The construction industry has been hit hard by the economic recession. There are now some hopeful signs of recovery, but progress is slow. How can you build and maintain a healthy sales pipeline in such difficult times for the industry?
Step One. Build relationships of trust by being trustworthy
Developing business these days is not about over promising and under delivering. Marketing speak and hyped jargon never won anyone a reliable sales pipeline. It’s all about building relationships. You will find no difficulty in ensuring an endless stream of tender opportunities, if you have spent time building relationships with the right people. This is one of my focuses in my Marketing For Construction Masterclass, and is the key to business success. One way of doing this is by returning your quotes on time and in a professional format.
Step Two: Target the right work. Nothing annoys architects and estimators more than returned tender enquiries that have not been priced.
Never use the “scatter gun” approach. If you target everything, you will inevitably find that you can’t deliver on all your promises. Expectations will be shattered and you will struggle to regain credibility with your tender sources. If you have a robust, thought through business marketing plan, you should be able to focus on your key strengths when targeting work. You will also be much more competitive than if you were trying to break into business areas for which you are not equipped.
Step Three. Be ready to Value Engineer your quote
Let’s face it, the competition is more rigorous than ever, especially since the economic recession hit the construction industry hard back in 2008. We are not out of the woods yet, although there are some hopeful signs that recovery is under way. After a long period when the housing market went very quiet, there are now signs of recovery with house prices stabilising and in some areas, beginning to rise. As a construction professional grappling with the issues involved in keeping your business viable and profitable, you will be aware that there have are unscrupulous contractors pricing tender enquiries below profit margins just to get the work and then suddenly finding the hidden extras for the unsuspecting client once established on site! Contractors who operate like this will not survive in the long term.
Meanwhile, others who want to develop their business with integrity are in danger of being crushed by this unfair competition. Value Engineering is essential therefore, to enable you to keep that door of opportunity open. So make sure you keep contact with the surveyor who will be looking at the quotes to assure them you are ready to negotiate in the best interests of all parties involved. But be realistic. The quality service you offer will be acknowledged and rewarded. Remember in this whole exercise our aim is to offer added value by offering solutions. So if you are a mechanical sub contractor, find a reliable electrical partner so that you can offer a fully managed M & E solution. If you are a main contractor, offer a pre and post construction service. For example, an ongoing maintenance solution beyond the required snagging period.