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Category Archives: Marketing Tips

What’s the AEC Industry Blogging About??

Blogging has been around for some time now.  It was used by individuals and companies as a way to communicate and share information on the web, and became somewhat popular, even before being recognized as part of the “Social Media” craze.

Blogs can be an important resource for finding information and current news in any industry, including the AEC industry.  For example, there are blogs out there that report upcoming building projects, discuss new techniques in the installation of building equipment, review rules and regulations for specific project types, as well as blogs that forecast the economics of the industry.  Whatever your interest is, you’re sure to find someone out there blogging about it.

Keep in mind not every blog you find on the web is going to grab your attention.  The important thing is to find two or three sites that consistently post relevant and interesting content that you can use.   Become active in these sites by participating in the discussion area.  It’s a great place to offer your expert advice, or maybe find a solution to a problem that your company is currently dealing with.  Most importantly, it gets you networking with others in your industry.

Whether you are looking for information on a certain topic, or a place to exchange ideas, blogging sites are a great reference and should not be overlooked.

Here’s a short list of some of the AEC Blog sites that we found interesting:

Cofebuz.com  http://www.cofebuz.com

Contractortalk.com http://contractortalk.com

Design and Construction Network  http://mydcn.com

Tar Paper Crane  http://www.tarpapercrane.com

Construction Marketing Ideas http://www.constructionmarketingideas.com/

The Konstructr Network http://go.konstructr.com/profiles/blog/list

Social Media - Are You Building Your Network?

Has your company taken the plunge into the Social Media abyss yet?  If not, what’s holding you back?   Could be, you’re like most other skeptics out there who have been hiding in the background waiting to see if this is all just a fad, or if in fact Social Media is here to stay.  Or maybe it’s that even though you realize this is something you need to get involved in, you just have no idea where to begin.

No matter what it is that’s keeping you from moving forward, NOW is the time to get on board. According to Web Strategy’s Social Network Stats for 2010, Facebook, which has over 400 million members, received more visits last week than Google. Twitter reports show that there are over 50 million tweets occurring per day, which is an average of 600 tweets per second. LinkedIn currently has over 60 million users in over 200 countries, and has experienced  a growth of 5 million new users in the last 2 months.

Needless to say, with numbers like these, it looks like Social Media is going to stick around for quite some time.  You really don’t want to be left behind do you?  Marketing budgets are dwindling and competition is high.  Currently there’s no better way to expand your brand and get maximum exposure, at little or no cost to your company, than your social network.  How can you NOT take advantage of that?

Ok, so now you agree, there’s no more hiding from it. But where do you begin?  According to an article written by Constructive Communication, Inc. - Online Social Media, the first thing you need to do is identify which social media platform your key audience is participating in the most.  Listen to what their saying before determining your goals and strategies.  Also, check out what other companies in your industry are doing.  It doesn’t mean that if it’s working for them that you should adopt their same methods, however it can be a good starting point as you develop your own social media plan.

Do your homework.  You’re not limited to just Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Check out YouTube, Blogging Sites, Wikipedia, Flicker, widgets, gadgets, the list goes on. Let your creative character come alive.  The possibilities are unlimited.

It’s time to start building your network.  Don’t be left out in the cold.  Social Networking is what your competitors are doing, your future customers are doing, and it’s what your company SHOULD be doing.

AEC Marketing & Business Development … when you get time

Marketing can lay a critical foundation for your sales pipeline, but often things don’t happen until you pick up the phone, or shake a hand. Marketing tools, like Ascribe, in the AEC industry cannot replace personal selling and networking, it can only grease the process and give you a reputation and brand exposure before you open the door….but you still need to open the door.

Reducing your risk of rejection is important for every sales person, but especially for those who are marketing or doing business development for their construction or design firms, but are also active project managers and designers.  Those people that spend their non-selling time doing other critical tasks such as project management, or leading a team, let’s be honest, if you get your proverbial hand slapped 9 out of 10 times you pick up the phone to sell a prospect on your service, you’re going to find it easy to “keep busy” with the other parts of your job rather than marketing or selling. Before you know it, you’re spending little to no time selling. But, what if your rejection rate was only 1 in 3. I think most of us would love those numbers, and not slink away from the phone. So, how do you reduce your risk?

First thing to do is to understand the difference between Active Needs and Latent Needs. Active Needs are associated with dissatisfaction caused by pain or desire. Prospects with Active Needs are easy to approach because they are open to change. In many cases, they are already actively looking for our services. Latent Needs exist when prospects fail to recognize that they are no longer satisfied with the status quo. People with Latent Needs will not buy. They are complacent with, and satisfied with, the status quo. Dangling a great opportunity in front of a person with Latent Needs is a waste of time.

If you spend your sales time only looking for prospects with Active Needs, you will be dealing with rejection 90% of the time. You will waste a lot of time leaving voice mails looking for that “easy” opportunity and get discouraged in the process.

In our industry, Latent Needs are abundant and plentiful. Owners get complacent with “OK” designs. GCs settle for “acceptable” service from their subcontractors. A far more affective approach to selling in this environment is to farm the prospects with Latent Needs. Convert their Latent Needs into Active Needs by creating a sense of momentum and curiosity around your company. Use tools like Ascribe to publish your project profiles, and Facebook and Twitter to publish your company’s activity.  Create excitement about a new feature of your service that your other clients are raving about. The objective of the call is not to close the sale, but to create momentum, excitement, and curiosity about your service. If this is your objective, then your failure rate will be around 10% instead of the 90%. In this mind-set you are successful and you understand this to be a valuable use of your time. Then, if you stumble on an Active Need, all the better.