I want to tell you a story. A story that will resonate with many of you – especially if you are a Contractor. But before that (and I’m stating the obvious) here, you will already know that the lifeblood of your Small M&E, Building Services or FM Business is getting new Sales leads – right? Well you would think so! the fact is way too many Businesses rely on their existing contacts to provide them with a regular flow of work. – So here is the story.
The complacency of M&E businesses and their reliance on work from a particular supplier can change in a heartbeat. Take the example of the recent acquisition of Arthur McKay by Servest. One of my new clients was a specialist supplier to Arthur McKay, and had been receiving a steady flow of work – worth around 600K p.a. for many years. With the recent purchase however that stopped almost immediately because of the supply chain used by Servest. Therefore my client had to ask themselves – where are my sales leads?
They had lost out on all that 600K of regular work which they had been relying on. (Which is why we have been brought in to get them new opportunities.)
In this instance (because they didn’t have any in-house Sales or Marketing people), we couldn’t suddenly expect them to become Sales & Marketing experts overnight nor to get any new Sales opportunities in the short-term either. Change is happening all the time. Who knows if a new MD, Contract Manager or Purchasing system will affect your business in the future.
Does this sound familiar? So what can be done to get a regular steady flow of new Sales leads? The M&E businesses that take a pro-active approach to getting new sales will probably have their full time employed Sales & Marketing salespeople (and yes they will probably be expected to do a bit of both) to do that for them. Often the Business owner will take on that responsibility themselves.
However as a seasoned M&E Sales/Marketer myself – I know it’s always a good idea to keep abreast with new processes and methods as well as receiving timely reminders to refresh those tips that have been used before.
I know there are a ton of endless resources available, especially the ones that want you to sign-up for this piece of software, download a free book, join a webinar, take a course, make sure you use social media (even though you can’t get your head around it!) etc. etc.
I’m sure many of you have seen and possibly tried one or more of those – I know I have. Personally I like to use Salesforce quite a bit mainly because they have some quick and easy to digest/implement proven tips and have a great set of resources that business can use.
Probably the most underused Social media platform that you absolutely must use is LinkedIn. The reason why? Simply because in the B2B world it’s the place where your M&E and Facilities clients hang-out. There are loads of your customers there and they are always on the lookout for new and interesting information. But please don’t just self-preach about how great you are and don’t keep putting up pictures of your great projects that you are involved with!
Most people are just sharing that stuff with their peers – who actually don’t really care. What you should be doing is getting active in other Group discussions, and the keyword there is Groups.
You need to join the LinkedIn Groups that your customers will be in, not the ones where your mates, work colleagues or peers are in, and you need to be actively participating in those Groups by starting new Discussions/Topics with valuable insights, comments or occasionally challenging others views/ideas in these Groups.
Our experience in working across most M&E Business types is they seem to struggle with what, when and how to say things or even having the time to do it. Which is why we do it for them! However if you are involved in Sales and do want some advice on how do it properly then check this out.
We also thought whilst we are on the subject of giving you some great tips is to link to some information that has been well written before. After all whats the point of just regurgitating someone else’s articles? So on the subject of Sales Tips this is relevant.
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