Most of us when we are starting our business start by finding construction clients through word of mouth. With reports and stories of cowboy builders, clients are now more cautious than ever, so one of the first things they will do is ask friends and family for recommendations. The next place they will look is online recommendations, on places like Checkatrade or Facebook. They then come to you with their conversions, odd jobs and refurbishments.
This has been the pattern for most of us over the years and has worked up to a point, but are you at the point where you are just not attracting the right type of client? Are you getting the same old enquiries that are not giving you the revenue to grow your business?
Having the opportunities and work needed to scale up your business means that this age-old strategy starts to be not the most profitable lead source.
So how can you start attracting bigger clients? How can you get the developers and architects to recognise you as an expert in the field, and go to you with their work?
In this article I will look at three ways to improve your client sources and ask you three questions:
Are you tracking your sources?
Are you diversifying?
And are you giving the best pitch out there?
These three questions will help you identify where to find the ideal construction clients, and then lock down those tenders. Ready? Let’s get into it.
If you want to win higher-value jobs, you need to look firstly at your lead sources. Every time someone enquires you need to be asking how they heard of you. You need to track and put it into a spreadsheet, or a CRM system so you know exactly where your most profitable leads are coming from.
With many of my Mastermind clients, I have given them a tool called a Lead Source report which can help them to analyse the data. This is a simple spreadsheet that is built to collect all the data you need to look at. You want to be looking at how many leads are coming in every month, and then preferably every month it needs to be going up. After you need to look more granularly at where those leads are coming from.
For example in one of my businesses we uses to get a lot of leads from the council, but we could see one year in August and September that the leads started dropping off. We saw that there could be a potential pattern and got in touch with them. It turns out they had massive budget cuts and couldn’t give us as many projects. Fortunately, we immediately spotted the trend and we could then diversify. So you can see how valuable it can be to track this and see exactly where your leads are coming from.
Then you can look further and create an ROI spreadsheet. This is a return on investments.
On the sheet, you track where the leads are coming from and how much you spend out for marketing per lead. Then you can spend some time looking at how many quotes you are getting and how much you are spending for each lead, and how many you won. We can see through this powerful data where our most profitable work comes from.
CRM systems like InfusionSoft or ActiveCampaign can make it easy to access the data to export to these two spreadsheets and utilise the information to push your construction business forward.
Knowledge is power. If you want to find more profitable construction clients it’s vital that you know exactly what works for you and your company and invest your time and money in that.
Rather than rely on checkatrade or a similar source for your leads, try to diversify. I work with construction business owners in my coaching to help them grow their businesses. Many of my clients have had resounding success in using Linkedin to reach out to the type of clients they want.
But what do you do if you have never used LinkedIn before in this way? Here is the strategy that you could use today to start leveraging your LinkedIn profile to get your business the clients you want.
Step 1 – Use your profile page
The first thing to do is take a look at your profile. It’s important to understand the power of the images you choose to highlight on your profile. People buy from people, so make sure you have a picture of yourself on there somewhere, not just your logo or a dodgy pic of a project you have worked on.
Another area you can use to great effect is the About section. Make sure you put plenty about your expertise and what your key services are. Also, put the value of the jobs that you are interested in, this can show your prospective clients that you are capable and invested in the bigger jobs. Another place you can add your key services is in the experience section. No one wants to see your stacking shelves experience in your local supermarket when you were 16, so you can utilise this part instead to promote what you do and are great at.
Step 2 – Find suitable clients/ architects
Now that you have an attractive profile that reflects you and your company in the best way, you can start reaching out to the right kind of clients. LinkedIn has a fantastic search feature that you can filter to identify your key client targets. Search for Architect and you will see a list full of architects. Then you can filter people that are in your area, for example, London. This is really useful to find specific construction clients that are developers or architects, put industry and show results using the filters.
Now you want to see who are active and are using the platform regularly. Again you can use filters to help with this. Under filters check posts – dates posted and check in the last month. Get someone in your admin team to look through and pick 10-30 architects to target and hopefully get put on their tender list. Once you have the list you can start your outreach by picking one and commenting on a recent post.
Now they know who we are, and see your replies on their posts, you are ready to reach out to them and make the connection.
Step 3 – Pattern interrupt
When you are directly messaging a potential client you need to make sure that it doesn’t get lost. You don’t want to be lumped in with spam. So when you do message them directly, go onto their website and screenshot a project that you appreciate. Send a copy of the picture with your message, saying what you like about it and how you have enjoyed working on similar projects.
It is rare to see photos posted in a message on LinkedIn and this interruption of the routine, or pattern, is what can get you noticed by potential clients.
So if you do one thing this week, make sure it’s taking a look at your LinkedIn page. Get that cleaned up and optimised to be a source for your leads and I guarantee you will start having more interest in the areas you want it.
Once you have the leads though how can you convert them into sales and ultimately income for your business?
When you’re trying to close a sale with a prospective high-end client, the architects and developers of your world, are you selling yourself or are you solving their needs?
This is an important question to ask yourself because the way answer will more than likely reveal the success rate you have on conversion. A mistake that I see so many companies making is that they go in hard on trying to sell themselves. They’ll talk about how long they’ve been established, how trustworthy they are, how many awards they have won, and what trade memberships they belong to.
While you should be proud of your achievements, is that what your prospective customer wants to hear? Realistically, no it’s not! Your client will be more likely thinking “How will this company benefit me?”
To illustrate, have you ever purchased a new car? If you have, what are you thinking? Has this got a big enough boot to take my shopping? Is it fuel efficient so I know how much it’s going to cost me each month? Will it be comfortable for me to drive?
Your decision is based on me, me, me, I, I, I.
So if that salesperson started trying to sell you the car and talked about how long the manufacturer had been around, how reliable they were, the latest awards they had won- would that attract your attention? Of course not! Whereas if he addressed the questions you were internally asking yourself and ensured the car was a right fit, you are more than likely going to buy it.
It’s no different when selling your services. Think about what people really want. Now, this is never the same with any two jobs. Imagine you have similar work being carried out for two different clients. Each of them will have specific needs, wants and beliefs that you need to delve into and form part of your sales process.
Can you see how ineffective it is if you pitch to both these clients exactly the same way, talking about how long you’ve been established etc etc? If you do this, it will end up coming down to whose the cheapest which is a race to the bottom that you do not want to be in.
So have a think about how you address your clients’ needs and the best way of putting that across in your sales pitch. Having a clear view of what makes your company unique and how you can solve the clients’ problems will help you communicate this. If you would like some help with identifying your unique selling points, have a look at this article about 5 steps to finding your USP. Focusing on this process will help you be a step ahead of your competitors and you will find your conversion rates on the increase.
So to sum up, if you want to be attracting bigger clients like architects and developers to your construction business, you need to be:
Tracking your lead sources
Pitching on point
Mastering how to nurture and convert clients is one of the core parts of my Mastermind program. With my Mastermind clients, we transform their sales strategy so that price doesn’t become the main factor. This helps them get full order books and they can pick and choose their ideal clients.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, book a call with me today and let’s have a chat about how we can scale your business successfully.