An interesting question arose in a conversation yesterday about whether it’s best to withhold your competitive secrets until after a sale is made, or if you should give your knowledge away freely.
A huge part of construction marketing is the sales process. Your salesman (for many of you, you are your only saleman) should be well versed in your marketing process, because business development is the essence of marketing.
Personally, I’ve found that the more people I help, the more clients I get. This means going into an appointment or a meeting with the mindset of “I will do my best to steer this person down the right path.” If I focus on “sales” I lose. If I focus on adding value with no expectation of reciprocation, I usually win.
When I go into a meeting with a prospect, I try to act as an advisor, treating him like I would my best friend or a family member. I often say things like, “Even if you end up hiring someone else to do this, make sure they do X, Y, and Z. Because otherwise you might not get the best results.”
I say things like, “If this was my own project, I would do it this way because XYZ. Make sense? I would be happy to walk you through the process if you have more questions.”
I am free flowing with my information. I will sit down with a prospect for an hour or two and spill everything I can in that amount of time. You might think it’s crazy for me to do this, but the whole point of this process is to build trust.
If a prospect doesn’t trust you, then you are sunk. (Especially in the construction industry, right my friend?)
Also, I know the real value I bring to the table is what I can do for a client, not what I can tell him in a two hour meeting. If a client could learn how to do my online marketing process by himself in two hours, then I really don’t have a valuable service, now do I?
The same is true for a construction project. If a homeowner is trying to take advantage of you by milking you for information so he can do the project himself, ask yourself this question: Could you teach a novice how to remodel in a two hour meeting? Of course not. So I propose that the fear of giving away the farm for free is unwarranted here.
Also, you can usually screen out the tire kickers before you waste time doing a house call, right?
Let’s cut to the chase: Some people are very tight lipped about their “trade secrets” and think it’s best to play their cards close to their chest. I understand this mindset. But for me, I’ve found that the more people I help, the more new clients end up finding me. And I think being a free flowing resource is a great way for you to achieve the same results.
It all boils down to helping people. If you help enough people accomplish their goals, your marketing will take care of itself.
Your thoughts? I’d love to hear other opinions on this issue.