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Free Fall

Dear Dave
The Michigan economy has caught up with our firm, and our workload has bottomed out. We are civil engineers and surveys working predominately on residential site projects. In twenty five years we have never had to market ourselves, as we have been fortunate to have enjoyed long lasting relationships with a loyal group of builders and developers. Now it seems price is everything for what little work there still is. What do we do now?

Dear KL
There is no quick fix. You’ve arrived at your current state not just because of the frail Michigan economy, but more insidiously and long term is the fundamental way many businesses are heading – where price is increasingly trumping long-term relationships. With a diminished amount of work available, your choices are limited to extending new lines of services to existing clients, finding new clients by taking market share away from others, or moving to a new geographic market. The key to any of these is effectively marketing in order to generate a greater quantity of higher quality opportunities to make sales.

Especially so in a consulting firm, effective marketing is not the job of specific individuals over defined periods of time, but rather the full time application of the key principles of marketing by everyone at your firm at all times. To thrive, you need to ingrain a marketing culture at your firm. This involves awareness, then training, then the consistent application of marketing practices until they feel completely natural and are second nature to all. It will take time, but in the long run you will be better for the effort.

Wahby and Associates