It was a 3-hour drive going to central Luzon for my training and immersion in Bomanite. The last leg of the trip was to visit a site project in Tarlac called New Clark City. At first, I saw an impressive installation of stamped concrete and sand wash finish of about 500 sqm. But as we walked even further, I realized that what I previously saw was just the starting section, the project goes further as far as my eyes could see. It is the biggest project to date of Cypress Bomanite. The area covers more than 100,000 square meters that form the bikeway and pedestrian lane. If the whole 3 phases of installation will be combined, the total area will be more than 300,000 square meters.
And got me thinking. How do they bag this kind of project? What is their secret in getting specified and awarded with an enormous project like this? The Bomanite brand will definitely give you the edge and advantage in your projects. But it is also a combination of effort, strategy, approach, and tactic. Today, we will learn how our licensee, Ronnie Traballo, from the Philippines did it.
He shared with us 3 main points Brand Awareness, Specification Selling, and Thoroughness
Brand awareness is the familiarity of businesses or customers with a specific product or person.
I can sum up Ronnie’s views from the first half of our dialogue in two words: Brand Awareness. A brand can refer to both a product and a person. The former is common knowledge, so I’ll just touch on the latter quickly. The way in which you represent yourself is known as your personal brand. Building and maintaining credibility, relationships, and first impressions with influential figures in your field is essential. Hence, brand awareness is the familiarity of businesses or customers with a specific product or person. Brand awareness is a very important and fundamental stage before project specification. And this is what Ronnie did. He has been very active in different organizations in the decorative and landscaping industries. Being active in the different associations helped in building the respect, credibility, and reputation of Bomanite as the product and Ronnie as the face of Bomanite in the Philippines. From their social media presence to the personal relationships they built over the years, the influence and familiarity of Ronnie and Bomanite helped in setting appointments and putting them at the doors of the architects.
When Ronnie was sharing about Specification selling, it basically boils down to 3 factors- Identifying the key projects in the area, customizing solutions, and mapping the decision-makers.
For the construction industry in the Philippines, there is indeed a massive growth driven by the continuous spending on large-scale projects under the “Build, build, build” program of the government. The Philippine government launched the Philippine Construction Industry Roadmap 2020-2030 which will translate to spending from 44.1 billion USD in 2018 to 2.5 trillion USD by 2030. This basically means that infrastructure is a key development here. By knowing the business landscape, Ronnie was able to identify the opportunity. So how did he secure specification?
“By understanding the needs of the customer and the project. He basically created a unique selling proposition by customizing patterns and adding their own logo and name”
By doing this, the competitors will have difficulty matching the color and the specifications. The third is mapping the decision-makers… This basically involves the owners, specifiers, and implementors. Each of these stakeholders is always a make or break in a project. Ronnie said, “When the project went into bidding, we approached and made a product presentation to all the bidders.” Even before winning the project, we already knew who the key players and decision-makers were and tried to have a good relationship with the winning bidder. When the bid was won by the general contractor, I already had access to their top management and a good relationship. “It was easier for me to negotiate.”
And last but definitely not least is thoroughness. Thoroughness means paying great attention and taking care of details. It is about knowing all the elements of a plan inside and out during each stage of that plan. This may seem like a given for any kind of business, but its lack is a game-changer in the construction industry. And Ronnie shares how he learned it the hard way. “Learning from an airport project, getting the architect’s specification is just one aspect.” Even if we were the ones specified, we did not do a proper mock-up. And the competitor, who is an existing supplier and has a good relationship with the general contractor, had a much better mock-up compared to us.
Thoroughness is indeed the cornerstone of execution.
Ultimately, we lost the project. The important lesson that I want to share with all licensees is that you have to follow through. Don’t rely on having your products specified and assume that you will get the project right away. Make sure that you have all the bases covered. ” We were complacent, thinking that we did a good mockup but failing to realize that we did not protect the mockup properly, so it was stained and not properly covered.” Thoroughness is indeed the cornerstone of execution.
I went back to the project site after a few weeks. I realize that there has been so much development already, but there is still so much to be done. The sight of the horizon is not enough to see this project through. When Ronnie modestly told me that amidst sharing this best practice, he has still so much to learn. That somehow struck a chord coming from someone who has been in the business for 23 years. We still have so much to learn. Continuous learning and the ability to adapt are indeed the keys to success. As the saying in our industry goes, the road to success is always under construction.