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Project Winning Tips for architects
Apr 1, 2021
Never think for a second that a client that reaches out to you for a project is only talking to you. Because they aren’t!
In most cases, project owners make a shortlist of architects or architecture firms to discuss their projects with. And in the end, they make a decision based on who convinces them best.
Honestly speaking, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for winning clients over because different clients usually lookout for different things. However, there are some common tricks we’ve found to work on various clients.
In the next few minutes, we wish to share these tricks with you.
Project Winning Tips for architects: How to convince a client to hire you
How to win architecture clients over
- Start with small talks
It may seem unprofessional discussing things that are not related to business with clients. But you’ll be surprised at how people love those little small talks.
Before discussing the project subject, you can start off by getting to know your client. Ask questions about where they live, what they think about the latest property across the street, places they’ve been to.
Just look out for small talk opportunities and start off from there. It may be their shoes, color of room (if you guys are on a video call), choice of living room chandelier, or anything else.
The idea here is to make the person feel comfortable and at home with you. This way, you give the impression that you’re available and flexible to listen to any idea they have in mind.
- Present a welcome packet
Now that you’re done with the small talks, it’s time to discuss business. To appear professional and serious-minded, you need to present a welcome packet.
A welcome packet is an official documentation of everything your company is about. Remember the client probably doesn’t know much about you other than the fact you render architecture services. You need to show them stuff that will wow them.
In more professional terms, you need to present a welcome packet that features your unique selling propositions (those things that are unique and special about your firm).
A typical welcome packet can comprise a few pages about your services, general procedures, forms of payment, and all the finer points of your business.
To avoid boring clients with long pages of texts, we recommend using a Flowchart maker to create stylish charts that feature some important points about your business. For example, in the area where you want to showcase your general procedures and how you approach projects, you can use a flowchart.
Note: Before you create your first flowcharts, we recommend checking these flowchart creation tips.
- Present your portfolio
Clients often like to see the portfolio of the architect they want to work with. So, regardless of whether they ask or not, you have to present this.
The difference between you and the other guys they’re speaking to can be the quality of your respective portfolios.
If your portfolio depicts designs that a client is aesthetically drawn to, chances are such a client might opt to work with you.
In some cases, a client might even decide to discard the ideas they had in mind for the new ones they see in your portfolio.
- Present proof that you understand the project
The best way to convince someone you’re the right man for their project is to show them you understand exactly what they want.
Say you meet a client who’s planning to remodel their home. A fast way to the heart of this kind of client is a video or picture view of how their remodeled kitchen would look like.
In some cases, the client may have mentioned some remodeling ideas when they first rolled out the project. So, the onus is on you to turn these raw ideas into prototype designs. Just a small glimpse into the real deal.
By the time a client sees this; they will be highly motivated to give the job to you.
Alternatively to visual content, you can do verbal explanations of everything you understand about the project.
- History of similar projects
While visual presentations of prototypes are quite good, that may not be enough to win some clients over. For some clients, the only thing that proves you can handle a project is your history of similar projects.
If you haven’t done anything similar, then it may be hard convincing these kinds of clients. But if you have, feel free to showcase your expertise.
- Ask open-ended questions
Having shown how much you understand the project, it’s time to suggest new solutions.
As a professional, who’s been in the field for long, it’s expected that you should know better than a client, and as such, are in a good position to suggest better design ideas.
But before you can do that, you need to first hear from the client why they wanted the previous designs. Usually, in this phase of the discussion, you ask questions like:
- Why do you want the project to take a particular form and not another? Say, a duplex vs. a bungalow.
- Does the client have any examples of similar structures they like?
- What are the additional features they’ll love to include?
- What are the client’s long-term goals for the project?
The idea here is to understand why the client wants to follow the path they’ve chosen. Once you understand that part, you can suggest better alternatives, and make them see the flaws in their previous ideas (if there are any).
Trust me; if your proposed idea is an improvement on their previous ideas, that might be all you need to push them over the line.
- Get vouches
When employing an architect, people always find someone recommended by people they know and trust – be it family, friends, colleagues, or neighbors. This is why architects need to get vouches from past clients.
Project Winning Tips for architects Summary
If you can get someone to vouch for you, that can go a long way in reassuring a client that they’re in safe hands.
How do you get someone to vouch for you?
Before the date of your scheduled appointment, research the project owner to see whether they are in any way related or familiar with someone you’ve worked with in the past. Reach out to this person, and see if they can speak with the project owner on your behalf.
If indeed you handled their project excellently, they should be happy to do this for you.
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Architecture by Type
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York City, NY, USA
Design: Mecanoo with Beyer Blinder Belle, architects
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New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
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