Taking it up a level – getting a chance at high-end jobs

Identifying the right jobs is only half the story…

In a recent article I described the four segments of the London residential market, right up to the multi-million pound contracts at the high end. As I’ve been working with clients to secure these sorts of jobs, I’ve discovered that identifying the projects to develop at planning stage is hard enough, but it’s only one of the challenges we have. The next task is to get a foot in the door, and the higher up the value chain you go, the more important face to face meetings become.

Almost all the tenders we get for our smaller builders come without an initial getting-to-know-you meeting. By smaller tenders I mean good quality projects from £50k to £1m. There will be a meeting at some point obviously, but it will usually be arranged if you’re a serious contender and it looks like you’re going to win the job. That’s not the case with the higher value contracts. You won’t get a sniff of a top-end tender without a short face to face introduction.

This is why it’s so important to see sales first and foremost as relationship cultivation. To be in the running for the most sought-after construction jobs in a city like London, you’ll need to understand the players in the market – who handles what sorts of jobs, and in which parts of town? Architects can be very territorial sometimes: this one works around Chelsea, this one around SW1 and Eton Place, etc. Then you will need to build a relationship over time, very patiently.

It’s going to be vital to get our client’s MD in front of the right architect, for the right project. It’s like fly fishing – so I’m told – it’s slowly and gently done. You’ll need some creativity in identifying senior contacts and finding opportunities to meet. Then you’ll want to get twenty minutes of their very busy day to introduce yourselves.

An opportunity like that is rare and you need to be prepared. Practice. Refine your sales pitch. Make yourselves distinctive and memorable. Prove your skills. And of course highlight the value and benefits of your company over the competition. The main question in their minds will be why they should choose you over the four or five other top quality builders they know already and regularly use.

These sorts of meetings are vital to developing your business and reaching for higher value contracts. You can’t rush into higher end work, but you can build patiently towards it with good strategy and effective marketing. If you’d like to think through how your firm could do it, give us a call.