You’ve gone to extreme lengths to form your company into something you’re proud of. You do excellent work, you’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into it – and now it’s time to grow.
Don’t let fate decide – you’ll need to push the marketing of your company in the same way that you pushed to get the work out of your team. Sometimes this means putting ‘sweat equity’ into your marketing – meaning your own time, and potentially allocating resources to the best possible options for getting more leads for commercial construction. Experiment with these ideas to find the right balance of value and how much resources they take to implement.
1. Niche down to focus on a specific industry
Value: 100% Time: High Cost: Low
If you can narrow down the number of people you’re targeting your sales efforts at – their becomes efficiency in your marketing efforts. It’s also likely that your expertise in that particular industry goes up as you do more jobs within it. Imagine giving a particular kind of client (Apartment buildings) the last four jobs you’ve done, and they are all apartment buildings – you’re much more likely to get more leads for people looking for that particular type of work.
2. Get specifics on terms you’re willing to offer for referrals and partner with other local businesses in adjacent industries.
Value: 80% Time: Low Cost: Low
All it takes is to create a write-up outlining terms and create a place to sign for both parties. If you specialize in a very specific industry it makes it a lot easier to reach out to people you know to say, “If you ever get [these types of projects] we specialize in them and are willing to offer a 10%, $1,000, or whatever’s appropriate referral fee to any project you refer that we land.”
If you have something specific, in writing and ready to shoot off to other people in your industry, or in adjacent industries – you’ll not only have a solid sales tool but an attractive offer. An offer you can use to market yourself to new companies and individuals you previously didn’t have a great reason to reach out.
3. Call your former employees (or bosses!)
Value: 50% Time: Low Cost: Low
If your company has been around for a while, you may be tempted to rest on your laurels when it comes to the ways you get new leads – but this is a recipe for having fewer excuses if there’s ever a dry spell.
Make it a point to reach out to former employees, bosses, or work colleagues – particularly if they went on to start a different business. This is a good reason not to burn bridges as word gets around, and particularly when it comes to commercial work, the amount of people connected starts to be less and less with more and more influence.
For this reason you should always keep relationships open, bring former employees or bosses out to lunch and consider giving some clear referral terms (see point number two) for when they come across someone who needs your specialty (see point number one.)
4. Visit networking groups like BNI or a chamber of commerce.
Value: 30% Time: High Cost: Low
I cannot endorse Business Networking International, any chamber of commerce, or any ‘Business to Business’ networking group for that matter – but I do suggest you consider testing them out. Particularly if the B2B groups near you allow visiting 1 or 2 times, I’d say visit them all!
The weekly meetings are difficult because the time it takes to go to them is high, only for the hope of some leads months from now. If you’re anything like me, you like to focus your efforts on things that have a high-return without spending crazy amounts of time each month.
5. Create a website that showcases your best work, testimonials, groups you’re a part of and is easy to navigate and nudges people to contact you.
Value: 100% Time: Medium Cost: High
This should be and is a somewhat high expense at the beginning of commercial construction lead-generation tactics. If you try to scrimp on this step of the process though, you may find yourself wondering why the leads aren’t rolling in on a regular basis.
Just like construction can be done in a low-value and low-quality way, there are thousands of web design companies out there that are selling low-quality websites. Our specialty is creating SEO-friendly websites for construction companies that look professional and stylish, meaning they are built to get traffic from Google, AND they aren’t an eyesore.
There are many companies that do web design. I just encourage you to make this one of your more foundational lead generation sources, rather than glossing over it and trying to slap a coat of varnish on the top of a poorly and cheaply made website.
6. Write about how you are solving a current client’s problem through construction case studies, and offer compelling pictures
Value: 100% Time: Medium Cost: High
Not only do you showcase your expertise to anyone who gets to your website via a search engine or social media channel – but you can increase the value by sharing the post and pictures on social media as well through Instagram, a Facebook Page, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Putting out content regularly on your website should be a high priority – and ideally, it’s teamed up with social media marketing and SEO link-building efforts, so that the hard work you or the company doing your SEO is putting into content is getting found on Google and other search engines and social media.
7. Ask your customers to write reviews about you online, and publicize great reviews to get as much out of them as you can. When customers are extremely happy with your work, ask for referrals.
Value: 80% Time: Very low Cost: Low
Reviews are so underrated I almost put the value at 100%. By themselves they aren’t much – and although places like Houzz and Home Advisor will push you to get reviews on their platform they only really help your efforts on that one platform and people already using it. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone of any lead generation tactic, although I’ve seen some pretty discouraging things about the way Home Advisor makes you sign away the usage of your brand name and is often ranking above companies for their own name on Google and selling the leads back to them. Usually, these leads get sold to many other companies as well, and everyone is paying HomeAdvisor, but only one gets the job.
Point being is the way I push clients to get reviews revolves around places that get featured in Google search results pages. So Facebook and native Google reviews have the most visibility in this regard, and I suggest creating a rhythm around asking happy clients for reviews after you’ve completed a job.
Hint: It can require a couple of nudges, and may include giving them some bullet points you want to mention (they’ll often ask for this).
8. Join groups for contractor networking and find ways to make yourself useful to other companies.
Value: 60% Time: Medium-High Cost: Somewhat low
Depending on the region you’re in there will be construction industry gatherings, which can be round-tables, networking events, or just pure fun. If you haven’t been to a few of these, it may be a great place to increase the amount of connections you have, and prepare your mindset for bigger jobs.
Often these kinds of events are rife with companies that have been around the block and can share some insight into the current challenges of the industry – or even the types of work you may want to avoid. If some of your work is earned working through other companies, these kinds of events may be the ideal way to rub shoulders with other company owners who may want to hire you as well.
Final Thoughts on Ways to get more Commercial Construction Leads
Getting commercial construction leads is not an overnight task, because of the higher bar for earning these types of jobs. Many companies have to cut their teeth on smaller projects first and earn a reputation and work examples before they get the opportunity to bid for higher value jobs.
Don’t get discouraged – but do specialize if you can, and find ways to be useful and available to your fellow construction industry comrades, while positioning yourself as the expert in your community. Whether the economy is good, or the leads are slowing to a trickle – continually refresh your systems for getting more commercial construction leads, and set yourself up for success in the future.