With the additional social "butter-flying" I’ve been doing trying to find more work for my office, my PSS (Proactive Project Seeking; see blog Flippin’ Rocks) is in full swing. After searching online for an appropriate contact/marketing “system,” and spending an afternoon at the local public library browsing the shelves (yes, dopes like me still like to do that), I’ve come to the conclusion that a single “best text” for marketing architecture doesn’t really exist. Sure, the Society for Marketing Professional Services (www.smps.org ) offers some but I’ve come up with my own dumb little system, loosely based on a colleague's definition of "GrmT" (that’s Grunt Marketing where you contact 100 people, get 10 leads, and 1 request for proposal or project… it is real grunt work).
First: I started with a simple paragraph in e-mail format about my company, myself, and past projects available and ready to do.
Second: I pulled out my project list since I incorporated (in 1995; that took a while) and listed all the names, companies, phone numbers, and emails of the folks that I would like to work with again. (On project analysis I’d ask myself, “How did I meet this person?” and I sketched a loosely defined “spider diagram.” I was surprised at how a few key folks led to 6 to 10 others who had real projects… that I got!)
Third: I picked up the phone (here’s the tricky part) and called these folks to say hello, asked if I could have 75 seconds of their time to a) ask how they’ve been and what they’ve been doing, b) give a brief update on me and my company, c) ask if I could send a one-pager on my company to them, and d) ask if they would offer comments/suggestions as I am seeking more work for the firm.
Of those phone calls, some said, “Yes, later I’m busy”; others said, “Send it on over”; a few said, “Hey, I’ve got something I need some help on…”.
Fourth: I’m in the process of making a new three-ring binder for phone notes and newspaper clippings (from my local Business Chronicle; yes, I finally bought a subscription). I'm using it as a tickler; when I have 20 minutes of down time, I pick up the binder, select a name, and call to say, “Hi.” Think of it as "Dialing for Dollars.”
Fifth: I’m looking for other “good ideas” on how architects can simply and easily establish and maintain contact with their current and future clients. Any suggestions? The phone lines are open (just kidding; post your blog).
—Lisa Stacholy, AIA, NCARB