Beyond the Build

Customer Relationships

Traditional Contact: Powerful. But To Stay Top-of-Mind, You Need More

When I met with a commercial real estate professional this week, we opened our conversation with the standard  “Well, how is your business?” He said his problem is missing opportunities between connects. The rule in their company is to make contact with their prospects every 6 months. The problem? If a prospect has an opportunity in the interim, he is likely to do business with the last broker he hears from. The business is lost.

Staying connected is more important now than ever. Here’s what we do to keep up with our 1800+ relationships:

Blog. Twice a week, we post to this blog. Sometimes it’s specific to the construction industry. Sometimes we talk about more general leadership items. We always aim to be a trustworthy source.

Twitter. Daily, we share our blog posts and a few relevant articles I run across. What we like most is the open forum for conversations. We’ve met some great new contacts.

Direct mail. Every other month, we feature a project or a core value. We combine that with cool photography and a short but powerful message and deliver a unique piece via snail mail.

Email newsletter. Once a month, I send out an email featuring our latest blog posts and a few words about the industry from my point of view.

We perform all this in a non-intrusive manner, sharing what we are thinking but without asking that the phone be picked up. It’s mixed in with face-to-face visits, lunches, dinners and phone calls, but our outreach helps us leverage our time effectively.

In a couple of weeks, Stewart Perry is bringing Chris Brogan to Birmingham for the annual Green Building Focus, a tremendous event. How did I learn about Chris? Through his blog posts, which I receive every morning. Although I have never met Chris, I feel like I know him. My hope is that our relationships feel the same way about us through our posts. What you see is what you get. Transparency is the goal.

This new connectivity strategy can be overwhelming. I compare it to standing on the beach and watching the waves come in, not knowing which wave to ride. When you start, wade in slowly and seek advice from those who are already in the water. If you are interested in learning more, I’d go over and visit our friends at Holland + Holland. Stephanie, Brittiny, and Sara Beth are good and will be glad to lend a listening ear.

How are you staying connected to maximize your opportunities?

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.