In this post, we've compiled a list of a few of the most popular architect firm business FAQ's, all previously featured in our newsletter AM Labs. These frequently asked questions come from architects across the globe. They are answered by AMI's very own Richard Petrie, the world's leading architect marketing coach.
Ready to get those questions answered?
Mark S from Durham, UK asked …
A prospect wants a new house with a modern design. However, my portfolio, due to client aspirations, is fairly conservative. I get the impression that, if the style issue can't be addressed out of the gate, then I'll lose them. I've proposed meeting to discuss the aspirations he and his wife have for the project. I've asked them to provide photos showing the kinds of modern designs they aspire to have. I'm planning to bring examples of modern work that I like. What else can I do to allay their anxiety, build their confidence, and get them back into the Needs and Options Review? Thanks!
Obviously, you cannot show what you don’t have. I like the fact that you are bringing images of modern work that you like. This can help. I have heard of architects doing sketches using modern design on houses that have never been built and using these as examples. This is feasible.
Drop into the conversation that renovating older houses is a lot harder than designing new ones. Explain in detail why. But I suspect people are more fixated on the style you might specialize in. So if they were set on an architect who had modern design experience, I would always dig deeper and find the underlying assumptions as to why they think modern design experience is so important.
Then look to counter those assumptions. You may find that if you have good rapport and state your position – that a good designer is a good designer in any genre. Make it clear that your rapport will override your lack of direct experience. Rapport is hard to beat.
See our post on overcoming client objections to learn more!
Amparo V, Massachusetts, USA asked …
We often have clients that are interested in buying a property but don't want to put in a bid until they know what is possible in terms of code and compliance. So they come to us with their questions. Sometimes we end up doing an hour or two of research to give to the client (or a broker) and then nothing comes from it. How do you recommend we handle that kind of request, so that we get compensated for our time and ensure getting the project?
My recommendation is that you charge them for this service. If you were looking to buy a business and needed some due diligence done by an accountant, would you expect him or her to deliver this service for free? No chance. The secret is to create a product that people can buy.
A product requires a name, a set of standardized deliverables, a price, and the reason why someone would want this service. The reason is usually to avoid costly mistakes.
We have a Mastermind member who has recently created a product called ‘Should I Buy This Site?' (SIBTS). She will do the research and give the broker or potential buyer a document that outlines her findings. This enables them to make an informed decision.