Another great question posed by blog reader Amy A. She has 20+ years of experience with other firms and 4+ years as a sole proprietor; I’m sure we all relate well.
She recently went to an interview on a project she really wanted to get for her firm and believed she could do well at. By her good fortune, the referral source was also in on the interview and was able to offer some feedback: two main points:
- “Discounted” the 20+ years of experience as the work was done for someone else
- “Current firm work” is renovation/addition, no pure “new construction”
Amy’s question is “how have other architects addressed these types of client concerns?”
Over the years I have developed my own “style” of describing architectural services, the design and construction process, and how my firm can do a great job of helping the client. Typically the “sales” part of the presentation is more a question, answer, and discussion; that when it goes well, the client “sells” him/her self on my firm. What I really like about this approach is the old “you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” analogy. Even if I were the best sales person in the world, I like having trust on my side for starters rather than dealing with a client who develops “buyers' remorse” shortly after the contract is signed. Life’s too short for that kind of noise.
How and or what do other architects see as the key point to address Amy’s situation? How does your perception of “what architects do” help or hurt in the current economy and project outlooks?
- Lisa Stacholy, AIA