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  • Writer's picturePeter Searle

Targeting commercial work

The many hats of a marketeer will be familiar to those who have worked as a trades person in the domestic market. They will be familiar with being advised to advertise, go networking, use social media in its many forms, providing content marketing, using search engine optimization, paying for pay per click, keeping in touch with newsletters, email campaigns, leaflet drops, telephone calling and so on. It’s a mine field for the trade’s person, but probably what works best is referral by happy customers. 


In the fullness of time, some trades people decide that they need to move their business on and decide that contracting is the way forward, but they do not know how to break into that market. As you are providing a service the same principles apply as they do in the domestic market. People buy from people and the first step is to get someone to agree to put you on a tender list or give you the opportunity to work for them. But the commercial market is the reverse of the domestic market. In the domestic market in normal economic times there are lots of customers, seeking a limited number of trades people to do the work. In the commercial market there are few clients, as the value of project is large, and therefore due to the scarcity of projects, compared to the domestic market, the clients do not have to find people to do the work, they get found by those seeking the work. The number of projects relatively speaking is so low, the clients do not even have to advertise to say they need contractors, initially it’s mainly done by word of mouth.   


Identifying who should be approached to seek to go on a tender list is usually done by a business development person. They will develop strategies for identifying people who are working in the segment of the market you are targeting. They will make contact with them and gradually build relationships to gain their trust so they will put you on the tender list. 


The first step in identifying who the individuals are to contact is by identifying the organisations they work for. There are commercial lead generation lists available from companies such as Barbour ABI, Glenigan, Planning Pipe or Builders Conference which can be used, and these will help propel your business development program. 


At each step of the business development process contacts will be made. Those contacts will seek confirmation of what is said and communicated to them. Your marketing collateral and digital footprint should support consistently what is said. This is where the skill of your marketeers comes in. The need to provide quality evidence which can be found easily when someone is looking for confirmation is another step in the process of building trust, so they begin to trust you ahead of putting you on the tender list.  


If you would like help transitioning from marketing to the domestic market to developing a business development strategy for the commercial market, please get in contact.   


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