Five Straightforward Ways to Engage with Site Selectors

February 26, 2024
An economic developer engaging with a site selectors in an office setting.

As the trusted advisors for companies’ location decisions, site selectors call on economic development organizations (EDOs) for location-specific data and information that helps determine if the community is a fit for the company’s investment. The relationship between site selectors and economic developers requires trust, transparency and collaboration and should be nurtured for a long-term partnership. 

Here are five simple ways to engage with site selectors that every economic developer can use to nurture lasting relationships for long-term success.

1. Establish a Main Point of Contact

Clear communication is vital to engage site selectors, and among the most important ways to engage them is to have a main point of contact for them to rely on. A generic contact email or inquiry form on an EDO’s website will benefit from personalization, with a name and photo of their point person.

Getting on a first-name basis with a site selector makes it easier for them to turn to you for information as they are evaluating the best location for their company. In an era of AI and chatbots, site selectors will respond more positively to a human connection.  

Additionally, leverage industry-related events to speak with site selectors and establish your main point of contact in person. That same person can even reach out proactively when traveling to meet with a site selector on a one-on-one basis. Once a site selector knows you, they are more willing to reach out to learn more about your community, so be prepared with updated data to share with them.

2. Build a Reliable Team

Building relationships with your local and regional partners is just as important. When a site selector sees that you and your partners have the same vision and work collaboratively, they will feel confident that your community has a strong foundation and ample resources to optimize their client’s project. Collaboration is impactful, so build relationships with your local companies, higher-education institutions, utilities, and—most importantly—your state.

It’s equally vital to ensure that EDOs at the local, regional and state level are all informed of each other’s value propositions, programs, accomplishments, and any other developments or initiatives that are taking place. Communicate clearly so that they are abreast of your community’s accomplishments and current developments.

3. Tell your Story—From All Sides

Site selectors have seen it all. Between conferences, familiarization (FAM) tours, site visits and more, they have heard many community stories. But when asked what the most memorable story is, site selectors often tell us that it is the raw one that sticks with them. They want to hear real-life stories from the locals; they don’t want to feel like they’re watching a TV commercial.

They’ll be enamored to know why that international company chose your destination. Or why did the Silicon Valley businessman move his family to small-town America. Or why that other company moved away from your community and what you learned to address the pitfalls.

Hearing the good, but also the potential for improvement of a city or region will help you engage site selectors better, helping them determine if their client is the right fit and if your location’s weaknesses will become opportunities in the future.   

4. Avoid the Hard Sell

You’re ready to market your community but may be uncertain where to begin. Site selectors can assure you that less is always more. Quality outweighs quantity in economic development. 

Here are some practical tips site selectors shared with us to help you develop your marketing efforts:  

  • Keep your FAM tours small, short and curated by leveraging a site selector database
  • E-newsletters are helpful, but send a press release if you want to focus on one project.
  • Gift local goods from your community or “swag” that someone would actually want—no more Yetis or power banks.
  • Don’t underestimate media placements and their influence on corporate executives.

5. Find Your Benchmarks

 In this business, it’s smart to compare yourself. Site selectors need to know how you stack up to competing locations. Benchmark data will help identify the strengths of your location to amplify in your marketing today. 

In turn, these strengths will determine the programs and initiatives to invest in to address weaknesses for tomorrow. They also need the most up-to-date data points, so invest in “boots on the ground” research that only you can provide. 

Need help capturing the attention of site selection consultants? DCI knows the winning strategies for EDOs and can help find better ways to engage with site selectors. Connect with Nick Reshan at [email protected] to learn more about developing a strategy that authentically tells your community’s story and builds relationships with this critical audience. 

Written by

Nick Reshan

Account Director