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Re: Advertising

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Title: RE: Advertising
Where Gerard is just starting his own firm, he just might be that "starving colleague."
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 10:07 AM
Subject: RE: Advertising


The phone book is a waste of your money.  Good prospective clients don't find engineers through the Yellow Pages.  They find them through referrals from your former clients and your current peers.  Engineering services are basically sold through networking.  That means that you have to actually go out and talk with people ... not just those that might want to hire you, but also those that might refer work to you.

When I answer the phone and find that it is a total stranger who picked my firm out of the Yellow Pages, I know that the conversation isn't going to go anywhere.  I quickly but politely explain that we don't do house inspections, foundation repairs, or whatever they might want, and refer them to some starving colleague that might be able to help them.  If it is a solicitor, on the other hand, I quietly set the phone on the floor and let them yak away to the carpet until they are exhausted.  Usually, they go 3-5 minutes before hanging up, and the carpet still hasn't bought anything.

With regard to advertising in general, it is overrated.  Everyone starting a new engineering business assumes that the key to success is having a great brochure and/or website.  Nonsense!  Brochures and websites don't sell any engineering services, even if they are professionally done.  You must plan to do the selling yourself, because that is, in fact, exactly what you are selling!  Nevertheless, a poorly done brochure or website can kill or hinder a sale by projecting a sloppy or unprofessional image.

One final thing, PE Boards insist that all of your advertising be honest and not embellished.

Now then, go forth and prosper!

Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Dallas, Texas
[my website is]  

Light travels faster than sound.
This is why some people appear
bright until you hear them speak!

Gerard Madden wrote:

What are the rules regarding placing a listing in the phone book? Most firms
listed in my phone book are basic, name, address, and phone number. However,
there are a couple that have bold text, large text, color, boxes etc...  I
remember reading somewhere that the state boards can frown or punish those
who use elaborate advertising - is this true? I know that full page ads are
taken out in engineering magazines and business card size ads as well (i.e.
URS or a plan checking firm).

The reason I ask is a phone book salesman can give me a bold line and a
website listing for cheaper than a plain ad since I'd be a new customer.
Without looking through my state board website, I was wondering if someone
here could help out. I think it would be usefull because I'll probably have
only small projects to start out with, probably residential, and most home
owners look in the phone book if their architect doesn't hire someone for