Selling an Experience
Years ago, when I was the editor of a national trade publication covering the business of casinos and gambling industry, I had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of marketing professionals about a variety of topics over an eight-year span. During those conversations, a common theme emerged — casinos that enjoyed the most success were the ones that excelled at selling an experience.
You see, the slot machines and table games – they’re pretty much the same from one casino to the next. The chairs? The same. The free booze that’s handed out on the gaming floor? The same. So what the casino properties have to do to set themselves apart is sell an experience. Casino A will entice with the promise of a five-star meal at its swank steak house, followed by tickets to a Broadway-style show. Casino B might make the patrons feel like they’re at home, or a close relative’s house, with first name greetings for everyone, a special (and desirable) gift for everyone who joins its players club. Meanwhile, Casino C might appeal to the hip and ultra-cool jet-setters with high velocity nightclubs, and movie-style table game pits where one can feel “seen.”
The point is, it’s the experience that brings people back time and time again — with the ultimate goal, of course, of getting them to gamble in the casino. Though the business of a construction company is not at all like the day-to-day operations of a casino, the tactics of selling an experience can still be aptly applied — and with measurable, positive results.
As with the bare offerings of a casino, a construction job is typically characterized by the same things each time — a team of qualified professionals using the same materials, tools and equipment to build a project as the next contractor down the street. So what separates you from competitors? It’s the experience. It’s making the client not just satisfied, but thrilled. It’s keeping the project fresh, exciting and free from frustration. It’s constant communication. And, it’s delivering a finished product that exceeds expectations.
So how do you improve the construction experience you offer? Here are three key areas to focus on:
Be Engaging, Responsive and Collaborative
Everyone on your project team — whether in the field or back in the office — should treat the client like they would a friend or close family. Cheerful intonation in physical communications, positive messaging in emails and prompt, relevant replies when documents or tasks are needed can make lasting impact on your organization’s reputation. This may sound like window dressing, but first impressions really do make a difference. And these impressions, whether first, third or twentieth can strongly influence whether clients want to engage with you again. Remember that your clients are not just the folks funding your project work. They’re the key to your success and growth.
No one likes to wait for an answer, so don’t leave your clients hanging. They won’t like it. They’ll like it even less if they’re flat-out ignored. Designate someone to facilitate communication and be the point person to connect with. Ensure that all questions are answered, issues resolved, etc. Consider modern technologies (mobile apps and devices, interactive portals and integrated, cloud-based software) to help improve communication and expedite action items.
Drive Efficiency, Productivity and Innovation
When questions are asked, issues arise or status reports and data are requested during your project, having technologies and processes in place that quickly and painlessly address these needs will go a long way toward guaranteeing a good client experience. Consider construction management software that leverages the cloud to provide real-time data and automated workflows to streamline processes. When deployed properly and entire project teams using, these software packages can significantly improve collaboration, while reducing unnecessary or redundant work. This keeps your project teams focused on the end goal rather than jumping through unnecessary hoops. And it provides the ability to provide instant answers for your clients.
Keep documentation handy at all times by using document imaging and a collaborative document and project management solution. Industry-leading construction ERP solutions will have these features built into their platforms, providing the ability to attach digital records directly to data so you can pull up documentation in seconds rather than searching for it for hours.
Your company’s positive reputation is not determined overnight, it is built over time and through experience. Unfortunately, the opposite is not as true — a negative reputation can result from even one blown project or bad interaction or poor review. So make sure that you’re not just meeting, but exceeding expectations. Strive to get each job done sooner than your deadline. And aim for it to come in on or (more preferably) under budget.
Keep the client looped into discussions at all times and explain changes as they happen. Actively show them ways they can save money, while improving the end product. Pay attention to details, don’t cut corners, and double and triple check work to ensure that you’re providing the best possible product. And if there is any part of the project your client is not thrilled with, do whatever it takes to find a solution that appeals rather than simply appeases.
When it comes to winning more work and developing long-lasting client relationships, it’s the experience that matters. So, sell your teams on building positive experiences and continually look for new ways to improve.
Want to learn more about how leveraging the latest construction technologies can help deliver a better experience — both for your clients and your own bottom line? Contact Viewpoint today to embark on your personal construction technology journey.