letter needs to be good, different, professional and relevant.

The fact is that you have a maximum of 8 seconds to grab your reader's attention.

Here are some of the things that kill a sales letter:

1. Using a small type face is hard to read and will be discarded. You need to use 12pt type face. You may just get away with 11pt.

2. The wrong type face can render your sales letter unattractive. Times New Roman is the classic, that's why most newspapers still use this type face. However, something like Ariel or Tahoma can make for a cleaner look.

3. Too much 'sales talk'. You need to make your construction marketing sales letter personal and conversational. Learn lessons from the tabloid press. They draw from personal experience and connect with readers quickly. But do make sure you get the facts right

4. Too many words can cause the reader to lose interest very quickly. If you keep your reader on the page, they will probably skim read and miss the crucial points you want to get across.

5. You need to organise the line spacing in a way that is easy on the eye. 1.15 is a good happy medium

6. If you use incorrect spelling or grammar you will lose the reader and your credibility! This is a real 'turn off!' and it is so unnecessary in this day and age with so many spell checkers and grammar helps on our Word Processors

7. Make sure you address the person correctly. Never use first names unless you know the person well. Make sure you know whether the person you are writing to is a Miss, Mz, Mr, Dr or whatever... if you are unsure, phone the company and ask the receptionist. Say you are writing in to the Chief Exec, or whoever, and ask the correct way of addressing the person. Most receptionists are very helpful with this information. (You might be able to find out more info on this call if you treat the person with respect!)

8. No clear objective - get to the point!

The letter structure should follow the AIDA format:

As a guideline, use the AIDA format:
Attention (I want to read on)
Interest (this is relevant to me and my company)
Desire (this is potentially beneficial and I want to pursue this opportunity)
Action (when I'm called I'll talk/make an appointment/delegate action)


1.A headline can capture attention. Under the salutation write:
RE: Competitive Tender For ........ (Project)

2.Capitalise the first letter of each word in the headline

3.Keep sentences short - 3 or 4 in the letter

4.Use bullet points if appropriate

5.Finish with a call to action - say you will call in a few days to follow up (if you say it, DO IT!)

6.Use black ink type, BUT sign the letter in BLUE ink - it is well know that people respond more to personally signed letters in blue ink

7.I often hand write the addresses on envelopes - in blue ink. This will almost guarantee the letter will be opened. Never use pre-addressed sticky labels on sales letters - 10% may get through if you are fortunate.

Masterclass In Construction Marketing

Top Ten Tips For Construction Marketing Presentations

So you get in front of the decision maker! You managed to sell yourself and your company, get past the ‘gatekeeper’ and now you have a listening audience. The way you conduct yourself in the next few minutes will win or lose you that lucrative contract.
These days construction marketing is far more than cold calling or even business to business calling. The marketing process is much more personal. It is unlikely that a major contract will be awarded to your company without the daunting prospect of the interview or presentation.
Here are my top ten tips for construction marketing presentations:

1. Focus on your core values. If you are able to give a presentation, it should focus on a central proposition, which should be the unique perceived benefit that the prospect gains from working with your company

2. Press those “hot buttons!” During the questioning phase the marketing person will have gained an understanding as to what are the key issues that will make or break this contract. The presentation must now focus on matching the benefits of the product with the needs of the prospect. Your presentation must demonstrate that the product/service you offer, meets your prospect's needs, priorities, constraints and vision.

3. Be well structured, clear and concise. All sales presentations, whether impromptu or the result of significant preparation, must be well structured, clear and concise and professionally delivered. The quality and integrity of the presentation is always regarded as a direct indication as to the quality and integrity of the product/service your company offers.

4. Present with a human face! Be human in the way you present. Get your facts straight, but with personality! Sales presentations must always meet the expectations of the listener in terms of the level of information and relevance to the prospect's own situation, but if you want to win the contract you need to relate person to person. Business decision-makers sign contracts when they become satisfied that the decision will make them money, save them money, save them time or save them pain! They also need to be certain that the new product/service will be sustainable and reliable so the presentation must be convincing in these areas.

5. Avoid trying to convince your prospect by going on overload. While the presentation must always focus on the main perceived benefit, it is important to show that all the other incidental requirements and constraints are met - but do not over-emphasise or attempt to 'pile high' loads of incidental benefits as this simply detracts from the central proposition.

6. Be relevant. Use the language and style of the audience - e.g., technical people need technical evidence; sales and marketing people like to see flair and competitive advantage accruing for their own sales organisation; managing directors and finance directors want clear, concise benefits to costs, profits and operating efficiency; and generally the more senior the contact, the less time you will have to make your point - no-nonsense, no frills, but plenty of relevant hard facts and evidence. The presentation must include relevant evidence of success, references from similar sectors and applications, facts and figures - all backing up the central proposition.

7. Take the right people with you. If you are required to present to a large group and in great depth, then it's extremely advisable to enlist the help of one or two suitably experienced colleagues, from the appropriate fields, e.g., contract management, surveyors, estimators, client service, etc., in which case you must ensure that these people are properly briefed and prepared and the prospect notified of their attendance.

8. Keep control of the presentation. But do so in a relaxed way. If you don't know the answer to a question don't waffle - say you don't know and promise to get back with an answer later, and make sure you do. During the presentation seek feedback, confirmation and agreement as to the relevance of what you are saying, but don't be put off if people stay quiet. Depending on how confident you feel about keeping control of the presentation, invite your prospects to ask questions at any time.

9. Never criticise the competition If you take a swipe at your competition, you will undermine your credibility and integrity. You won’t need to descend into bashing others if you are confident that your own company can deliver on time and on budget and with great quality of service. Your prospect will know this!

10. Be practical and creative. If appropriate issue notes, or a copy of your presentation. Use props, samples and demonstrations if relevant and helpful and if you are using equipment such as a laptop and projector, make sure they are all working properly.

And the golden rule: Believe in your company! Whether presenting to one person or a group, relax and be friendly. Let your personality and natural enthusiasm shine through because prospects buy from people who believe in the company they represent.

Masterclass In Construction Marketing

How Upselling Works In Construction Marketing

Have you noticed whenever you buy a burger, the sales people always try to persuade you to “Go Large”, or have “extra fries” etc. Have you also noticed at the checkout of every superstore are racks of things you would not have thought of buying, but as you stand there waiting at the checkout, you suddenly realise all the things you “need”! Scary stuff! Real profits come when you get the client to buy a larger, more expensive, or more comprehensive product or service.

This is how it works in the construction industry:

EXAMPLE A: The Remodeler/Home Refurbishment – in the business of building extensions, bathrooms, sun rooms, loft conversions etc., How about suggesting certain enhancements at the point of survey. Or ask them if they had considered extending the work to include a the latest whiz bang disposal unit, designed to be 150% more efficient and thus delivering significant cost savings to your client.

EXAMPLE B: The Commercial Contractor – how about offering a Repairs and Maintenance service after the initial defects period following contract completion. This can deliver great benefits for your client because you already know the premises and can operate much more efficiently with the prior knowledge base you already have.

EXAMPLE C: The House Builder: If you are building housing schemes where a number of homes will be rented/leased you could offer and Liaison Officer based on site for the first 6 months after completion, to make sure people are secure in their homes, know where to find everything and are happy. You could offer this service as a free added benefit – this may be the deciding factor that will win you the contract over your competition! Alternatively, if the client/housing association/ local housing authority are intending to employ someone for this job, you could easily extend your business reach by supplying the right person for the job – someone who already knows the property and has proven qualifications to do the job.

EXAMPLE D: The Sub-Contractor: if you work for a number of larger contractors, the way you source the products you use is crucial. It may be that the main contractor already has an approved list of suppliers, but often good relationships can be established with individual Buyers to enable the Subbie to recommend where to source materials at competitive prices. A whole range of complex partnerships can be made to enable commissions to be paid and everyone benefits! Of course, it goes without saying that any deal agreed should be completely transparent and should ultimately benefit the client in terms of cost savings and quality products and services. One wrong move or “under the table” deal can result in lost credibility and trust. So keep everything above board.

EXAMPLE E: The Architect: Design & Build contracts are one obvious root to establish good working relationships with construction professionals on a project team and can be one way architects can “up-sell” their professional skills by working on a partnering basis. Partnered Contracts can be lucrative for all involved, including the client, but they have to be set up correctly to work efficiently. More about this in a later chapter. Architects who are willing to get involved at the Pre-Construction phase of a project on a “No Pass No Fee” basis are more likely to keep busy down the line. (“No Pass” meaning not getting Planning Approval for a project).

EXAMPLE F: Whatever area of construction you are in, you will have a network of approved professionals you work with. So you will have a lot of bargaining power when soliciting goods and services for your project. Sub-contractors, agents, architects, quantity surveyors, building consultants and merchants will all be part of the mix. This can be an area of healthy growth for your business when approved list suppliers, partners and subsidiaries reciprocate with their own recommendations for your company.

Masterclass In Construction Marketing

Seven Things Every Construction Marketer Should Know

Construction Marketing is back on the agenda for construction companies of all sizes in a hotly contested marketplace. One of the first rules of construction marketing is to know what are the important things when approaching prospective new business clients.

The bigger the prospect organisation or potential project, the more planning and preparation is required. Major clients need extensive researching before any serious approach is made to begin dialogue with an influencer or decision-maker. This is to enable the marketing person to decide on the best initial approach or opening proposition. You need to be sure that you press the right buttons on your initial approach and how to present your USPs (Unique Selling Points) to the prospect. Even if you only manage to introduce yourself to the prospect’s PA on the first contact, that’s OK. Log it in your Client Relationship Management System database and diarise your next contact time and date. Generally it is best to concentrate on one strong organisational benefit. A benefit-loaded 'catch-all' approach does not work, because it's impossible to make a strong impact while promoting lots of different points - people respond most to a single relevant point of interest. Assuming a large account is being targeted, the marketing person must acquire as much as reasonably possible of the following information about the prospect organisation:

1. The organisation's size and shape (turnover, staff types and numbers, sites, management and corporate structure, subsidiaries and parent organisation)
2. Strategy and trading situation (main business aims, issues, priorities, trends of business and sector, a profile of the organisation's clients and competitors, and what the company considers important for its own clients)
3. Current and future workload, available budgets and sources of funding
4. Preferred procurement routes and contract arrangements
5. Decision-making process (who decides, on what basis, when and how)
6. Decision-makers and influencers (names, positions, responsibilities and locations)
7. Company expectations – previous contract history including work carried out for this client by your company

These days it's easier to research and plan for a sales call than it used to be, because of the wealth of information available. The company are likely to have a website – this would be your first area of research. Then company brochures, promotional material, trade journals and of course, different people in the prospect organisation who will potentially be able to provide company-specific information about important matters such as contract review dates, purchasing procedures and authority, even sometimes very useful details of attitudes, politics, the styles of the key people, and their priorities.

With a sensitive approach it's often possible to obtain the trust and co-operation of somebody in the prospect organisation, especially if the conversation is positioned as non-threatening, empathic and of some strategic potential for the prospect. The rules of AIDA (Attract, Interest, Desire, Action) apply even to this information gathering element.

The secretaries and personal assistants of the influencers and decision-makers are generally very helpful in providing information to sales people once an appointment has been made - assuming they are asked politely and given proper reason - because they know that a well-informed visitor is more likely to enable a productive meeting, thereby saving the boss's time. It's often worth approaching these people for information and guidance even prior to making the approach for an appointment. The marketing person should take advantage of all the information that is obtainable easily and leave the rest to be filled in at the first meeting - as a rule, prospects respect and respond well to an informed approach because it shows professionalism and allows a relevant and focused discussion. Conversely, a prospect responds poorly to a 'blind' approach because it suggests a lack of care and it usually produces a vague, ill-informed discussion, which wastes time.

A good technique for planning and research is to design a 'pro-forma' or checklist of items to be researched for new prospects.

Masterclass In Construction Marketing

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Rules Of The Game Have Changed!

It's time to take action!

In 2007 it all started to go wrong for the Construction Industry, once one of the fastest growing and lucrative businesses in the world. In 2008 the crash started and we are just crawling our way out of the pit!

Now we can announce a first for the industry: Steve Flashman's Video Training Masterclass for Construction Professionals is going live on January 5th 2011

The first 20 sign ups get free consultation services.
Watch this space!

Masterclass In Construction Marketing
Call Steve on:
+44(0)7950 000910