A common theme in marketing and business development in the AEC community is that most business arises from repeat and referral clients. A second theme: with the exception of some small or special projects, design and construction services have a relatively long, ongoing and often intense relationship process. You don’t just go to a store, plunk some cash, and carry out your purchases in a shopping bag. This means there are many people involved and many interactions between your clients and your employees and sub-contractors.
These two themes suggest one of the most important (often overlooked) marketing priorities should be in guiding how your non sales/marketing employees connect and relate with your clients, and how they should sense cues about potential opportunities for additional work, referrals or future projects — and how you develop a reporting/recognition process for these internally generated leads.
Related to that, of course, are the measures you need to take to ensure your employees don’t create a negative experience or perception. Messy, unsafe or chaotic job sites certainly don’t impress clients — and if their lives or business operations are unreasonably disrupted, you won’t really receive the warm reception and encouragement for referral business that can be done if things are conducted properly.
Sometimes your best and most profitable business opportunities are there already — right in your current projects and the relationships your staff have with your clients. Keep these points in mind when you are setting your marketing and business-development systems and priorities.