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Posts Tagged ‘Construction | Tagged Architectural’

Remember me? I use to write a blog on this site with some regularity but it has been a while…

Fortunately for me, we have been busier than a one-legged cat trying to bury a mouse on a frozen pond which is the only reason I have not been here more often. So, when it has been a while between posts, you know I am ‘drinking water from a fire hose’, work-wise.

I have been getting a lot of calls and emails from people, which I enjoy getting, just tossing and bouncing around ideas that may help them build new business. I am spending more time in airports in the past few months which, especially during the summer, means I am spending more time waiting on planes. This is not all bad as it gives me a little extra time to reply to such inquiries. I even hopped back on LinkedIn’s Question and Answers section to do a little posting and replying, which brings me to today’s topic.

I had a meeting this week with a new client and the topic was, if you can imagine this, building new business. As we were talking, his enthusiasm was obvious as we talked about his marketing and business development plan.

As we discussed the technical side of pricing…you know, plan acquisition, estimating, submittals, lead management, etc. I shared with him my thoughts on the time line between when any entity moves from being a ‘total stranger’ to a ‘paying customer’ and how our job is to make that time line as short as possible.

I am a big believer that the offerings of ‘Social Media’ can help in that endeavor. The question that I took time to answer on LinkedIn was responding to the question:

‘Have you used Twitter successfully to promote your business?’

My reply was, in a word, ‘Yes’. I give some specific examples of how Twitter has helped me generate revenue.
Just like this blog, I use to ‘Tweet’ all the time after being one of the early naysayers about Twitter. However, I have learned that while there is nothing magical about Twitter, it is simply a tool to allow others to get to know you, or your business, a little better.

For the very curious follow this link to my full answer: http://tw9.us/dp

Now, the point of this blog is not to promote Twitter, Facebook, Fastpitch, etc. but rather to emphasize the concept that while the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, the best line between ‘stranger’ and ‘paying customer’ is the shortest line.

I am a big believe in that you help yourself create the shortest line by breeding familiarity. Allowing prospects to get to know you as a person as well as getting to know you as a representative of your company.

Allow me to once again quote Jeffrey Gitomer and if you do not get his free weekly ‘e-zine’, sign up as soon as you are done reading this.:

“All things being equal, people buy from people they like … and, all things not being equal, people still buy from people they like.” (www.gitomer.com)

How do you get someone to like you? They have to get to know you. Social media is nothing more than a way to promote you and/or your business. However, if you are already active in this type of promotion or are in the beginning stages, remember to budget your time accordingly and to never confuse activities with results.

In closing, I want to offer something that I do for each new client. My favorite business magazine is ‘INC’ as I not only learn from each issue; I get inspired by the real stories of entrepreneurs as they churn the wheels of commerce. Each new client gets a free one-year subscription to ‘INC’ and I would like to offer the first person to email me a free subscription as well.

Thanks for reading, keep on keeping on and let’s do all we can to turn this economy around.

Have a great week!

——————–

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

http://www.cmconl.com/

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell@cmconl.com

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When I first started writing ‘Building New Business’ my goal was to make it a weekly offering but it did not take too long before I realized that was a bit ambitious. The amended goal was every other Thursday and then…as often as I could.

The reason so much time has passed since my last post is things are slammed on this end…which is good. Also, when I started this, I was in the middle of a six month streak of not having to set foot in the airport. That streak is now over and I am writing this waiting to board yet another plane.

In the time since my last offering, I have been up to my neck in alligators but still have enjoyed the calls and emails I have received with people asking a question, wanting to bounce round an idea or just to ‘talk shop’. I always enjoy and welcome such inquiries.

The reason I am entitling this ‘Thank You’ is because I sincerely want to express my gratitude to those who find time to read my blog. I do this out of my unbridled, unapologetic and unashamed passion for capitalism and the free-enterprise system. Being able to share that same excitement with those who have reached out to me and to be able to toss around a few ideas or answer a few questions is fuel to my fire.

Capitalism seems to be getting a lot of negative press here lately with corporate bail outs, government ownership of private companies, threats of bankruptcy, etc. Let me assure you that of the inquiries I have received in the last several weeks, none came from hedge fund managers, bankruptcy lawyers or any government official. They all came from either small business owners or someone responsible for bringing in new business. These are the people that inspire me and help make me wake up each day excited to be doing what I do, helping to churn the wheels of commerce. It is even more rewarding when I hear that our little chat appears to have helped in even the smallest way.

This one will be short gang but I promise a new post soon. I just completed a huge project and will be able to exhale a bit, pour another cup of coffee and hopefully offer a nugget or two of something you may find useful as we all go about building new business.

Have a great weekend…

——————–

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

http://www.cmconl.com/

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell@cmconl.com

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I have written about my passion for magic (illusions) in the past and will briefly mention it again and hopefully tie it into something useful.

There are few things I enjoy more than to see a brand new, to me, illusion that makes me go, “Hmmm…how’d you do that?” I enjoy that initial sense of awe as much, or more, than learning or figuring out how the illusion is actually done.

The same holds true with business. When I see or learn of something clever that someone is doing to build their business, it is very much like seeing and learning a new magic trick. Given today’s economy, we can use all the cleverness we can muster.

Riddles, logic puzzles, brain teasers have always fascinated me and I enjoy trying to solve them when time allows:

Q: A basket contains 5 apples. Do you know how to divide them among 5 kids so that each one has an apple and one apple stays in the basket?

Hold that thought and get ready for another tidbit from the world of golf…

Back in the day, when Jack Nicklaus ‘owned’ the PGA, before every season he would begin his preparations, with his golf coach, with a review of the fundamentals…starting with how to grip the club. When I first heard this I was dumbfounded. Do what? Jack Nicklaus reviewing how to grip the club?

During my most recent haircut, while I was waiting, I picked up a golf magazine and started flipping through the pages. As I was scanning the articles it occurred to me that each issue of any golf magazine is made up of at two main categories of content. (1) News and (2) Instructions.

There will be a review of the last big event, who is healthy, who is not, what is coming up on the tour, who will be there, who will not, etc. Then, the rest are articles are on how to shave a stroke or two off your game with this or that technique. Month after month, year after year, there will be articles offering some small tweak, some pear of wisdom that is aimed at helping you better your score.

Just like Jack Nicklaus reviewing the fundamentals, so holds true for staying the course, no pun intended, during challenging times like today. Remember, there are no magic bullets, no special shoes you can wear to make you drive the ball 500 yards, no putter head shaped like a frozen turkey that will do what sticking to the fundamentals will do.

Continue to market
Continue to offer great service
Continue to build customer relationships
Continue to price projects for a profit

Now, back to our logic puzzle:

Does his mean, as we stick to the fundamentals, we do not look for those neat and clever techniques to help build our business? Absolutely not. What I am suggesting is that in your lead group and within your network, seek and share ideas that are proving to help you reduce costs, get you in front of that hot prospect, present you with more pricing opportunities. [Note: When I say ‘lead group’ I am talking about something formal.]

What can you do this week that you did not do last week, which will help you build new business? That is your brain teaser. If you don’t have an answer, where can you go to find one? Who is in your network that is not just keeping up but actually growing during these times?

Set a goal to call at least three trusted people and ask them how things are going, how they are doing and bounce around a few ideas. Make sure that you have something to offer as well. This small investment of your time can pay off in big ways.

Remember, the answer is always ‘no’ until you ask and I am willing to bet there are people you know that, in spite of the doom and gloom, have created some new idea that is increasing their bottom line.

Your job is to ask, “How’d you do that?”

——————–

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

http://www.cmconl.com/

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell@cmconl.com

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to today’s main event.

In this corner, Probable…

And in this corner, Possible. “Touch gloves and let the fight begin!”

*Ding!*. . . Boom!….Flump!

Wait! What? It’s over? The fight is over?

The fight wasn’t even close… first round knock-out with Probable sending Possible to mat in record time.

What, you may ask, are you talking about? Allow me to explain. Today’s entry is all about the difference between probable, that which is likely to occur, and possible, that which may occur.

When the economy slows businesses have a natural tendency to shift from going after work that is probable and leaning towards opportunities that are possible. Mainly because the probable work opportunities are less than what they use to be.

That temptation is natural and understandable but yet, allow me to encourage you not to stray too far in seeking ways to possibly bring in new revenue.

Allow me to give you a real world example:

Follow my advice here and I guarantee you will make at least one million dollars. It is a proven formula and everyone who has done it has made, at the very least, one million dollars.

It does not require any heavy lifting. You can do this from the comfort of you home, riding down the road, sitting on an airplane, sitting on the beach, pretty much anywhere.

You do not need a computer, Internet, laser printer, wireless network.

All you have to do is this…(Drum roll please)

Write a song that goes to number one for at least 10 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. That’s it! That is all you have to do to become a millionaire!

Possible? Oh yes.

Probable? Sorry, not very.

The thing to remember is that there are people and/or companies out there that need your service. They just may not be as visible as before. Instead of losing focus on the probable and succumbing to the possible, focus your energies on doing a better job of finding those probable opportunities.

An architectural firm with a 20+ year history of designing large industrial distribution centers and manufacturing facilities will probably not win the commission to design a medium sized worship facility when going against the medium sized design firm who has a 20+ year history, and portfolio, of primarily churches, synagogues and temples.

Is it possible the larger firm can design a new church? Oh yes.

Is it probable they will get the business? Sorry, not very.

Yes, times are tough but when it comes to marketing your services, like the old saying ‘Dance with the one that brought you.’

Finally, I am definitely not saying one should never branch out, look for new revenue streams, new opportunities to partner, new service or product offerings. Just make sure they make sense and you don’t find yourself trying to pay the bills, sitting under a tree somewhere trying to rhyme ‘spoon’, ‘June’ and ‘moon’ for the debut single, on the debut album, of the next American Idol winner.

——————–

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

http://www.cmconl.com/

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell@cmconl.com

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