- They put their peers, not their clients, at the centre of their business strategy.
Businesses live and die by their clients. To be successful your clients should be front and centre of your business strategy. Unfortunately, many architects fail to recognise this. Instead, they put the recognition of their peers at the forefront of their business. A potential client will always place more importance in the value for them over any other factor and it’s vital to show a client you understand that. If you don’t show them that they’re the most valued part of your business, you’re unlikely to get the work that you want.
- They are too scared to ‘look’ different to their peers.
Having a point of difference is one of the best ways to prove to a client the value in your business. Many practices blend into a sea of obscurity making it hard for a client to choose them based on anything other than price. As an architect, you’re trying to prove that high-quality design trumps cheap design so it’s important to show that price shouldn’t be a factor.
- They don’t use design!
Design is about creating an experience. However, a lot of architects fail to use good design principles to create memorable experiences in their marketing collateral.
The graphic design of your marketing collateral needs to reflect the quality of your architectural design, because in a client’s mind – it does. If the design of your website, business card or brochure displays low-quality design then a client is going to assume the same of your architecture.
So, make sure to have a good graphic designer on speed dial to help you reflect high-quality design in every aspect of your business.
- They don’t always use the best architectural photographers.
99% of your clients will only ever experience your work through photographs. Not using high-quality architectural photographers means the best parts of your work are not being captured. Having high-quality imagery will look great on your marketing materials and in the media. It will also beautifully showcase your work in submissions and proposals, helping you capture clients’ attention and get more of the projects you want.
- They’re not aware that people do business with people, not buildings.
A business relationship is much like any personal relationship – it’s about establishing rapport and building trust. If you don’t establish these, clients are less likely to trust your opinion and will feel like you don’t have their interests at heart. Often this will lead to clients asking you to redo the design, even if it’s detrimental to the project. These changes can cost you money in the pocket for the extra time you’re spending.
- They don’t fully realise that they are central to their business’ brand.
Your brand is the total emotional experience that clients have with you and your practice. The experience that clients have is defined by how you engage with them – making you central to your business’ brand. Many architects and designers fail to realise this and shy away from being the face of the business. Often this means that they don’t deliver clear, consistent messages which gives clients an adverse experience of their brand.
Although being the face of your brand may sound scary, it gives you control to carefully craft your message and deliver clients a positive experience from the outset.
Lindy Johnson Creative specialises in marketing, business development and PR for leading architects, designers and related businesses.