Why I Didn’t Call Your Firm

AEC business letter

I recently started a new website. I’d like to tell you it’s on a new and exciting topic that will turn the A/E/C world on its head. But it’s not. It’s on the oldest and most boring topic that you can think of.

So, why did I take the time to create www.businessletter.co (I know, but .com was taken)? And what about the topic of this article? Why didn’t I call your firm? I’ll get to all that. But first, let me tell you a personal story.

Stop Wasting My Time

I get emails from A/E/C firms all the time. I hate them. Stop sending them to me!

I never asked for your newsletter. Why would I?

I don’t want to team with you on that contract! We’re not going after it. We don’t ever provide those services!

Why are you sending me your qualifications? You are clearly a competitor. Don’t you know that?

I don’t know 90% of the people who send me email. Not only that, they haven’t even taken the time to research me or the firm I work for.

I’m an extremely laid back guy. But after a decade or so of these emails, it started to get under my skin. Each day, I seem to get more email flooding my inbox.

But one day, I got something in a different inbox.

But Now It’s Empty

I still get mail. Invoices, issues of Engineering News Record, RFPs from clients, and Christmas cards still land in that box on the corner of my desk.

But one day, something unusual landed in there. It was a letter from someone in California. It was probably the most straightforward and honest letter I ever received. He was a constructability expert and wanted us to consider using him if one of our clients ever needed a constructability review.

Our business is centered around helping clients avoid and resolve construction claims. One related area where we look for outside experts is constructability reviews.

So, I scanned this guy’s letter into my Evernote (which recognizes the text). About a year later, I was looking for a constructability expert in California. Guess who the first person I called was. That’s right, the guy who sent me a letter.

Unfortunately, he didn’t have experience on that type of project. But he gave me the names of some people who did. Who do you think I’m going to call whenever I need a constructability expert in California from now until eternity…the guy who took the time to send me a letter.

The Blue Ocean Strategy of Communication

If you are a shark, you don’t want to hunt in blood soaked waters fighting every other shark for the hope you might get some dinner. You want to hunt in the blue ocean, where the other sharks aren’t. It’s easier to find food there.

The physical inbox is a blue ocean these days. It’s easier to get noticed, to get read, when you land in there.

That’s why I created a website about the business letter. We’ve spent so much time in email, we’ve forgotten how to write business letters. This new website is a refresher course on the art of the business letter.

P.S. Right now, my site (HelpEverybodyEveryday) is having a “Get Awesome!” giveaway. Head on over there to comment and win!

matthew e handalMatt Handal provides marketing strategies that actually work at www.helpeverybodyeveryday.com. He is the author of Proposal Development Secrets, contributing editor of SMPS Marketer, and co-author of the Marketing Handbook for the Design & Construction Professional. 

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