As a fellow business owner, I understand that one of the most important factors to longevity regardless of your industry is client development. Unfortunately, client turnover is inevitable and for any firm, securing new projects doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a targeted and consistent approach to build new clients and expand the ones you have. If your firm is experiencing a period of stagnancy or you’re looking to grow your firm, it may be time to reevaluate your overall business development strategy. Many successful architecture firms I have worked with have achieved their goals with these strategies.
More Focused on Branding
A powerful brand identity is the first step to mastering ongoing client development. Whether it’s corporate interiors or urban design, it’s essential to have a list of projects that your firm is renowned for completing to share with prospective clients. Brand identity should not only be unique to your firm, but it should also be consistent and present in everything your firm sends out, from your email signatures to marketing materials.
Branding is also the responsibility of each of your employees. Ensure that everyone working in the firm understand what it your firm’s brand is, what it means and how to share it with people they interact with, business and otherwise. Get everyone on your team to be your brand ambassadors. Provide your traveling architects with the necessary resources to spread the company’s vision when they are visiting conferences or starting new projects. Share videos about how you charrette on social media. The ideas are endless.
One thing that I’ve learned from working internationally is that there are only a few degrees of separation across this industry. Persistent networking is the key to successful client development. It’s tempting to chase every available project, but it’s not prudent. Create a list of projects that you want to work on. Narrow it down to those you have the best odds of winning. Identify those clients and infiltrate their networks. Sometimes it takes using a third-party to bridge the gap to meeting new clients. But, when you finally do meet with prospective clients, listen to their needs first to pinpoint something of value that you can provide them with, rather than hitting them with a sales pitch. When you do talk about your firm and your offerings ensure them can meet the need of the client by your firm being its authentic self.
Traditional word of mouth might work locally for client referrals, but if you want to expand your professional network around the world, then you need to leverage online tools. Blogs and social media posts are effective ways to entice clients to your firm. Publish insightful content concerning the industry, along with what makes your firm stand out from the competition. It’s important to post on a regular basis to drive traffic to your page.
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