In a time of social distancing and even quarantine, it is no surprise that business development activity is taking a long pause. Our clients have closed doors, conferences have canceled and leads meetings at your local coffee shop are no longer an option. Things are quiet and that will be the new normal indefinitely.
The break in socialization is creating a ripple effect on our economy. One that we have seen before. The AEC industry is one of the more vulnerable to negative impact. The slow-down of project opportunities, halt in current construction and loss of funding for institutions with projects in design is something unfortunately familiar.
What does this mean for business development professionals and seller-doers? It is time to get creative. Use social media, phone calls and emails to remain relevant and visible to your clients. This slow period will allow you to be more authentic with your outreach. Focus on lead source generators (i.e. Onvia, Blue Book Construction) and media outlets to gather leads and information.
This is not a time to be reactive. Most AEC firms will begin looking at the bottom line, limiting overhead, and quietly waiting to follow the lead of their competitors. Prepare for the recovery. Start with a SWOT analysis, do a full audit using your existing data (see bullets) and develop a business development plan tailored to long-term goals.
For example, a business development audit can consist of the following…
- Target Audience/Clients
- Vertical Markets
- Industry Participation/Organization Memberships
- Annual Conferences/Events
This is a time for thoughtful positioning and strategic planning. This is when business development truly becomes an asset. The firms that will survive are those that take a proactive approach to maintaining clients. The firms that will thrive are those that keep the momentum in line with growth.