Building Trust With Potential Clients

Trust is the foundation of any business relationship, but it takes on even greater importance in the construction field where your clients trust you with their homes and investment projects. Showing your prospects you truly understand their goals goes a long way toward building that trust.

Get to Know Their Needs

Your would-be clients want to know not just that you’re an honest business person, but also that you understand their needs and have the skills necessary to fulfill those needs. To show them they can trust you with their projects, invest some time in learning about what your ideal clients are really looking for.

Local construction industry data can help here. If you’re a roofing contractor, researching building permit data might show you there’s an ongoing decrease in permits to alter roof lines, but an increase in permits for remodeling. Knowing this, you can focus on showing your target audience how your services can fit into a remodeling project.

Communicate Consistently

Building trust is a long-term process that requires repeated interaction. One of the most practical ways to manage this process is with an email list. A mailing list keeps you on your prospects’ minds while letting you demonstrate your expertise. It also gives you a chance to express a little of your personality to establish a real human connection. If you sell building materials, you might use your list to show how your clients have used your materials, offer quick guides to choosing materials or share a funny story about a problem your past client had and how your materials saved the day.

Use the data you have on your target market to inspire ideas for content. Maybe you’ve noticed more permits are being issued for remodels than for new builds in your area. If so, that’s a good sign your prospects might like to hear about your bathroom and kitchen flooring materials and the benefits of upgrading their existing flooring.

Building Loyalty in Your Customer Base

When your competitors are just a quick internet search away, building loyalty in your customers requires a strategic approach. By using market data to predict your customers’ needs and by staying in touch during the slow times, you can keep your customers around for years.

Give Them What They Want

When your customers know you understand their needs like no one else, you become their go-to provider. They’ll have little reason to shop around for anyone else. Keeping up on the trends helps you anticipate your customers’ needs so you’ll always be ready with the products and services they want.

Reviewing building permit data tells you what types of construction projects are happing in your area. If you sell lighting fixtures and there’s a rise in office building construction, chances are a lot of your customers will be looking for LED task lighting. An increase in warehouse construction, on the other hand, suggests they’ll be coming to you for batten and high bay fittings. Data on the top companies in your field can help, too. If local contractors are making a killing on kitchen and bathroom remodels, it’s probably worth having a good inventory of lighting for those rooms.

Stay in Touch

Construction work is seasonal and cyclical, so your customers might not always have a constant line-up of building projects. No matter how happy they are with your work, it could be months to years before they need you again. Staying in touch with them during their down times helps ensure you’re the first company they think of the next time they’re ready to buy.

A blog and email newsletter are both efficient ways to stay connected with your customers, but the topics you choose have to be relevant. Construction industry data can help you find those topics. If recent building permit data tells you home additions are hot now, blogging on the subject will encourage customers to keep visiting your website even when they aren’t ready to buy immediately.

How To Discover Your Potential Clients’ Biggest Challenges…

potential clientsMarketing that speaks directly to your prospects’ biggest problems is key to pulling in new clients, but before you can talk about those problems, you need to know what they are. Effective customer interaction can help you find out.

Check the Data

Market research data on construction and real estate can give you a bird’s-eye view of the challenges people in your target market are dealing with. Buying data from a market research firm is the fastest way to get the exact data you need, but don’t over look free sources such as economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the SizeUp tool from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Data from your own clients is even more valuable. Compiling and analyzing data on projects that were delayed, came in over-budget or ran into other complications can help you zero in on your clients’ most common frustrations. Data on your rejected proposals can help you spot the challenges your prospects’ might feel you didn’t address as well as your competition. Even tracking which blog posts your visitors read most often can tell you about the problems they’re trying to solve.

Strike Up a Conversation

Data can guide you in the right direction, but because your target market is particular to your business, the only real way to find out what your ideal clients think is to ask them. Holding conversations with your existing and potential clients about the challenges they face is an integral part of effective customer interaction. It provides you with valuable insight, while also showing your clients you’re truly interested in understanding and meeting their needs.

There are multiple ways you can get this done. Send out an email survey, pose questions to your social media followers, gather a focus group or invite some of your best clients to one-on-one lunches on you. Customer relationship management software with data analytics features will let you process the information you gather more efficiently.

 

Will Specialization Boost Your Bottom Line?

At first glance, specialization can seem like a risky proposition that could cause you to miss out on opportunities. In reality, positioning your firm to stand out from other construction professionals is one of the most effective ways to both attract more clients and increase your profit margins.

construction professionalsA Reputation That Precedes You

Your would-be clients aren’t looking for a “construction firm,” but for a company that can provide the exact service they want. If your firm is strongly positioned as a leader in that area, you’ll be the clear first choice. Keep in mind that it’s far easier to rise as a leader in a defined niche than in a broad market. You’re also more likely to receive referrals from construction professionals who remember your firm’s name in connection with your specialty.

Generally speaking, whatever you do best will become your specialization, but there’s more than one way to approach defining your specialty.

  • Building type: medical facilities, office buildings, custom homes
  • Customer type: entrepreneurs, homeowners, developers
  • Location: urban or rural, neighborhood, topography
  • Contract type: bid or negotiated, design-build or plan-spec

Having more than one specialty extends your reach in the construction market. If you go this route, though, segment your client base and target your marketing to each one.

The Perception of Excellence

Your specialization is evidence you’ve invested time in developing your knowledge and skills. It displays the kind of focus, hard work, and commitment we all admire in a professional. The very fact you’ve made the effort to specialize inspires trust, which in turn helps you win over more clients.

Clients also know that effort pays off. Specialists nearly always provide higher quality with greater efficiency than generalists. They hire foremen and subcontractors with a deep knowledge of their individual areas of focus. They’re experienced at managing the challenges that come with their specialty. When you offer this level of service, you can command premium prices because your clients know you’re worth it.

For more information on specialization for construction professionals, contact Construction Monitor today.

4 Steps for Better Residential Construction Bidding

Your skill at bidding on a construction project is a major factor in how much profit your company turns each year. Because bidding is a complex process, there’s always room to improve your skill, and sometimes even minor refinements pay off in big ways.

bidding on a construction projectFamiliarize Yourself with the House

Take time to get thoroughly familiar with the house or renovation project the client wants. For a renovation, make sure you understand what problems the homeowner is trying to solve. Do a walkthrough of the home to get an accurate idea of what’s needed.

Try to obtain working drawings or at least a scope of work. In addition to preventing miscalculations, this preparation also helps you avoid bidding on a construction project that will only turn into a major headache.

Consider All the Costs

Even small renovation projects are complex jobs with many variables. Instead of guessing and fussing with spreadsheets, use professional construction estimating software to create more accurate estimates faster. These programs let you account for all costs, including sitework, subcontractor fees, materials, labor, and requirements for HVAC and plumbing.

Calculate Your Profits

In your excitement to¬†gain a new client, it’s tempting to low-ball and forget about profit. Including your overhead costs and profit margin in every bid ensures that you not only keep your business running, but also have the budget to expand by advertising, hiring help, and investing in new equipment. Keep in mind construction overhead fees can run as high as 54 percent of revenue with profit margins of just 3 percent.

Hand in Your Bid

Sending in your bid by email or post may seem like it would save everyone time, but it’s ultimately less efficient. Instead, meet with your client to present your bid packet in person. This gives you a chance to explain the bid and answer questions, which prevents miscommunication and confusion that could cost you the job. The rapport you build during this meeting also increases your chances of gaining a client.

For more experienced-based tips on bidding on a construction project, contact Construction Monitor today.

How the Roofing Industry Is Going Green With Photovoltaic Technology

photovoltaic roofingEnvironmental concerns continue to be a factor affecting modern construction processes and technology. In the roofing industry, interest in photovoltaic roofing (PV) as a green option is growing among both residential customers and commercial clients. These solar panels allow customers to produce a substantial amount of their own electrical power from solar energy while providing a visually appealing option as roofing material. Continue reading How the Roofing Industry Is Going Green With Photovoltaic Technology