The numbers game, relationships or both (2)

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My previous post touches on the seemingly conflicting relationship between volume and quality in business development and marketing.   In discovering new business, is your network or market “size” as important as the depth and quality of the connections and relationships you build within it?  The answer, you might rightfully conclude, is that you will achieve the highest results if you can combine a large and quantifiable network with really great relationships and friendships.

Try to do that some day.  It’s harder than you think.

Those of us with some experience pity the dumb canvasser or telemarketer “working the lists” (or streets), going from one door to the next, or one phone number to the following.  Rejection, rejection, rejection, no answer, no answer . . . to the point that, in only the most exceptional cases, you either need to be somewhat psychopathic or truly have an exceptionally strong constitution to continue.

Or you can try hanging out at networking events.  I enjoyed Tim Klabunde‘s blog posting where he reminds us that most of us actually hate these things.  Tim’s “cure”  (and one that makes sense for a lot of us) is to turn off the business ‘taking’ and focus on giving as much as we can — building relationships in the process.  But Tim is still very much playing the numbers game as he works the system to enhance the size and dimensions of the network for which he is at the helm.

But, heck, lets say you are the midwestern general contractor I write about in my Construction Marketing Ideas book. He gets all the work at his local hospital even though procurement is supposed to be public and the low bidder is supposed to get the job.  He is low bidder, every time.  Of course he would lose his shirt if the hospital administrators didn’t have an implicit agreement with him to be vague enough about the scope of work to allow profitable change orders.  How much value do you put on that type of relationship?  (Yes, I realize this sort of thing can verge off the straight and narrow and into spaces no one with even an ounce of ethics would wish to enter.)  Assuming you aren’t playing around with bribery, kickbacks or extortion and are a GC and can achieve that level of trust with, say, three public agencies in your area, would you have a sustainable business?

Design and Construction Report Recruitment Update

Yesterday’s Craigslist ads attracted 18 responses from the Washington (Northern Virginia) posting and six from Philadelphia, a little less than I expected.  One person responded to the autoresponder and completed the questionnaire and sales survey.  While her resume would normally be a “screen out” using conventional hiring evaluation perceptions, she actually scored quite well on the sales survey, so will receive a follow-up call from me.  (Note one advantage of our ‘automated’ system is that anyone who really wants the work can follow up — creating a real incentive and non-discriminatory advantage.  Trouble is, the best candidates may be turned off by the machine-like approach.)

Last night at midnight, I modified the autoresponder to remove some excess information from the sending, and set up two more ads on Craigslist, one in Miami  and the other in Atlanta.  Overnight, I’ve received two more responses from Washington and one each from Miami and Atlanta.

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