I'm an Architect, Not a Salesperson! - PlusSpec

If you own an Architectural or Design practice and you think that you are not a salesperson, then you are costing your business more than you know!

Many of you are probably cringing right now. Let’s face it, salespeople often get a bad wrap. That’s why most of us don’t like being labelled as one. But, like it or not, we’re all salespeople. In fact, we sell ourselves, our ideas and everything else about us, every second of every day.

So let’s throw this out there: You can become a successful salesperson without being that stereotypical ‘say anything, do anything, grease-factory’!

The problem for many Architects and Designers is that they invest all of their time and energy learning the skills that they need in order to be a successful Architect or Designer, and very little (if any) time learning how to run a business. This is understandable, because design and construction is a long and gruelling learning process. In fact, it never ends.

Obviously, there is a lot to learn about running a business. However, we’ve listed a couple of pointers that may help you reconsider your approach to selling design:

Sell your Value, not your service

There seems to be a big consensus in the industry that ultimately the 2D drawings are what an Architect or Designer is being paid for.

We disagree. 

2D drawings are a product. It is simply an outcome, or end-result of the design process. The most successful Architects and Designers focus on what matters – and that is their style, vision and funk (aka taste). If you look at these businesses, you will see that they are actually selling the idea that if the customer wants to see their project come to life, and to be sculpted into something that goes beyond their brief (the imagining of the unimaginable) – that they are the only person (or business) that can help the customer achieve their dream home.

Note: This even applies to a Draftsperson who has very little to do with the design process, and is solely focused on producing 2D drawings. Why? Because it’s not the product that has true value. You should be selling your construction knowledge, attention to detail, ability to communicate – or any other value-add that makes you better than the rest.

Don’t be afraid to talk about money & don’t do anything for free!

The entire Design and Construction Industry needs to stop doing anything for free. And don’t even get us started on fee bidding.

We’re not suggesting that you would charge a customer just to meet with them for the first time. However, in this initial meeting we suggest that you focus on understanding the client and selling your value. You should also have a sales strategy in place. Don’t forget that you are choosing your customers as much as they are choosing you. Always push for a close. If a customer wants your ideas, propose that they undertake a Feasibility Study (or equivalent), as a paid service. If a customer is not willing to spend a bit of money upfront, it’s normally a bad sign.

Marketing, Marketing, Marketing

We recently wrote an article on Digital Marketing, which discusses where a lot of us go wrong in this area.

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be talking more about the best ways to market your business and your work (both digitally and in general). Stay tuned!

2018 Architects are from Mars and Builders are from Venus Webcast Series

We are passionate about the Design and Construction Industry – and we want every one of us to succeed. That’s why we’ll be speaking to Architects, Designers, Builders and Product Manufacturers in our 2018 Architects are from Mars and Builders are from Venus Webcast Series.

These webcasts are informal discussions about their challenges, and what they are doing to create amazing businesses.

We believe that if everyone in the industry better understands each other, we’ll communicate better – leading to stronger relationships, better built outcomes, and more profitable businesses.

Drew Povey joined RubySketch in 2015 and now heads up the Melbourne Office. He has a Masters of Architecture, a B.A in languages, and a Diploma of Business.

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