Business success

5 tips for building stronger relationships in the construction industry

September 12, 2021
minute read

The recent lockdown has really reinforced the importance of good client and supplier relationships to the construction industry. Turning information around, working in conditions where health is at risk and needing to work as a team to find a solution (and quickly), is all made so much easier when you're working with people that you can rely on.

And when things get tough, the hard situations are made easier when you've got good communication and trust. In an industry like construction, where we each rely on the other to do their part, our success is often down to the relationships we build and nurture.

Building and maintaining relationships can be very rewarding and beneficial to all involved. A good working relationship allows a person or company to demonstrate professionalism, credibility, and trustworthy qualities. In turn, this experience will influence the reputation passed on from both customers and suppliers.

Thalia and Equipt sales team

A positive reputation will encourage word of mouth referrals – the best type of marketing a company can have!  

It's not something we commonly talk about in our industry, but relationship building isn't just for after-work drinks and BBQs. To get you started, here are 5 steps that I believe can help anyone start, manage and nurture a professional relationship:

  1. Starting the relationship or pursual of a relationship needs to be a positive experience from the beginning. In my role as a Business Development Manager, the start of a relationship is often a fair bit of chasing and looking for an opportunity where I can display the qualities of the company. For yourself, this will be the same when tendering for work. Manage the comms – set up reminders/tasks, ensure you are providing valuable information, ask for the opening.

  2. Follow through on what you’ve promised and how you’ve ‘sold’ yourself. Make sure to deliver what was promised in the time frame advised. Providing a time frame is a great way to let the customer know they will be hearing from you again soon and to stay in contact.

    When you do get in touch, ensure you communicate clearly and are tailoring your communication to the person you're trying to connect with. For example, an owner-operator will likely be very busy and need information delivered succinctly and without a lot of noise, bullet points are often appreciated and the information to answer their queries directly.  

    This communication should also match the personality. If they're not big on using their phone, text or email them to try and arrange a call and don't leave a lot of messages or texts out of the blue.

  3. Establish ongoing communication and keep it. Obviously, try not to overwhelm anyone but don't forget your part in the relationship either. Staying in contact promotes a feel-good factor and sustains the connection. If you can, use a CRM tool to keep a record of interaction so that this aspect and the health of the relationship can be monitored.

  4. Successful Establishment. Once you've started working together and have successfully established a working relationship, it's important to check in for feedback and make sure that the lines of communication are open.

    Once you’ve had a successful exchange of services follow up. Make sure to check the promises and expectations have been met.

  5. Relationships are dynamic and need regular nurturing. One of the most common reasons for the deterioration of any relationship is the perception of being taken for granted.

Maintaining relationships is just as important as the initial building of the relationship. Trust is something that needs to be fostered. Keeping in contact, even a more casual than work focused contact, with these clients in between projects will increase the likelihood of more work coming your way and is the most cost-effective form of marketing.  

Schedule contact to prompt a call or email where appropriate, offering opportunities for social interaction. Again, ensure to record interactions, this can be referred back to in future communications.  

Above all, ongoing communication ensures there are no surprises for the client. It is here that the value of trust comes into it. Where a strong relationship exists, the customer is less likely to push blame and more likely to work positively to find a resolution.

It can take time to build these relationships and certainly required maintenance however it can be a cost-effective process that can massively contribute to efficiency. Misunderstandings cost time and money, a good relationship can often be quicker and easier to provide solutions.  

Great customer service is contagious. You may have the perfect product or service but unless you nurture the relationship and provide good and honest service it can lead to a shallow relationship and may not encourage the loyalty to grow. Hearing positive reviews and referrals are a sure sign that you are delivering the whole package.

For more tips and on growing your business, subscribe to our blog and if you're looking for Civil and Access Machinery experts that you can trust - get in touch today.

Stay safe out there NZ!

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