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Tag Archives: Project profiles

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.

Have Your Project Profile, or Project Template System Loaded and Cocked…

Having your project template, or project profile system, in place is like having your gun loaded before the “big bucks” (pun intended) begin to cross your path.

You can almost smell it. You have begun to hear whispers of it. The tide is turning and the projects are coming. RFPs are picking up. Yes, margins are small, but that is simply the next logical step to the economic turnaround.

The question is, are your guns loaded and ready to begin bagging the deals with ease, or will your team be scrambling around the office trying to find and organize the ammo.

A critical part of the information that you will need ready is your company’s experience, in the form of the Project Profile. Have you constructed a project template system that is readily useable, flexible, or at minimum quickly “tweak-able”? It is a rare and opportune time to get organized with you’re your past project photos, and descriptions, awards and client references. Build out a project template that can be populated and deployed easily and quickly. Tag and organize your project profiles in multiple ways so you can call the specific data you need. If you can, try to build a central repository that can utilize the data in all the ways you will need it, such as project sheets, website portfolio, and social network distribution. Get your project profiles on your office walls updated as well. (your not guilty of not updating your project wall-of-fame in 15 years are you…)

It is not a question of “if” you will need this information ready; it is a matter of “when”. I personally believe the “when” is almost upon us. And, like normal, you won’t have time to get organized when you have six RFPs due out in a few days. My advice would be to get your project portfolio ready now!

- Jason Carpenter, CoFounder of ASCRIBE

- ASCRIBE is a project profile management and communication system. Click here to view an overview video

Rethinking Your Idea of an AEC Website

In the AEC industry, we are not taking orders or closing deals on our websites, so why have one?

Externally

A website in the construction industry can bring value by educating your clients and prospects, much like a brochure or company profile, only it can be ever changing and accessed by everyone, at any time. These days, you must find ways to keep it dynamic. Utilize inexpensive tools like blogs, twitter, and Ascribe for your project profiles to make a dynamic site simple to maintain.

It can be your “storefront” of the 21st century. In the 20th century, the most sought after locations for your storefront, were along high traffic areas. People would pass by and get an impression of your company by looking at the messages on the windows and the cleanliness of the store. Then when those people thought, “I need to expand my factory” your company was on the top of their mind. It’s no different now, only the storefront is a Website, and the traffic is “hits” to your site. You want the right people “walking past” your website on a regular basis. Also, you want to carefully craft and update your message that those passing by are viewing. What’s even better, you can customize the demographics of the visitors to your storefront. Last century, owners paid big dollars for the prime locations to gain access to that traffic, yet today many owners have a location with virtually no traffic and refuse to spend big dollars on getting virtual traffic past their virtual storefront. It’s still the same concept as before, communicating and giving impressions of your company to a large number of the right people. Ascribe, of course, can help significantly with this effort.

Internally

It’s about information and communication. People go to “an office” to give and receive information needed to accomplish their jobs affectively. An office also gives them a sense of belonging and a home base for work. But, in the construction industry, the majority of employees work on a jobsite most of the time.

Include an internal blog. It may sound abstract if you’re unfamiliar with a blog, but it is really nothing more than an online log where anyone can add their thoughts and observations about a particular subject. You can bring a sense of belonging and ownership to all the employees by posting a message from the president there each day. (You could even broadcast that message in a text format to the employees cell phones.) Project managers and others can discuss overall ways to remove obstacles and increase efficiencies. A living, breathing website can be an asset to the employees and owners of an AEC firm. It can give a sense of “home” to a decentralized workforce and possibly solve problems you didn’t know you had.