You want to grow your construction business and scale up. This is the goal of most business owners and is no different for those of us who work in construction. In order to grow your business, however, you need to win more clients. It can be hard to know where to start and how to find construction clients. Through my experience in the construction industry and growing my own business, I know that no one size fits all for this question. So in this article, I will explore different avenues and give you various ideas that will fit you and your company.
I will look at three areas:
- What do construction clients want?
- Where to find construction clients?
- How to get construction clients
What Do Construction Clients Want?
Construction clients come in all different shapes and sizes. In order to understand what they want, we need to understand the buyer’s cycle and where your customer is in that journey.
What is the buyer’s cycle?
If I started by asking you what your customer really wanted you would probably give me a variety of answers. For example, if you are a builder and you do house extensions, you might answer that your customer wants a house extension. Is that what they really want? Well actually no. That is the solution that they need in order to get what they want. What they want is to be able to dine with their friends and family in a large open plan kitchen/diner; a place they can really enjoy and show off. They have a problem of not having enough space and you have the solution for them.
So if we use the example above:
The Problem – The family currently has a small kitchen and they don’t feel they can invite their friends and family over as it is too small. They cannot fit a dining table in their current kitchen so they cannot eat together, or have dinner parties with guests. If you are targeting the above type of customer, they need to be aware that they have this problem. Then they might be considering buying a new house or alternative solutions. The Solution – One solution that you can offer them is by adding an extension to their house. They can then have a perfect kitchen/diner to suit their needs, without having to go through the hassle of buying a new place and moving house.
Maybe the buyer has realised that they need a house extension already, then they are in a different cycle of the buyer’s journey to the customer who just knows they have a problem. This is where you come in and can be the person that understands their problem and has the skills and experience to fulfil their needs.
What if they are ready to have a house extension, what is their next problem?
Perhaps they have been stung by a builder in the past and they don’t trust them. What solution can you provide for this problem? And this cycle of problem VS your solution continues until you have secured the sale. Write out all the possible scenarios of your buyer’s problems and solutions and base all your sales and marketing around these. Then the clients will feel you really understand what they want.
Where to Find Construction Clients?
With the multiple marketing and sales opportunities available to us now it can be hard to know where to find the construction clients you are looking for. With my experience not just with my business but also with my coaching clients, I have some main areas for you to focus on. The following are various ideas you can implement to find construction clients :
There is no getting away from it, even though technology has advanced and marketing is now an essential part of most businesses, the best way to get new customers in the construction industry is by word of mouth. With reports and stories of cowboy builders, clients are cautious, so one of the first things they will do is ask friends and family for recommendations. The next place they will look is online recommendations, on places like Checkatrade or Facebook.
All of this is in your control. Firstly, you need to be providing your customers with a great level of customer service. As we all know, things do not always run smoothly in construction and there will be many times when things go wrong, but it is how you deal with these issues and how you communicate this to the customer that matters. Do not wait until the end of the job to find out if your customer is happy or not with what is happening. Ask them regularly and rectify things when they are not going so well. Even when there are problems within the build, often the customer at the end will give you a glowing review and recommendations to their friends.
You also need to tell them what you want. Ask them for reviews, ask them to post in a community group and recommend you. Many people will be more than happy to do this, but as they have busy lives they need to be told specifically what to do. Have a read of my article to get more information on how to get good reviews. You can find it here.
Existing Leads and Customers
If you need more business, the first place to start targeting is your existing customers and leads. With your customers, what work have they had done previously? What else could they have done? Is there something you could offer them that they are not aware of? They know you and trust you if everything went well, so revisit these and you will be surprised how much business you can drum up.
What happened to the leads that contacted you but got no further? Did they go elsewhere or are they still looking? Perhaps they were delayed with planning permission or a change in circumstances but now are ready to proceed. Make sure you are the first person on their minds before a rival tradesman snaps them up.
Referrals are one of the best ways you can get a steady flow of fresh leads, for minimal cost.
Where should these referrals come from? Well, this depends on what you specialise in, but some sources could include:
- Interior Designers
- Estate Agents
- If you are an electrician or plumber, for example, other builders
- Other trades
One way to ensure referrals is by working together and trading services and referrals. You can also offer them an incentive for referring clients to you if they win specific jobs.
How can you get more leads for your construction business? What works really well is giving away something of value for free in exchange for an email address. This could be in the form of a PDF download or a small e-book. In order to capture interest, the free giveaway needs to appeal to the potential clients’ fears or wants. So, you need a hook. For example: 10x ways to avoid getting ripped off by your plumber.
Once you have a decent free giveaway, share it all over social media, put it on your website, on your email signature. Make sure that the information shared is not just of high value but that it looks great too. If it’s appealing enough it will organically start getting recognition and generating leads.
Social media can be a great way to target local customers. With Facebook ads, you can target a specific geographical area and even follow what sort of interests and behaviours they may have. It is free to set up a Facebook page and you can even join local community groups that are often looking for recommendations for local construction people; this can be a great way to get some free advertisements.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are great ways to feature your work. LinkedIn is fantastic if you are trying to connect with other professionals and target them.
You do need to be careful with social media though you can spend a fortune and get little return, so it is important you either hire someone that knows what they are doing or you learn it yourself and pick one social media channel to focus on, or you can quickly find that you’re wasting a lot of time.
We cannot ignore Google. Think about it yourself, how often when you want to search for something, the first place that you turn to is google? It’s a place you want to be. In order for you to show up on searches, it is important that your website content really highlights what you do and has great sales copy. Working with an SEO expert can also increase your rankings on searches.
Depending on what you are selling, sometimes having a stand at an exhibition can be a fantastic way to get new leads. Do you have a niche, do you have something different you can offer people, or would your target clients be at this expo?
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to gain new clients from cold contacting. It is good to set up a marketing campaign to target the leads you generate through other mediums such as social media and your website. Your goal should be to familiarise them with you and what your business offers.
What is your business’s USP (Unique Selling Point)? If you cannot answer that question right away, there is a flaw in your business/marketing plan. This is where you should start, the foundation of winning more clients. It’s vital that you know why you are different from your competitors. When you can base your whole marketing/sales strategy around this, you will find that your leads and contracts will improve.
If it’s local clients that you need, then get involved in the local community. Once you are known in your local community and you do a few good jobs then all of a sudden you will be recommended and we go back to the best and most effective way of getting leads which is word of mouth.
Do you have signage outside your jobs? You should always put up a sign to advertise your business as neighbours will pass by daily and see the construction work going on.
Whilst I wouldn’t waste money on flyering endless streets when you are working on a job, it’s always worthwhile flyering the road you will be working on. As the neighbours will see you working anyway, it may trigger interest in work for their own home. You want them to know exactly how they can reach you if that’s the case.
What are you an expert in? What advice can you give someone that might help? Particularly your ideal customers; what will they be typing into google that you can answer with? Creating blogs that are written with SEO in mind and good fresh content can create leads.
Potential customers love to see before and after pictures, drone footage and completed jobs. I have noticed builders have a terrible habit of taking pictures and leaving tools, buckets, cables, etc in the way without clearing them before they take those pictures. They also tend to be dark and gloomy, with lenses that are not always clean. This will put the customer off. Get good pictures of the end results and splash out on a professional photographer. While this may be an investment, it will be well worth it in the long run.
How to get construction clients
Once you have found some construction clients, now you need to win their project. You can receive as many leads as you like but you will nearly always be up against at least 2 other companies when you are providing a quote, how can you win the business? Here are a couple of top tips on how you can win those clients.
Go back to our original point in the article of understanding what the buyer wants, what their problem is and how you can solve this. This is information that you need to highlight to them. Have a clear and concise sales pitch, highlight your good reviews, your successful work, your USP. Leave them with a good impression.
What do your quotes look like? The presentation of some of the quotes I have seen from builders is shocking. It’s important that your quotes are presented well, and they are detailed. Let the customer know that you are open and be as transparent as possible and they will trust you more. This is a big factor when clients are comparing companies, so make sure you do the work to be better than your competitor.
Closing The Sale
Before you leave the consultation, find out if you have answered all of the potential customers’ questions. Highlight all the buyer problems and worries that they have and how you can provide a solution for all or as many of them as possible. Make sure you follow up on the quotation with the client and that you have an expiry date for the quote.
It’s also a good idea if you don’t win the job to find out why. This feedback is vital and will help you improve your sales strategy moving forward. You don’t want to be making the same mistakes over and over when a simple conversation could save you that.
In this article, I have only touched on some of the ways you can win construction clients. You can find more advice and support on my Facebook group: Construction Trades Accelerator. Join here today, to not only get great advice but also networking opportunities with other like-minded business owners.
Each construction company is different and different strategies will work best. If you would like bespoke help that will help your business smash through the £1million barrier and create a multi-million-pound business, book your FREE strategy session with me today. Book here.