Pictures are my number one sales tool. Every contractor says he's the best, fastest, and most cost effective when speaking with a prospective client. Let your work - your pictures - speak for you and set you apart from the competition. I have two portfolios I carry with me on sales calls. One book contains 200 to 300 4x6 photos that represent a very comprehensive collection of our work. The other is 30 to 40 pages of 8x10 photos of our best work and photo quality. This one helps cut to the chase quickly when you're not given much time.
The greatest marketing tool our firm has produced is a disk that plays a slide show of our work set to music. This runs between 100 and 120 photos that fade and scroll from one to another for about 5 minutes. There are intro slides with our company info over a close-up shot of some interesting detail of our work. We close with encouraging words inviting prospective clients to have their project next on our disk. We print a professional quality label for the disk and cover for the box that holds the disk. We even created a back cover highlighting the job names and locations of the projects contained on the disk. As new projects are completed, and photos become available, we can edit these in and create a new volume for the disk collection. I have experienced times where our disk alone has closed the deal.
I find it best to call on design professionals who are known to appreciate concrete. These are the people that will design your work into a project, so you will want to keep in touch with them. Creating a new volume for your CD collection is a good excuse to visit these contacts and keep your firm on their mind for upcoming projects. We will also be working toward an e-mail newsletter to be sent out three or four times a year.
Home owners are my next best contact. These are generally people who have done a lot of research and have a great appreciation for our craft. Residential can be a fun market since you're working directly with the decision maker. This is also a prime market for upselling once they learn what is possible with concrete.
Home builders catering to higher end homes are also great contacts to maintain. On the other hand, I find commercial general contractors to be much less productive. This is the low-bid market, where there are no extra credit points for artistic impression.