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.

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