Phill Domask, President, The Phill Domask Consultancy.
Another week, another appropriate event cancellation. What follows is a small portion of what I would have shared during my construction-marketing presentation, ‘Embrace Emotion.’
A prevalent construction marketing myth states construction purchases are motivated by logic and reason. My experience suggests a different reality.
At construction’s core, prospects and customers ask construction professionals to put in trust one or more of an owner’s largest assets … land … vehicles or equipment … a home … a business … one or more investment properties.
Construction prospects and customers are emotionally invested in their projects – there is too much at stake for them to be dispassionate.
Research by Google, by Martin Lindsrom, and by others meshes with my experience and supports the assertion of Paul Cash, founder and Chief Rooster of Rooster Punk, a London-based marketing agency serving the technology and financial services industries: “Prospects and customers buy on emotion and justify with facts.”
Many construction professionals, including contractors, engineers, testing lab personnel, controllers, CAD operators, project and operation managers, technical representatives, and other persons of logic likely disagree with Paul.
But though the numbers vary slightly, study-to-study, research shows only 15% of the decision-making process is actually a conscious – let alone logical – act. The bulk of decision-making (85%) happens subconsciously, based on deeply-rooted, emotional motivations (trust, happiness, surprise, anticipation, fear, sadness, anger, or distrust).
Perhaps this is part of what Author/Educator Seth Godin had in mind when he shared in a 2017 blog post: “Every time you assume that others will be swayed by your logical argument, you’ve most likely made a significant, irrational mistake.”
Build Honest, Emotional Connections
No construction enterprise aims to be cold and faceless. But in the name of professionalism, many construction professionals stifle their natural passions for helping others succeed.
To be clear, I am not recommending your construction organization be less professional. What I am advocating is your organization muster the courage to embrace emotion … to share its human face with the marketplace.
How might you reveal the human face of your construction enterprise (and build honest, emotional connections with prospects, customers, and other enterprise stakeholders)? Here are some suggestions [use the comment section below to share ways your organization reveals its human face in the marketplace]:
- Employ a real person to greet visitors and answer phones during normal business hours. Best-selling author Harry Beckwith notes, “First impressions last, and great welcomes make particularly lasting impressions.”
- Use case studies to share real stories about how real people solved real construction challenges. Though the focus should be on real-life customer success, there are few better ways to demonstrate your firm’s humanity than through a well-crafted case study.
- Smile often – Smiling is the easiest and fastest way to make prospects and customers feel special. Fortunately – in the time of social distancing– smiles can, be implied … in your correspondence; within your website pages and social media platforms and posts; in your bids, proposals, invoices, and forms; across your sales support materials; and during phone calls.
- Share the human faces behind your enterprise by turning the spotlight on your employees and showing how they help customers succeed. Tell these stories on your website, in newsletters, on social media, and in your advertising and public relations campaigns.
- Publish and readily distribute (online and off-line) a company directory – the definitive listing of the construction professionals in your enterprise who love what they do and love to do it right. Update as needed – in real time – as changes occur in your company.
- Use real people for your company contact information – not the firstname.lastname@example.org contact standard used by your competitors (and the majority of construction industry enterprises).
- Make checking email, voice mail, and social media a company-wide priority and regularly and readily respond to inquiries and complaints.
- Add faces (literally, with photos) to your marketing and business communications, including on social media (no avatars allowed), in company directories, and on your website.
- Use names liberally – At every appropriate opportunity, acknowledge customers, employees, and other stakeholders by name. Always put bylines (your name, or an employee’s name, if you take a team approach to business communication) on social media updates, your blog posts, or on articles your company posts to LinkedIn’s In Publishing. Using real names makes your business communication and company more relatable.
- Be engaging – Write conversationally, go easy with jargon and buzzwords, and let your personality shine whenever you communicate.
- Participate (respectfully) in online groups and forums and respond to comments in a timely fashion.
Emotional ROI (5X |13X | 30X)
Construction is a connection business. Building emotional connections with your prospects and customers help power memorable experiences, purchase intent, pricing power, and opportunities for repeat and referral business.
What is the return on investment for mustering the courage to embrace emotion and sharing the human face of your construction enterprise?
Per a 2016 Google-sponsored study, prospects and customers with emotional connections to your enterprise are: Five times more likely to consider buying from you; 13 times more likely to purchase from you; and 30 times more likely to pay a premium for your construction product, installation, or service offerings.
Tom Peters has had a love affair (his words) with excellence throughout his career. In his latest book, The Excellence Dividend, Peters councils organizations to:
Focus on the human attributes … fully engaged employees providing personalized service that makes you smile as it is being delivered and creates fond memories that last. Excellence can be the was we live our lives, professional as well as personal, the way we support one another, particularly in difficult times. Excellence is the seemingly small acts that shout, ”We care,” and which linger in the memories of those we interact with – our own people, our communities, our suppliers, and our customers.
Embracing emotion focuses the human attributes Peters details above.
Sharing the human face of your construction enterprise provides solid return on investment. To profitably grow your organization, embrace emotion in your marketing and business communication.
Be healthy, be safe, be the light illuminating your marketplace.
Phill Domask, one of construction’s go-to-guys for marketing and business communication support.