Know Your Clients To Get The Best Architecture Projects

Did you know that a simple five-word question has the potential to jumpstart your marketing plan? This strategy will change the way you describe your services and help you know your clients to get the best architecture projects.

Implement this process and watch the queue of targeted architecture clients form at your door, all while having an unfair advantage over your competition.

Reach people on an emotional level.

Basically, this simple question is the easiest way to reach people at a deeper, emotional level when selling your LCC (or Low Commitment Consultation) and architecture services. (For information on why the LCC is so effective, visit my post on getting paid for your architecture advice.)

Shameless over-promising? Not at all.

Here’s the question:

What are you really selling?

Just five little words. It sounds so simple but don't underestimate its power.

People buy things for a variety of reasons. However, the reasons are seldom the logical ones you’d expect.

If you were an accountant, you would not just be selling bookkeeping services; what you'd really be selling is a chance for a business owner to avoid doing the accounting chores he or she despises.

If you were a school president, you would not just be selling a university course; you would really be selling a chance for someone to get a better job, earn more and live a better life. 

You will have the opportunity to secure the best architecture projects when you begin to sell the emotional outcome, not just the service itself.


Have you ever heard that before? Research this topic and you will see hundreds of scientific studies and test cases that prove this statement to be true.

By knowing and understanding your target clients (and how they want to feel), you will have the inside information you need to get the best architecture projects.

Guess who else uses that style of communication? Think about the most lucrative communication industry in the world – advertising.

Sell happiness, good times, enjoyment.

Cadbury’s doesn't just sell chocolate; they sell ‘happiness.' Their ads tell you (not even subtly) that Cadbury’s means happiness. No mention of obesity, dizzy spells or the dreadful nutritional value.

Major sports venues are not just selling game tickets. The successful ones are selling memories of sunny afternoons that a family will cherish forever.

Pepsi does not just sell sugary syrup; they sell ‘enjoyment' and ‘good times.' Every advertising image implies youthful fun and freedom. See where I'm going with this?

In 1781, Samuel Johnson was appointed to auction off the brewery founded by the family of his late friend, Henry Thrale. He understood that people buy on emotion, which is why he led the auction with this statement: ‘We are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond dreams.'

Charles Revson was best known as a pioneering cosmetics industry executive who created and managed Revlon through five decades. The lipstick king said, ‘In the factory we make cosmetics. In the store we sell hope.'

Get the best architecture projects by knowing your client.

Emotions drive decision-making far more than any of us care to admit. By fulfilling emotional needs rather than logical needs, you move from throwing stones to firing a cannon.

We all want to:

  • lose weight but are emotionally connected to the wrong foods.
  • be rich but most people have negative emotions connected to disciplined saving.
  • be fit and healthy but many of us have negative emotions connected to regular exercise.

Nine-time Olympic champion Mark Spitz summed up this concept best: ‘Everyone loves to win, but how many people love to train?’ Brilliant!


The secret is to become a person who can cause others to form more useful emotional connections. Once you link their most desired emotion with your product, you instantly create irresistible gravity towards your service that no logical argument can counteract.

You may think it's a huge stretch to say that your services would make a client feel a certain way, but all of the mega brands above are doing exactly that; the only difference is types of services and marketing. 

While you are pitching your logical features like price and experience, the world's best are selling what every person in the world really wants … to feel good or to stop feeling bad. And they are selling billions of dollars of it effortlessly because they know what they are really selling.

Claire, one of my favorite clients, once said this: ‘I don't mind being manipulated as long as it makes me feel good.’

So now you know that to get the best architecture projects, you must ask the following questions:

  1. What are you really selling?
  2. Consider your target market. What emotions do they want to feel?
  3. Utilize every bit of your creative juice to make the connection between what you're selling and how you can help your target audience to feel the way they want.

They might already know that they want or need an architect, but do they know that they want you?

Get started with these examples.

Here are a few examples of how some of my most successful clients have answered these questions.

Architecture – what are you really selling?

  1.  A status symbol that will make others see you as a success
  2.  The feeling of being the best on the block
  3.  More connected family
  4.  Safer, happier place to raise children
  5.  Fresh start

Garages – what are you really selling?

  1. The chance to increase the value of your property 
  2. Makes your home look bigger and more luxurious
  3. Creates peace of mind that your car is safe from thieves and environmental worries
  4. Allows your home to be more relaxing and clean place to live because of storage space

Insurance – what are you really selling?

  1. An insurance policy is a guarantee that your family will be financially secure after you leave them
  2. Financial safety net in the event of a physical disability or trauma
  3. Peace of mind and security from worry
  4. Reassurance that your family will be okay even after you're gone

Can you put a price on that?

The lottery sells more than tickets. BMW sells more than cars.

Do you link the desired emotion to your offered products or do you get caught up in the detail of what your product is or has or does?


What are you really selling?

Keep asking yourself this question and bold new opportunities will open. 

When you discover how you make your clients feel, then you truly will have the opportunity to get the best architecture projects … and other architects won't even realize how you made your case better than than they did.

Want to learn more? Here is another post that covers the concept of understanding client motivations.  If you are just getting started in marketing or need to reboot your architecture firm marketing plan completely, my article on The Architect Marketing Diamond Strategy is a great place to start! Let me know what you think.

Happy Selling!


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