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Attention SeekersMarketing for those of us in the construction industry continues to be very challenging. It is becoming more difficult to create attention seeking behaviour – of the right kind.

Everyone running a business today is vying for our attention because ‘attention seekers’ get the business? Well, yes and no! Let me explain.  Some people use attention seeking behaviour strategies to grab your attention. They do everything possible to get your attention but,  not always in the right way.

Unsocial Media

An example of this is when receiving a new follower on Twitter. I usually reciprocate but am disappointed when I receive a ‘please like me’ on Facebook request in their very next tweet. Even worse is when I then start receiving emails from them selling their product or service. If we are going to follow someone it is usually because what they are doing interests us or we might share something in common. I personally enjoy connecting with fellow South Africans.

If we are attention seekers then we need to pursue this aim with integrity. There are too many other commitments which demand our attention. We can  widen our network connections by moving beyond the superficial and unsociable and still generate more  ‘followers’ and ‘likes’

Procurement Portals

We have all subscribed to those ubiquitous construction portals which promise to give us leads for our business. There is a company which offers  a free county to you and then provides the opportunity for a paid upgrade with the promise of advertised leads. If you carefully research those leads you will often find they are miles out of your operational area. Be wise in responding to attention seeking portals.

CMM Tips“It is better to research all platforms or portals to see if they fit in to your  marketing plan before signing up for them.”

This type of attention seeking behaviour is unhelpful in an already cynical industry. So, how do we become attention seekers in the right way and as a result experience meaningful connections with people?

1.  Learn by Your Mistakes – Be who you really are!

People will find you interesting when you are you. How easy it is to criticise others when they get it  wrong. You only need to watch England lose at football and the media has a field day in criticizing every move made on the field. Real leaders are not afraid to make mistakes because they know that each mistake takes them closer to the right answer. That has been true of my social media journey. Mistakes are building blocks! Next time say hello to someone who follows you or respond to questions asked.

On site Meetings

You will be familiar with the construction site team meeting between all the relevant construction people when no one wants to accept responsibility for  something that has gone wrong. That attention seeking behaviour leaves us all frustrated and shows a real lack of integrity. It does not help the team move towards the goal of a successful project completion. Another form of wrong attention seeking or marketing behaviour.

Weakness is the new  strength

Most of us relate better to weakness than to strength. By that I mean if I talk about getting it wrong people say, “Oh! I’m glad you said that,” or “That makes me feel better.” That is how we learn. I often get things wrong  but try to deal honestly with the problem. Afterwards, I look back and think that this has been a good learning curve.

I respect  an Architect, Engineer, Quantity Surveyor any business person when they turn around and say, “I got it wrong!” We have unfortunately been trained in life that we must always  get it right. Well, getting it wrong is a necessary ‘growing pain’ that will make us better people and thankfully there are those who are prepared to walk that road.

“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be  wrong.” Peter McIntyre

2.  Put yourself in the place of your customer.

Doing that has all sorts of interesting ramifications but ultimately it will make for a better business experience for those buying from you. Become an attention seeker by actually putting your clients first. One of my clients uses the motto, ” client satisfaction is our aim, even if it costs us” And they are not  empty words because  I have seen  them back it up with positive action. The result? More people want to work with them because they are non-adversarial.

CMM small QuotesIn the words of Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

3.  Give your clients medicine.

Some of you might be thinking you would like to give one or two of your clients an overdose of something because they cause you too much pain.

However, using this metaphor, if they have a headache give them a paracetamol. By this I mean, if they take your advice and apply it within their business  they will end up being cured. If you aim to write a post about why a client who wants to self build needs an architect and a QS you will save potential clients a lot of heartache. The developer reading this values the advice and responds to your expertise. Full marks for being such a good attention seeker of the right kind!

4.  Make your marketing more realistic.

Have you read the Home page of most construction related websites? Well, they are mostly quite boring!  You know what I mean, “achieving construction excellence, well established, professional, commitment to quality, innovative, craftsmanship, passionate…” People usually write what they think we want to read. So, what happens? Because we are bombarded with words every single day we actually become insensitive to them eventually. They lose their power.

I want to talk more about this in another post. I’ll probably call it something like, “Why cheese and jam sandwiches are so important when appointing a building contractor.

Being personable

Recently, my friend and I were chatting about making his website more personable. He really enjoys what he does for a living but when he began to speak about something unrelated that he does in his spare time his face lit up like a beacon on a dark night. I suggested that he add that to his site and he agreed. People relate to genuine attention seekers.

Add something personable to your website. Something that people can relate to. Add photos or images to your post that underline what you are trying to say.

5.  Reciprocate where possible

Social media is all about being sociable. So, it is not primarily about having large numbers of followers, although some will have. It is about networking with others and reciprocating where possible on the various social media platforms. Being you, being honest and being sociable while all the time finding ways to be a genuine attention seeker is our challenge!

I would appreciate your help in my attention seeking behaviour by asking if you would please retweet this post. I would also like to get your honest response to this issue. Thank you.

See you soon….

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