Top Bloggers in the A/E/C Industry

On several occasions I have been asked for a list of the top marketing blogs in the A/E/C industry. Below is a list of the blogs and bloggers that I believe lead the industry.  I hope that many of these bloggers likewise consider Cofebuz an industry leader, yet as this blog is also read extensively outside of the A/E/C industry, I will leave that call to someone else.  In addition to being industry leaders in Web 2.0, these bloggers are on my “must read” list each week. I encourage you to check them out also:

Construction Marketing Ideas by Mark Buckshon

E-Quipblog by Mel Lester

Harding & Company by Ford Harding

PSMJ Resources by Ed Hannan (and others at PSMJ Resources)

Let me also add Help Everybody Everyday by Matt Handall. This is a new blog for the A/E/C industry, but on that I believe deserves placement in this list due to Matt’s success with Construction Netcast and his long history of excellent writing for Marketer and A/E Rainmaker.

A Final Note:

I don’t want to downplay some of the other great blogs in our industry.  Note that the list above was for marketing blogs. I also recommend checking out the SullivanKreiss blog, and I always enjoy the unique and fun SEI Design Group Blog.

The Digital Crutch

crutchesOn Wednesday this past week Ford Harding (the author of one of my favorite books “Rain Making” and the Harding & Company blog) spoke at the DC chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services. As we sat prior to Ford’s talk, I was amazed at the group that had gathered at the head table. In addition to Ford, multiple Web 2.0 experts from the industry, including Mark Buckshon (Construction Marketing Ideas) and Matt Handal (Construction Netcast and Help Everybody Everyday) were engaged in conversation.

I couldn’t help but note how interesting it was that Mark and Matt had taken the time to attend the event in Washington, D.C. Mark had flown in from Ontario Canada and Matt had taken the train from Philadelphia that morning. Each of them showed the importance they place on in-person communication in order to make their businesses succeed, even in light of their prominence in the Web 2.0 world.

The Digital Crutch

Many people I know use technology as a crutch, rather than a tool to build relationships. It is an easy and important form of communication, but what we can’t do is use digital communication to replace human interaction. Even the leading Web 2.0 experts in our industry know that in order to keep their relationships strong, nothing can replace in-person communication.

Are you limping?

Are you limping by with e-mails and a linkedIn account that isn’t focusing on the development of relationships? Perhaps it is time for you to step away from the computer and focus on in-person communication this week. 


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Defining Success

tree-in-palmAs a marketing professional I would have previously defined success as my ability to bring work in the door. Several years ago, I came to the conclusion that success did not come down to winning projects, but rather, it came down to relationships (through which you can also greatly increase your ability to win work). However, as I grow, I continue to learn and dig deeper into this idea of success.

Success for me
A light came on a couple of years ago when I was reading the networking chapter in Ford Harding’s book Rain Making. In that chapter he reminds us that networking is really just about helping other people. From this simple concept I have developed an approach to networking and life that I believe yields success. I summarized these thoughts in the post, Why Help Other People, when I wrote that “I believe that the best way to succeed in life, and business, is to help other people.  A life built around helping others will yield not just the joys of relationships, but also the sweet success of achieving your own goals.”

Your turn
My real question here is for you; how do you define success? I am working to refine my own thoughts on this topic and would appreciate your insights. At the top of this post is a link to the “comments” section. Please use it to let me know how you define success, so that I and hundreds of others can learn from you.

E-Mail vs. Phone vs. In-Person Meeting?

To what extent can you substitute emails for telephone calls and face-to-face meetings when maintaining and developing relationships with clients and other key market contacts?

Four highly respected writers, authors, and marketing specialists are taking on the “E-Mail vs. Phone vs. In-Person Meeting” question through a simultaneous post on there blogs today. I am excited to see the answers and encourage you to check them out as well.

1) Brian Carroll – specialist and noted author on generating leads for the complex sale.
2) Tom Kane – specialist on marketing and selling legal services.
3) Ford Harding – an expert on “Rainmaking” in professional practice, who has written some influential books on the challenges of selling professional services.
4) Mark Buckshon – prestigious blogger and specialist on marketing and selling design and construction services

Build Success by Creating Value

It seems that almost every day I get an e-mail or note telling me about a new blog. Tracking several of these blogs I have found that often, after a sort time, the writer begins to realize that it takes a massive amount of time to regularly write compelling blogs. A common result of this realization is that the posts begin to slow and eventually the blog fades away.

Then, every once in awhile, I run across a new blog that inspires and opens my mind to new ideas.  These are the blogs that seem to begin filling a niche almost overnight.  On my blogroll you will find several such blogs that have lasted the test of time including Ford Harding’s blog and Mark Buckshon’s Construction Marketing Ideas blog. I’m going to step out on a limb and say that I believe I recently found another such blog, Mel Lester’s E-Quip blog.

Yesterday I tracked Mel Lester to his Business Edge website to find more about an obviously well known consultant, trainer, and coach.  What I found was probably the most common reason that people succeed: Mel has created value for anyone that visits his website through his articles page. Let me encourage you to visit Mel’s Business Edge website to view his articles page as the resources there provide great insight into a number of business topics from Strategic Planning to Productivity.

Rain Making – 2nd Edition

I posted recently about Chapter 3 of the book Rain Making by Ford Harding.  It was great to hear directly from Ford (see the comments to that blog) about the second edition of Rain Making.  After a thorough read let me first emphasize that the revised chapter on networking (now chapter 8 ) is in-and-of itself worth the purchase of the book.  Below is a review of Rain Making – 2nd Edition I wrote for the SMPS DC book club:

Rain Making
Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field – 2nd Edition

Rain Making is a book for professionals who are interested in learning how to develop their career. Its easy to understand focus on marketing tactics and strategies makes it an excellent tool for developing successful marketing strategies for an individual or company.

The term “Rain Maker” has been around for years. It is often used, rarely understood, and almost never implemented properly. Rain Making addresses the fundamentals of what makes a rain maker, from building business and developing relationships, to creating new jobs. The focus is not simply on understanding how to become a rain maker, but how to clearly identify a path for implementation.

The 2nd edition of Rain Making is divided into four sections: Marketing Tactics: How Professionals Build Reputations and Generate Leads; Building a Network: How Professionals Develop a Sustainable Source of Leads; Sales Tactics: How Professionals Advance and Close a Sale; and From Tactics to Strategy: What Works and What Doesn’t.

The first section on Marketing Tactics is a ‘must read’ for individuals looking for a fresh and relevant perspective on building business. It clearly articulates the various types of marketing tactics, their purpose, and their proper use.

The second section on Building a Network contains simply the best chapter I have read on Networking. If you have time to read only one chapter in a book this next year, this is the chapter I would recommend. It provides an easy-to-use approach to networking that is worth the purchase of the book in and of itself.

The third section on Sales Tactics gives a great review of the basics of sealing the deal, including presentations, writing a proposal, and quoting a fee.

The final section, Strategy: What Works and What Doesn’t, carefully articulates plans for both individuals and corporations that are intertwined with a sense of purpose and strategy. The section is written towards what can be done today, not simply lofty plans for the future that will be forgotten in a week.

So, if you are looking for a book that will motivate and educate you on the tactics and strategy for becoming a Rain Maker, and provide you with useful tidbits that you can start the day you finish reading, I highly recommend Rain Making by Ford Harding.

Chapter 3 of Rain Making by Ford Harding

In the past year I have bought and given away over two-dozen copies of Rain Making with one condition to the recipients: They had to agree to read chapter 3.

The term “Rain Maker” has been around for years. It is often used, rarely understood, and almost never implemented properly. Rain Making, by Ford Harding addresses the fundamentals of what makes a rain maker, from building business and developing relationships, to creating new jobs. The focus is not simply on understanding how to become a rain maker, but how to clearly identify a path for implementation.

Chapter 3, devoted to networking, (a personal passion of mine) is by far the best read anywhere on the topic. To give you an idea, I have read literally hundreds of articles on the topic, I have studied the topic as a Fellow at Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business, and I have read numerous books on building business. Ford Harding simply writes an easy to understand and implement approach to a topic that has long been misunderstood.

Beyond chapter 3, Rain Making is divided into three sections: Generating Leads, Advancing and Closing a Sale, and Strategy: What Works and What Doesn’t.

Generating Leads
The first section on Generating Leads is a “must read” for the marketers, engineers, and architects that are looking for a fresh and relevant perspective on business development. It clearly articulates the various types of marketing tactics, their purpose, and their proper use.

Advancing and Closing a Sale
The second section on Advancing and Closing a Sale, while not as sexy as the other two sections, gives a great review of the basics of sealing the deal, including presentations, writing a proposal, and quoting a fee.

Strategy: What Works and What Doesn’t
The final section, Strategy: What Works and What Doesn’t, carefully articulates plans for both individuals and corporations that are intertwined with a since of purpose and strategy. The section is written towards what can be done today, not simply lofty plans for a future plan that will be forgotten in a week.

If you are looking for a book that will motivate and educate you on the tactics and strategy for becoming a Rain Maker, and provide you with useful tidbits that you can start the day you finish reading, I highly recommend Rain Making by Ford Harding.