While I’ve been managing projects at Sain Associates for more than 25 years, I’ve also led our marketing and business development efforts for about 16 years. I love the marketing side of my job, because I enjoy building relationships, talking with people and helping people however I can.
The main goal of marketing is to find new customers and clients and to maintain existing relationships. Over the years, I’ve worked with a lot of people and seen how they do business. This has led me to create my own ideas and philosophies about how to market a business.
Here are 10 pieces of advice that have been helpful in my experience. I keep these ideas and guiding principles in mind every day at Sain Associates:
- Look at business relationships first by how you can help someone else be successful. This reflects the values of our company to help other people.
- People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. This is one of my favorite laws from John Maxwell’s book 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Caring about other people reflects my spiritual beliefs and guides our professional practice.
- Be involved in civic organizations, professional organizations, and ministries that allow you to give back to the community. My involvement in American Society of Civil Engineers, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, and being Chapel Representative for Birmingham Barons and other ministries has helped me to grow as a leader and hopefully to be a better person.
- Treat events for clients, customers and colleagues as very important. Events create visibility for the company, provide networking opportunities, and create good will. In the past year, Sain Associates held a 40th Anniversary Fish Fry and a New Office Open House. Both events were a lot of fun and invaluable from a marketing perspective.
- Become a thought leader or expert in your industry by speaking at events and sharing your knowledge online. I can’t say enough about our social media program that involves blogging, electronic newsletters and social media. It has really raised awareness of Sain in the marketplace. Everywhere I go, people mention it. Sharing about the technical and personal side of Sain Associates really helps people learn more about us, what we value and what’s important to us.
- Work hard to have your services valued rather than seen as a commodity. Differentiate your service or character as unique to your client. For example, several years ago we started doing access management studies with our traffic engineering group. Today, our staff members are well known in the industry for our work.
- Be the most accessible person in your office. This is always my goal. I try to return phone calls within two hours and answer e-mails within the same day I receive them. I’ve had clients tell me they give me business because they know they can reach me.
- Don’t send an email when you need to talk with someone. When in doubt, you probably need to talk face-to-face or over the phone.
- When hiring staff, remember that the person’s character can be more important than their skills. We are blessed with a great staff at Sain, and they are vitally important to our business.
- Always thank people for their business. And when seeking new business, always ask for the job.
Ultimately, I recommend looking at business relationships and marketing opportunities first by how you can help others. I think it’s more common to ask what you can get out of other people instead of how you can serve them. It may be a different way of thinking about marketing, but it has been very successful for us at Sain Associates.
Sain Associates, Inc., is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Cullman, Alabama, Pulaski, Tennessee and Mandeville, Louisiana. Sain is a site engineering, traffic/transportation engineering and planning and land surveying firm with experience in more than thirty states.