Running a construction business on the field is hard enough. And the truth is that most contractors just don’t have the time or energy to focus on other parts of their company like sales or marketing.
This leads to contractors struggling with finding work. It’s because they haven’t set up a good system to get construction leads, close leads, and then use those sales to generate more leads.
Here’s how to start getting as many jobs as you want, on autopilot.
Online Lead Gen
Online lead generation for construction companies means advertising on social media, email, Google, and paid lead generation services.
Generating leads online allows you to hit thousands of people in your area with sales pitches all at the same time.
Every online platform to do your lead generation is different and should be treated differently.
Let’s go through the main ones.
This is mainly for remodeling contractors or anyone working in residential a lot, as social media is where all the homeowners interested in hiring you are hanging out.
To get leads on social media on autopilot, you’re going to need to give gifts away.
I always hear the “But Daniel, what gifts do I even give away?,” or “What does that even mean?” comments when I mention this to contractors but let me explain.
This gift is called a lead magnet, and it is an irresistible free chunk of value that people need to put in their contact info to receive.
This can be something like a PDF titled:
- “6 Secrets Kitchen Remodelers Keep from You”, or
- “18 Signs Your Remodeling Contractor Is Wasting Your Time and Money”
Anything that really provides genuine value to the average homeowner scrolling through Facebook on his lunch break.
Here’s an example of a lead magnet by Timothy Sykes.
Having a free gift like this on social media will attract leads to your company like crazy, especially since very few other residential contractors are doing this.
Once all your leads start coming in, you can begin the process of actually closing the sale, which I’ll show you exactly how to do later.
Email is very simple; you’re reaching out to other contractors and hitting the nail right on the head with a persuasive sales pitch for business.
To do this, you need:
- A list of emails to contact for business
- A software to mass email them
- A powerful email that makes people respond, or better yet, pick up the phone and call you.
Remember, we’re not trying to close any sales just yet, at this stage in the process we’re just trying to generate good, reliable leads.
A good rule of thumb to understand when cold-emailing to get leads is to only talk about what you can do for them, instead of talking about your company itself.
“We’ve done many projects just like this and we’ve never given a client a headache.”
“Hi, I’m with ABC Construction, we’ve been around for 20 years, we started in east Ohio…”.
Which company would you rather do business with?
When it comes to cold-emailing people for leads, other contractors are extremely busy, checking their phones for a mini break just to be interrupted by a worker not wearing his hard hat, or someone doing the job wrong, you know how it is.
Don’t waste their time, get straight to the point with a short and sweet persuasive message that makes them interested enough to reach out to you.
About 70,000 searches are processed in Google every second. That’s a lot of people all looking for information at the same time.
How many of those people are in the construction industry?
As a construction company, if you’re not trying to go all out on Google and be seen by potential clients, you’re missing out on hundreds of opportunities every day to make more money.
So, now that you understand that it’s important, let’s get to the part where I tell you how to make money with it.
Here’s the thing with Google, there are 2 ways to get put on the map for people to see you, pay with money, or pay with time.
We want you to start getting results now, so if you want results on Google fast, you’re going to need to invest some money.
Start looking in to and making some Google Ads and getting your name out there, and if you don’t know exactly how to do it or you just don’t have the time to try, there are tons of agencies out there that would be willing to set this all up for you.
Many times, spending money on an agency’s help actually saves money in the long run, because it helps you avoid costly mistakes you would’ve done on your own.
So, I actually recommend hiring an agency to help you set up your Google Ads, and then watching your leads explode.
Paid Lead Generation Services
These are sites like iSqFt, The Blue Book, Building Connected, where Developers and Architects are connected to General Contractors, and where General Contractors can be connected with Subcontractors.
(Bluebook has a search feature to find good companies in your area)
This is the ultimate way to go if you’re trying to blow up your lead generation, this gives you all you need.
Remember that before bidding for anyone using these websites, you must get into contact with a decision-maker and introduce yourself.
If you don’t do this, and you’re just a random company contributing to the bid list, you’ll most likely only be used to get better pricing from your competitors.
Offline Lead Gen
To generate leads offline you’re going to have to get in the trenches and talk to people, a lot.
The strategy I AM Builders teaches our clients involves making a master list of different types of clients and visiting each one. One-by-one.
Very time-consuming, I know, it’s what I used to do when I was a project superintendent, and trust me, it worked like you wouldn’t believe.
Set up a schedule to visit at least 4-5 potential clients a week. Introduce yourself and introduce them to your company, offer budget pricing for projects they have in-progress.
If you really don’t have the time to go and visit potential clients, then try to give them a call instead, any form of communication works, but in-person does work best.
This can take up a lot of your precious time every week, but it will be worth it when the relationships you form result in sales, and better yet, referrals. (More on that later).
A Sales Process to Convert Those Leads
So now we have all the lead generation methods you need to capture leads, but now we need to actually close them, and I’m going to show you exactly how.
It starts with your bidding and estimating process.
Here’s a pro tip, winning bids comes down to 2 things:
- How easily the owner can afford the project
- Your perceived value compared to other bidders
Projects that the owner can easily afford are going to be more value-based instead of price-based and are much more likely to get built.
So, what you’re going to want to do is filter through all the leads you generated using the above strategies and find the projects that are more likely to be built on value.
How do you determine that? By looking for signs in the plans. Economy-design, finish selection, small project, simple-drawn plans are all examples of clients tight on their budget and will likely hire the lowest bidder.
When there are higher-level finishes, and plans with more details than usual, this shows that the client probably has money to spend on their project and wants the best for it.
Prioritizing these kinds of projects can save you a lot of time and make you more money.
This is why I stress meeting clients before you bid on projects. If you combine that with filtering out duds for projects that are value-based, you remove a lot of time-wasters and now you can focus more of your efforts on jobs that produce results.
After that, you need to build up your perceived value compared to other bidders.
If you’re a General Contractor, I’d recommend you start out by offering free budget pricing to architects in the design phase, in exchange for being involved in the project, meeting the client, and being the main bidder at the end of the design phase.
If you’re a Subcontractor, I’d recommend you start by bidding high to cover the discount GCs always ask for, then estimate for future change orders in the project, and use historical budget pricing.
Doing these things lets you stand out from everyone else and secure more bids for your construction company. And if you really want to secure even more bids, then go the extra mile and follow up with the decision-makers every once in a while to keep your name in their mind.
At this point, you would have leads pouring in, be bidding on quality projects, and closing them. Now it’s time to follow up with clients and build relationships that will result in business in the future.
A Follow-Up System that Gives Unlimited Referrals
This is the bread and butter to marketing your construction company.
And it’s also the one I see most people ignoring.
Understand that nobody wants to do business with a stranger, they want someone they know and can trust to get the job done. Following up with clients does exactly that.
You’re always going to want to diversify who you get most of your work from, but having 4 to 5 clients that give you consistent, repeat work is a fantastic foundation for your construction business.
You can do this through email, phone calls, or in-person meetings.
Set up a CRM (Customer Relations Manager) tool to automatically email your clients.
We use Zoho in our office, but there are plenty of fantastic CRMs out there that you can use to consistently mass email large groups of people and organize your leads.
Your CRM can also help you manage following up through phone call, giving you a list of phone numbers to call and at what times to do so.
It can benefit you to also put a project manager to do this for you, as making phone calls one after the other can be very tedious.
But for the best possible results try to keep things consistent.
This is the most powerful follow-up and also the most time-consuming.
This means going to their office, visiting their job sites, even inviting clients to lunch. Anything that cements your standing with those contractors.
Remember that most developers would rather spend more money on contractors they know and trust, than save a little bit working with someone they’ve never met.
Following up with clients in this way allows their skepticism to fall dramatically and lets them trust your company, and in a tough industry like construction, that’s valuable.
It’s so valuable that when someone trusts you, they give you more work, and better yet, refer you to other clients who have work for you.
There you have it. That’s the overview of how to get more clients, close more clients, and grow your construction company.
You can read article after article about this stuff, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to whether or not you’re willing to put in the work.
The strength of these strategies is that they’re grounded in just talking to people and forming relationships. That’s why it’s so powerful.
So enough reading, go out and make some phone calls with potential clients!
Have an interesting take on this piece? Feel free to leave a comment down below.