The Two Things You Need To Successfully Market Your Services

number 2 There are only two things you need to successfully market your services:

  • The Right Message
  • An Audience That Can Say, “Yes”

Yes, it’s really that simple. If your marketing is failing in any way, it’s always because you are lacking one of those things.

If you can get the right message to an audience that can say yes, than you’re gonna get a contract.

I didn’t even make that up. A friend of mine, Art Bousel, uttered these words to me and their genius floored me.

Art was an attorney. He wasn’t like the ones you see on TV. He’s an introverted and thoughtful guy. One day, Art decided to get into the food business. No, he didn’t open a restaurant. He got a meeting with a group of supermarket executives and convinced them they had a problem he could solve. And they gave him a contract.

Why? He had the right message and an audience that could say yes.

Let’s Take A Test

I’m going to give you a few scenarios. I want you to determine which of these two things the hypothetical people are missing.

Price Way too High

Your client only has $20,000 and you propose to complete his/her project for $40,000. What were you lacking?

A. An audience that can say, “yes.”

B. The right message.

C. Competitive pricing structure.

The answer is A. If you need to charge $40,000 to make this project work for you and your client only has half of that, he/she is not an audience that can say, “yes.”


You submit the lowest price, but the client picks a firm that has a higher one. Also, you know this competitor is not nearly as good as you. What were you lacking?

A. An audience that can say, “yes.”

B. The right message.

C. The blackmail information on the client your competitor clearly has.

The answer is B. You didn’t have the right message. Clearly, this client could say, “yes” to you. Unfortunately, someone else had a message that made your lower price irrelevant.

Price a Little Too High

Once again, your competitor comes in with a lower price and wins the job. What were you lacking?

A. An audience that can say, “yes.”

B. The right message.

C. Competent estimators.

The answer here is A or B. If your client MUST choose the lowest bidder, they can not say yes to the the second lowest bidder.

But if it was a best-value procurement, you simply didn’t have the right message. In that scenario, the right message will always trump price (see Whaaat?!?!?!).

Family Values

You put together a great proposal, but they hired the chief engineer’s brother-in-law. What were you lacking?

A. An audience that can say, “yes.”

B. The right message.

C. The right husband/wife.

You are lacking the right message. The right message will beat nepotism.


The incumbent won again. What were you lacking?

A. An audience that can say, “yes.”

B. The right message.

C. A relationship.

Again, you are lacking the right message. We’ll get into incumbents later. You’ll see that their power is not in some relationship, it’s part of their message. Giving clients an option to make consistent decisions is a powerful message.

You can only beat the incumbent with the right message or by putting them in a situation where hey can’t say yes to anyone else.

I can go on and on with examples. But I’m sure you get my point.

Where People Screw This Up

While this concept is simple, it’s not necessarily easy.

Sometimes people fail to define their “yes audience.” Or they know who can say yes, but choose to put themselves in front of other people.

A great example is a mechanical engineer who is well known for speaking to other mechanical engineers. Mechanical engineers don’t typically hire mechanical engineers.

He or she would be much more effective speaking to architects or owners. Not only that, he or she would be much better off speaking to specific types of architects and owners.

In all honesty, any fool can get in front of an audience that can say yes. And I think, more often than not, firms eventually get in front of the right audience.

The real challenge is crafting the right message. This is where architects, engineers, and construction people often blow it. The industry really sucks at this.

Fortunately, this is probably the biggest improvement opportunity for your firm. By getting better at creating the right message for any circumstance, you are developing an advantage over your competitors.

More specifically, the opportunity I’m talking about is incorporating science into your marketing, especially when it comes to your messaging.

If you liked this article, please subscribe below or on the right side of the homepage. If you want to give us your thoughts on this issue, please leave a comment below. 


  1. Thanks for sharing! It’s a great way to look at your strengths and weaknesses and what you will need to work on. Great blog, straight to the point.

  2. Thanks for another timeless nugget, Matt. Thanks for sharing.


  1. […] I’ve worked with construction firms just starting out and those making billions per year. I can tell you that those who have the most success always have these two key elements: the right message and an audience who can say yes. […]

Speak Your Mind