Q: I have a small interior design and project management company, and lately business has been quite slow. Can you advise me how to best market my services? I'd like to concentrate more on commercial and industrial design, and project management. Our project scope capability is up to about $2 million. I'd appreciate any help you can give in regards to targeting.
A: To successfully woo and win your targeted accounts, you'll need to construct an ongoing program that includes marketing efforts combined with sales tactics that bring you into one-on-one contact with your best prospects. Begin by creating a profile of your ideal clients. If they're developers, decide where they're located, the approximate size of their firms, and what type of development projects they may be involved in. Then construct your own in-house prospect list. Don't confuse this with a direct-mail list that contains thousands of names. This is a list of several dozen companies you'll use on a daily basis as you follow the typical business-to-business contact sequence-call, mail, call.
Construct your list using business directories, trade association lists, information published on the Internet and trade magazines. To determine the names of the right contacts, decide the titles of the individuals in the targeted organizations who are most capable of making a buying decision. Then contact each company for the name of the person who fits that title.
Before making any calls to your list of prospects, create an interrelated family of tools that includes materials to send to prospects you contact by telephone. Print separate brochures, inserts or sell sheets for your design and property management services so you can customize each mailing to the needs of individual prospects. Develop polished presentation tools to use when your successful phone contacts result in meetings. Tools such as PowerPoint software with a portable computer, projector and screen are great for presenting your proposals and previous work.
As a part of your ongoing program, combine a direct-mail campaign targeting commercial developers with public relations placements in publications they read (not design publications read primarily by your peers). And don't overlook the importance of networking through associations and boards that bring you into direct contact with top prospects and allow you to build relationships over time.