An essential component in any successful architecture, engineering, and construction firm is a dedicated focus to generating, maintaining, and following up on project and client leads. A lead is not just an RFP announcement or a letter from a client requesting a proposal: It's identifying change and taking action.
Firms often focus on their technical aspects while forgoing the day-to-day marketing tasks to ensure future project work. Despite the demands of today's projects, lead generation is a necessary daily and ongoing activity to ensure your firm is successful well into the future. At MARKETLINK, we have identified the following five strategies to develop hot leads.
1. Past and Present Clients
Your past and present clients represent a golden opportunity for future projects. There are significant benefits to investing in the development of a formalized communication plan with these clients. You may have current or past clients who have made it clear there is no budget for projects in the foreseeable future. However, an important aspect to remember is that plans and budgets change. Some of these changes include staff members moving from one organization to another. A project developer you worked with at one organization may move to another with a budget and A/E/C needs. Your firm can remain top of mind by maintaining communication and continuing to offer resources. When you find out about a project, industry insights, or local market happenings, this is a perfect time to share information. By doing so, you and your firm are positioned as thought leaders and a go-to for resources.
2. Published Resources
Review, save, and share news articles regularly. Scanning local and industry news provides valuable details into possible future projects. The key is to be consistent in your search of published information, to identify changes in your specialized market segments and geographic areas. Online resources provide a goldmine of information. Regularly visit the websites and social media sites of local municipalities, clients, potential clients, and competitors to keep a pulse on the market. When you find an upcoming project that may not be your firm's specialty, consider forwarding the information to firms you have or would like to partner with. Additionally, share this information with current, past, and potential clients. Gather the news and updates but also share.
3. Market Research
Be open to doing some local market research. This may sound overwhelming, yet insightful information can be gathered by simply making phone calls and asking questions. Resources include large real estate companies and financial institutions. Be creative in your research to include economic development departments, chamber of commerce offices, and other local professionals to request information regarding expanding markets.
Make a prioritized list of everyone you know, including professional, social, and personal contacts. Integrate these contacts into your direct communication program. LinkedIn provides numerous opportunities to reconnect with past colleagues, make introductions, and share industry news. Start a lead exchange group and invite others.
5. Participation in Client Organizations
Target selected client-oriented groups or associations for public speaking opportunities, special event sponsorship, board membership, or general participation. Despite the impact of COVID, organizations are meeting virtually and in need of content for these sessions. This provides a unique opportunity for your firm to build relationships and increase leads.
Ultimately, building profitable lead sources requires consistent and organized execution in building trust in your firm. These actions are imperative to the ongoing success of your firm.