by Nigel Hilton
Whether you’ve started a brand new firm or you’re trying to expand an existing one into a new market, establishing yourself as an architect can be difficult. The standards are high, higher than in most other industries. Those who already established their presence and built a solid list of clients might seem like they have the advantage. However, all you need is the right strategy to ensure you’re showing the expertise you plan on selling to your clients. Here are a few elements of that strategy.
Nail every meeting
You may be technically brilliant and know all you need to, as an architect, but if your personal skills aren’t up to standard, you may never get the chance to show all that off. Knowing how to manage the client meeting is an essential part of making it in the business. They say you only have seven seconds to make a first impression, so make sure yours is set by professional appearance, the proper etiquette, and plenty of confidence. Don’t waste their time by waiting for them to set the focus of the meeting. Have an agenda prepared, based on what they’ve talked about with you before. Of course, be flexible throughout the meeting, too. While you can make plans, be open and be prepared to change the expectations going forward.
Dazzle them with tech
It might surprise a few new clients that architecture is rarely kept solely to pen and paper any longer. Make sure that you’re clear on all the different services your level of tech can help you achieve. For instance, if you’re using 3D architecture software like CAD programs, let them know it doesn’t only give them a three-dimensional look at the project, but can help them prepare materials and resources for the specific measurements of the project. You can go even further with new tech, however. Have you considered how 3d printing is changing architect's profession? More than a model through a screen, it’s easier than ever to help clients get a proper look at what they’re asking for.
Let the content flow
Technology is naturally changing how marketing works as well. Most people are aware of social media messaging and using a website, but for those looking to prove expertise, there’s one method that’s making huge waves. That method is content marketing. People look online for answers to all kinds of queries nowadays. If you can use your expertise to answer those questions and provide interesting information in a blog, you’ll get a lot more activity towards your business site. Not all your visitors will become customers, but they can still have an impact. Content marketing has proven to be one of the most effective ways of building recommendations through non-clients.
Have plenty to show for yourself
Of course, those who do want to become customers might not be swayed by your content alone. At a certain point, you need to have your work speak for yourself. Building a portfolio as a new business can be tough, but they’re not just for employers. Potential clients need some proof that shows what you’re talking about. After you get some clients, then you can add images of finished, built projects, as well as testimonials, to the amount of proof that you have to show your skills. Just make sure you’re taking a bit of care to ensure that it’s displayed well on your site. Visual composition plays a big part in marketing, even in the most technical parts of it.
Find a balance
You’re not going to build the right approach for potential clients by sticking to the online alone. You need the right offline tactics to compliment those strategies, as well. Taking speaking engagements and attending networking events is more important for nailing individual leads. Print publications don’t have quite the broad level of visibility that you can get through blogging and search engine optimization, but they do have a certain level of prestige to them, which means that an appearance can still be very valuable to the business. More than just connecting you to clients, these strategies also give you a physical connection to the rest of the industry. Build good relationships with your contemporaries so you’re not left behind when new strategies start becoming more effective.
Building the proper lead generation strategy in architecture requires a mix of high-quality service skills and plenty of solid proof to back up your claims. The right evidence and the right tech to dazzle your clients should make it much easier for you to catch up with the competition.
Nigel Hilton is a world traveler, environmental nut, beer lover and a self-proclaimed over-thinker. He loves to argue politics and doesn't care that smoking makes him a hypocrite. Go Manchester United and when he says football, it means soccer, YANK!