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The Calm Before The Storm

I wrote about this in my last post, about how this is the time of the year when, even in good times, the construction industry starts to slow down. With the industry already at a slower pace, I believe we may be experiencing the calm before the storm. Sadly, the storm will probably not be gale force winds of new business blowing our way but rather the storm of having to make tough decisions on how to maintain.

I took a call this week from a general contractor who, until now, has never marketed. When I speak with anyone and the discussion turns to ways to build new business, one of the first questions I ask is, “How do you currently market your services?” When the answer is “We don’t.” and they have been in business for more than five years, I take that as a good thing as far as the quality of service they deliver.

The bad part about the “We don’t.” answer is that, and here comes another golf analogy, it is much like someone calling me for a golf lesson saying, “I have a huge prospect that I want to impress and we are going to play golf next week and I need a lesson.” (This has happened.)

Me: “How long have you been playing golf?”

Them: “I don’t.”

The bottom line is one does not suddenly become a successful marketer of their company any sooner than one decides to play golf in a manner that will impress a golf playing prospect. They both take time, skill and effort.

I was going to entitle this entry “Lose Weight! 30 Pounds In A Week, Guaranteed!”

It is pretty close to impossible to buy anything at a major grocery store without reading a similar headline near the check-out counter. Is it possible to lose 30 pounds in a week? Absolutely! I believe if I were to cut off my left leg, I would indeed be at least 30 pounds lighter but the repercussions would not be worth it.

The point is, there are no sure-fire, quick and long term ways to lose weight nor are there any sure-fire, quick and long term ways to build new business. For long term, successful and lasting results, they both take time and a steady effort.

Use this down time to review your entire marketing processes. If you don’t have any, create some. Bounce those ideas off of people in your network or in your leads group.

Don’t have a leads group? Start one.

Don’t know how? Email me. My contact form is at the end of this post!

When I was doing business development on a retainer basis, I tracked certain leads for 18 months before we were able to submit a proposal. These things take time and unless you want to keep your estimators busy pricing government work, now is the time to start working towards that negotiated contract, where you are one of two or three companies being considered, by focusing on ways to improve your current marketing efforts.

I will close with a bit of a precursor for my next entry. When I am asked what my company does, believe it or not, I sometimes use a golf analogy.

Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golf who ever lived and yet, he has three golf coaches. Can any one of those three instructors beat him in a round of 18 holes? No way! But what they can do is look for things in his stance, how he addresses the ball, his grip, his putting stroke, etc. for small ways to tweak what he is doing for ways to improve.

Now is the time to consider doing the same…but you may want to hurry, I hear there may be a storm coming.

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Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell [at] cmconl.com

www.cmconl.com

About the Author

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc., An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

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