Defining Your Target Market

I often ask construction company leaders who their target market is. Usually they stare back. Their focus is on operations and getting the jobs built that they have. Unfortunately, a good portion of their time should be spent on getting new work. If the leader determines that he has the skill set to get new work, he has to devote enough time to properly chase the right jobs. There is a process of determining what work to chase and where it usually is.
Your target market is the list of clients and prospects that you want to build for. You need to create a list of target clients that includes their name, company, phone number, address, your contact, last contact date and follow up date. This sounds easy but most don’t do it. Most leaders don’t have a list of key clients and prospects that they can refer to regularly to see how they are doing at developing those relationships.
To begin to define you target market requires some questions to be answered. First, what have you been successful building in the past? Specifically, what have you made the most money on? Of these jobs, which ones have the least risk to you at this point? Do any of the Owners and Developers have repeat work you are interested in and can do? What I mean by can do is “can you build the project with the resources you have under the conditions the project will be under?” If the answer is no then what are the costs and requirements for you to endure to get these type projects, assuming you want them.
Next you need to define your area of operations… your fish bowl. How big is it and how much potential work is in it. I tell leaders sometimes that there isn’t enough work in their fish bowl for them to hit their numbers and going to unchartered waters can be necessary and dangerous but there are ways to reduce risk. The risk goes up if you are taking on a project with an owner you don’t know, signing a contract you aren’t comfortable with, are using subcontractors you don’t know, use a superintendent you just hired and don’t really know, are trying to build in an area with little labor, or any combination of the above. These are recipes for disaster and must be properly analyzed.
So you have your list of target clients written down. Next you need to determine who from your company is going to develop and maintain each relationship. Hopefully you had your key employees list who they knew and this is the first list you started with. If not that’s okay but it may take longer to get a good list going. Operations personnel, probably including yourself, have operations tasks pulling at them that use up their time. It takes upper management to require operations people to make calls and maintain relationships with the target market. I suggest having each project manager and office engineer keep up with no more than forty to forty-five people who are potential buyers or influencers. One call a day over a twenty day work month would produce twenty calls per month. In most cases you only need to call a prospect every other month to stay in contact with them. If you have five project managers who each have forty clients to maintain, that totals 200 clients. This divide and conquer method will result in many more leads for the average firm.

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