Put Feet on the Street
Competitors have been knocking on the door of your best
customers. Now is the time to get your people out on the
street, spending time with current and new customers. The
best way to stop competitors from knocking the door down is
to ensure you are delivering everything that has been promised to a customer in a way that really makes an impact on
the design and construction process.
Ask PMs, superintendents, and estimators to join the ranks of
business development, and get senior management out of the
office or off the jobsite to meet with previous customers. While
you are at it, call on a few new or existing customers too.
Get Your Strategy Straight
Strategy answers the question of how you are going to
achieve your desired results. Business development must be
clear on its strategy, or the company will spend too much
time and money winning too few (or the wrong) projects.
Get your team together to clearly spell out your winning
strategy, define the right customers, and learn how to tell
customers why they should pick your company over all the
other great contractors in the market.
It may take time to concisely define your strategy. Lack of
clarity on strategy and inability to convey it to customers are
the key reasons many contractors find themselves coming
in second in today’s market. Use your strategy to help refine
where business development is hunting for new opportunities and where your team is keeping in touch with existing
Build Skills & Abilities
Lack of time and confidence are some of the frequent reasons
given for not picking up the phone or stopping by previous
customers’ offices. One result that comes out of building
customer-focused skills is a significant increase in the number
of calls being made to previous customers. Having the skills
to start conversations, ask questions, and find customer hot
buttons helps your operational staff find the time (and the
comfort) to pick up the phone or schedule a lunch meeting.
Help your operational team brainstorm reasons (and ways)
to keep in touch and strategies for navigating the field inside
the client’s organization. One of the best ways to keep past
customers loyal to your organization is to maintain the relationship they had with the project team during the prior
build-out. These skills will help your operational staff find
the time to make more keep-in-touch calls.
Make Tough Choices
Your company does not have unlimited funds to invest in business development. One tough choice lies in finding ways to
stretch your business development investments and still get
the results you need to keep the company busy and profitable.
You will have to make tough choices regarding what is worth
current spending and what must be put on hold. People are
often tempted to put a little money into a variety of different
ideas. In business development, this comes from not knowing
what really adds value. Investing more money into fewer ideas
tends to win more projects than trying to spread money too
Make the tough (right) choices and you will watch your
backlog grow. Instead of bidding every project being let, dig
deeper on a few – even one – and perform sufficient research
in order to develop a specific strategy to win those few jobs.
You will increase your hit rate substantially.
Find the White Space
“White space” is the areas in which your company differs
from its competitors and can be found by graphing points of
parity and difference among your company and competitors.
The similarities and differences must be from the customers’
perspective, as they are the ones with first-hand experience
of both you and your key competitors.