Spider-web and sharks: Two perspectives of construction marketing and business development

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Are you practicing shark or spider-web like behaviour in your marketing and business development initiatives? The answer, says Bobby Darnell: You should be doing both.

Although Bobby Darnell wrote this posting several months ago, it captures an important concept that should be reviewed now:

When it comes to business development, often it seems one is either a spider or a shark.

Spiders build webs and wait for a meal to find its way in and get stuck. A shark on the other had has to keep swimming, always on the lookout for the next bite.

In Building New Business, you have to be both. A great online presence is much like a spider web, it can be helpful for snagging interest but you can’t just spin the web and wait in the corner.

Being constantly on the prowl, pro-actively beating the bushes for leads and prospects can be a winning tactic so long as you are not swimming in circles.

I love ‘talking shop’ with readers and, without a doubt; the biggest commonality they share is they do not have a firm grasp on the ‘non spider web’ portion of their business development efforts. This a large part of why we have been focusing more on proper prospecting with our general contractor, subcontractor and building product manufacturer clients.

All the sales training and effective closing techniques are not going to be much help unless they are directed to the attention of a qualified prospect. And I am not saying this doesn’t happen but if you were to look at your last ten contracts, how many of them came from someone hitting your website and filling out the ‘For More Information’ form?

Darnell, of course, relates to the challenge in sales and marketing. It certainly is helpful to have a great presence, web (and business) reputation, and the ability to attract inquiries through your visibility. However, unless you focus your energies and commit resources and time to deepening relationships where you are likely to find further opportunities, you’ll end up with some very low-quality leads, and not much new business.

Equally, of course, you don’t want to pound the pavement, following rote scripts and trying to “sell” everyone in your pathway. That is the easiest way to burn bridges. Realistically, the number of qualified prospects within specialized AEC services is relatively limited — you probably can figure out most of the universe with a little research. Your challenge, then, is to figure how to get closer and more connected to these individuals and organizations, and that requires more proactivity than casting the spider web.

Darnell’s blog can be viewed here.

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