It can be challenging to stand out from your competitors in any business, but it’s especially hard in the construction industry. With local, national, and even international firms vying for bids, success depends on setting yourself apart from the competition. While word of mouth can help, it only gets you so far, and people won’t recommend you without good reason.
Thankfully, there are concrete steps you can take to build a reputation that drives more commercial construction bids. Here are five tips to help you compete:
Tip One: Develop a Specialty
Few people will hire a generalist over a specialist. That’s why your business can become highly competitive by leveraging your experience in a particular type of building, architectural style, neighborhood, or industry – whichever category makes you the best among the rest
While general contracting is a specialty, look for even tighter niches. For example, focusing on general contracting for warehousing is more appealing to potential customers than being a general contractor for all types of builds.
Tip Two: Go the Extra Mile
Getting a good reputation and staying ahead of the competition means you must go beyond making customers satisfied – they should be impressed. Don’t stop at simply finishing the project. Go the extra mile to make them feel genuinely valued. For example:
- Invite them to “complete” the project by turning a final ceremonial screw or hammering a final nail (with cameras at the ready). You can also do the reverse at the beginning of the project and have them “break ground” with a shovel, alongside any other stakeholders they wish to invite.
- Do a videotaped walkthrough of the finished project with them.
- If you’ve finished ahead of schedule, document that accomplishment with a plaque or certificate that you present to the client – ideally, after the final nail has been hammered in.
- Interview the client once the project is completed and ask to use the video on your website. This is excellent promotional material for you, serves as a testimonial, and makes them feel honored.
- Send an office-warming gift to your client after they’ve started using the space (if they are the ones occupying it). This doesn’t have to be anything special – a big tray of donuts and a card is usually an excellent choice– but a case of champagne or a painting of the building can be a worthwhile investment for even stronger business relationships.
- Offer a “satisfaction guaranteed” policy; make a checklist of all the requirements for the customer’s satisfaction and take it on the walkthrough so they can verify that they’re happy with the end product.
Whatever way you celebrate your customers, highlight recognition and events on your website and in any promotional or marketing materials. Promoting those extra touches will make it clear that you are a strong business partner who appreciates customers, which goes a long way in helping you set yourself apart from your competitors.
Tip Three: Treat People the way You Want to be Treated
It may sound obvious but being nice is a straightforward way to stand apart from the competition. Even in the New York region, everyone prefers doing business with good-hearted people.
Being nice isn’t difficult. Treating people the way you want to be treated is the Metro way. Say please and thank you often. Don’t complain about people behind their backs. Offer to help with small things when you can.
Most of all, get to know everyone on the team and treat them like you would treat the person in charge. Pay attention to receptionists, security guards, elevator operators, dock masters, and administrative assistants. Nice people are friendly to everyone. (And rude people eventually get payback, even if they know it.)
Tip Four: Work on Your Online Reputation
For better or worse, the days are long gone when word of mouth was enough for commercial contractors to find clients. Nowadays, your online presence is critical.
- Clean up Your Website. Start improving your online presence by cleaning up your website. You wouldn’t meet potential clients in a grungy office with a broken sign outside, so your website shouldn’t look neglected either. Make sure your website reflects your firm’s professionalism, success, and attention to detail.
- Take Advantage of Social Media. Creating a social media presence for your company is a savvy business move – that’s why your competition is doing it. Having accounts on a few social media platforms (especially those your target clientele prefers) is essentially free advertising. It’s one more place for potential customers to hear about your business.
- Create a Google Business Profile. You want to be visible to prospects looking for commercial contractors on Google. Creating a free Google My Business enhances your business in searches. The account allows you to instantly edit and display panel information like business hours, products and pricing, and much more.
- Encourage Online Reviews. When considering a new product or service, Google Reviews is the first place customers go to check credibility and performance. Google compiles a company’s reviews and creates an average rating that becomes part of the business profile. That rating automatically displays whenever a profile is shown in search results. Reviews are often polarized between outstanding and bad experiences. That’s why it’s wise to remind all your satisfied clients to leave a review. Good reviews improve your average rating. The more reviews you accumulate, the more customers trust you over the competition.
- Get References. Posting detailed references and testimonials on your company’s website is another excellent way to improve your credibility. This is a chance for you to highlight your best work and show off a bit, so don’t be afraid to lead with your most significant projects and most authoritative clients.
Tip Five: Keep Your Promises
Managing expectations is an essential part of keeping clients happy. One way to keep your word is to avoid over-promising. This can be difficult when you’re trying to keep up with competitors that will happily over-promise and under-deliver, but you will build a reputation that puts you above them in the long run.
Of course, keeping promises is much easier if you have a good team behind you. When your employees, vendors, and distributors take deadlines seriously, you can be confident that you can meet your clients’ deadlines and deliverables. At Metro, we deliver on time. We keep our promises. We are honest, upfront, and develop value engineering solutions when cost or supply chain issues make building materials unavailable.
Want to Learn More?
Competing for commercial construction jobs in the New York City area is tough, so you want to give yourself every advantage. Try these five strategies to help your firm rise above the rest, and contact us if you want to learn more about how Metro can help you build a sterling reputation with your clients.
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