There is no one size fits all answer to this question so I will explore many avenues and give various ideas in this article.
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In this article I will answer:
• What do construction clients want?
• Where to find construction clients?
• How to get construction customers
What Do Construction Clients Want?
Firstly, we need to understand the buyer’s cycle and where your customer is in the journey.
What is the buyer’s cycle?
If for example, you are a builder and you do house extensions, if I asked you what is it that your customer actually wanted, you might answer a house extension but is that what they really want? No… That is the solution that they need in order to get what they want.
What they want is to be able to dine with their friends and family in a large open plan kitchen/diner; a place they can really enjoy and show off.
They will have a problem; you have the solution for them.
Using the example above;
The Problem – A family currently have a small kitchen, they don’t feel they can invite their friends and family over as it is too small, they cannot fit a dining table in their current kitchen so they cannot eat together.
If you are targeting the above type of customer, they need to be aware that they have this problem. Then they might be considering buying a new house etc.
The Solution – Adding an extension to their house. They can then have a perfect kitchen/diner to suit their needs.
If the buyer has realised that they need a house extension, then they are in a different cycle of the buyer’s journey.
This is where you come in and can be the person that understands their problem and has the skills and experience to fulfil their needs.
Next, they are ready to have a house extension, what is their next problem?
Perhaps they have been stung by a builder in the past and they don’t trust them, what solution can you provide for this problem? And the cycle continues until you have secured the sale.
Write out all the possible scenarios of your buyer’s problems and solution and base all your sales and marketing around these.
Then the clients will feel you really understand what they want.
Where to Find Construction Clients?
The following are various ideas you can implement to find construction clients : –
There is no getting away from it, even though technology has advanced, and marketing is now an essential part of most business, the best way to get new customers in the construction industry is by word of mouth. With reports and stories of cowboy builders, clients are cautious, so one of the first things they will do is ask friends and family for recommendations. If they do not know anyone then they will go to seek out recommendations in Facebook groups for example. The next place they will look at is online recommendations.
All of this is in your control. Firstly, you need to be providing your customers with a great level of customer service. As we all know, things do not always run smoothly in construction and there will be many times where things go wrong, but it is how you deal with them and how you communicate this to the customer that matters. Do not wait until the end of the job to find out if your customer is happy or not with what is happening, ask them regularly and rectify things when they are not going so well. Even when there are problems within the build, often the customer at the end will give you a glowing review and recommendations to their friends.
Tell them what you want. Ask them for reviews, ask them to post in a community group and recommend you. Many people will be more than happy to do this, but they need to be told specifically what to do. Have a read of my article https://www.developcoaching.co.uk/how-to-get-good-reviews/
Existing Leads and Customers
If you need more business, the first place to start targeting is your existing customers and leads.
With your customers, what work have they had done previously? What else could they have done? They know you and trust you if everything went well, so revisit these and you will be surprised how much business you can drum up.
What happened to the leads that contact you but got no further? Did they go elsewhere or are they still looking? Perhaps they were delayed with planning permission or a change in circumstances but now are ready to proceed. Make sure you are the first person on their minds before a rival tradesman snaps them up.
Referrals are one of the best ways you can get a steady flow of fresh leads, for minimal cost.
Where should these referrals come from? Well, this depends on what you specialise in, but some sources could include:
• Interior Designers
• Estate Agents
• If you are an electrician or plumber for example other builders
• Other trades
You can offer them an incentive for referring clients to you if the win the jobs.
What works really well is giving away something of value for free in exchange for an email address.
This could be in the form of a PDF download or small e-book.
In order to capture interest, the free giveaway needs to appeal to the potential clients fears or wants. So, you need a hook.
I.e. 10x ways to avoid getting ripped off by your plumber.
Once you have a decent free giveaway, share it all over social media, put it on your website, on your email signatures & if it’s appealing enough it will organically start getting recognition & generating leads.
Social media can be a great way to target local customers. With Facebook ads you can target a specific geographical area and even follow what sort of interests and behaviours they may have.
It is free to set up a Facebook page and you can even join local community group that are often looking for recommendations for local construction people; this can be a great way to get some free advertisement.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are great ways to feature your work.
LinkedIn is fantastic if you are trying to connect with other professionals and target them.
You do need to be careful with social media though you can spend a fortune and get little return, so it important you either hire someone that knows what they are doing or you learn it yourself and pick one social media channel to focus on, or you can quickly find that you’re wasting a lot of time.
We cannot ignore Google. Think about it yourself, how often when you want to search for something, the first place that you turn to is google? It’s a place you want to be. Make sure you know someone who knows Google and construction well.
Dependant on what you are selling, sometimes having a stand at an exhibition can be a fantastic way to get new leads. Do you have a niche, do you have something different you can offer people, would your target clients be at this expo?
Finding a niche that you can target. Being known within that niche can be the perfect way to gain new clients.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to gain new clients from cold contacting.
What is your USP (unique Selling Point)? If you cannot answer that question right away, there is a flaw in your business/marketing plan.
It’s vital that you know why you are different from your competitors. Base your whole marketing/sales strategy around this.
If it’s local clients that you need, then get involved in the local community. Once you are known in your local community and you do a few good jobs then all of a sudden you will be recommended and we go back to the best and most effective way of getting leads which is word of mouth.
Do you have signage outside your jobs? You should always put up a sign to advertise your business as neighbours will pass by daily and see the construction work going on.
Whilst I wouldn’t waste money on flyering endless street when you are working on a job, it’s always worthwhile flyering the road.
What are you an expert in? What advice can you give someone that might help? Particularly your ideal customers; what will they be typing into google that you can answer with? Creating blogs that are written with SEO in mind and good fresh content can create leads.
Potential customers love to see before and after pictures, drone footage and completed jobs. I have noticed builders have a terrible habit of taking pictures and leaving tools, buckets, cables etc in the way without clearing them before they take those pictures. This will put the customer off. Get good pictures of the end results and splash out on a professional photographer; it will be worth it in the long run.
You can receive as many leads as you like but you will nearly always be up against at least 2 other companies when you are providing a quote, how can you win the business?
Go back to our original point in the article of understanding what the buyer wants, what their problem is and how you can solve this. Highlight this to them. Have a clear and concise sale pitch, highlight your good reviews, your successful work, your USP. Leave them with a good impression.
What do your quotes look like? The presentation of some of the quotes I see from builders is shocking. It’s important that your quotes are presented well, and they are detailed. Let the customer know that you are open and be as transparent as possible and they will trust you more.
Closing The Sale
Before you leave the consultation, find out if you have answered all of the potential customers questions. Highlight all the buyer problems and worries that they have and how you can provide a solution for all or as many of them as possible.
Make sure you follow up on the quotation with the client and that you have an expiry date for the quote.
If you don’t win the job, find out why. This feedback is vital and will help you improve your sales strategy.
I have only touched on some of the ways on how to obtain construction clients. I will go into more detail over the coming weeks and months. Ensure you are signed up to receive updates and that you are following my Facebook page.
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