Peter Eerlings is creator of Archisnapper, an intelligent site management app that helps architects create field reports with incredible efficiency — read more here. He also hosts a series of informative articles about technology and business for architects on the Archisnapper Blog, a selection of which we are glad to present on Architizer.
Let me paint a picture.
You’re checking your billable hours for the month. It’s been a pretty good one. Business is steady, but things are still tight. You had a personal goal of gaining 10 new clients by the end of the year and taking a fall vacation, but you’ve only managed to get two so far, and it’s already August. You love your current clients, but you know that finding new clients is how you can continue to grow your business and charge more for your services.
If any of that sounds like you, I’ve got good news: You can find more clients, and it might be easier than you think. You’re already a great architect, and more people need to know about the quality work you do. We’re going to talk about four simple ways you can find more clients without taking too much time away from what matters the most: your work.
There are plenty of articles on Architizer you could share with potential clients to get the conversation flowing; image via Type/Code.
1. Share Relevant Content With Potential Clients
You have clients you would love to work with — the ones who know what a good build looks like and are willing to pay top dollar for excellent work. Find that list and reach out to two of them each week. Find a relevant industry article, blog post or photo and send it to them.
News readers like feedly make it simple to find and save great articles and content worth sending. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, you might already be looking at great stuff. Take a second to shoot these clients an email.
You could say something like this:
Hi ___, I came across this (article/video/blog post) in ____ and knew you would appreciate it! Would love to hear your thoughts when you get a chance.
You could also end with a pleasantry like “Hope all is well” to make your message more of a conversation starter, and not simply a random email.
How Does This Help?
Business is inherently social, and in order to continue to grow, you need to be consistently reaching out and connecting. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing builds relationships, which can pay huge dividends later.
By becoming a resource today, you can set yourself up for major wins tomorrow. People always appreciate new ideas, and empathy goes a long way when trying to build those key partnerships for your business. When you become as helpful as possible, you always stand out.
2. Show People You Care
Gratitude is a renewable resource. It never gets old, and it can turn a client into an advocate, which is exactly the type of promotion you need. The world is a big place, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming, especially with all the tasks you have running a business. That’s exactly why you need systems to help you follow up and follow through.
Productivity systems like Trello enable you to save reminders to contact your network and always stay top of mind with new clientele. Try sending a customized graphic explaining how happy you are to work with a new client. Better yet, pick up the phone and thank them for trusting you with their business.
How Does This Help?
Most people forget to take the extra step to make people feel like they are a part of something special. You aren’t just an architect; you’re a problem solver! It may sound odd, but these simple actions can show a new client that you are willing to go above and beyond what is typically expected to ensure that you deliver a high-quality project.
Image via 3DA Systems
3. Give Awesome Advice
When you provide a prospective client with a recommendation or solution (at no charge), you can start a relationship that can continue long after their problem is over.
You never have to look far to find problems — it might be a simple typo in a potential project plan or insight into a specific build site they are looking into. Nudge them on Twitter or send them a quick email with your advice.
You can even take it a step further by not only alerting them to the issue, but also pointing them in the right direction with a solution. The easier you make their life, the more they’ll appreciate your efforts.
How Does This Help?
The more useful you become as a person and subject-expert, the higher your value becomes to a potential client. When your value continues to increase, you can easily transition into becoming the go-to person for client needs.
There is no competition when you are the best, and sharing your insights can help make sure you’re the first person top-quality prospective clients call when they need an expert.
4. Use Your Network to Make Introductions
Maybe you have a friend who specializes in commercial properties and a prospect who has mentioned they are looking for that specific type of build. Why not introduce the two?
You’ve just given two separate gifts: A potential client gets the exact insight and help they need, and you’ve also passed valuable business (and money) to someone else. Those are two more advocates that you can call on later.
You don’t have have to go far to see these opportunities. They are everywhere, and most people are too focused on other things to notice them. You may see it in a comment thread on your favorite blog, in a tweet or on Facebook. Here’s a sample script you can use:
Hi Samantha. I know you’ve been looking for someone to oversee the new commercial real estate project you mentioned a while ago. I have a colleague whose expertise is in that exact area and has a stellar track record. I’d be happy to connect you guys!
However you decide to structure your introduction message, remember to be brief and get to the point.
How Does This Help?
The best businesses thrive off of reciprocity. You are giving something freely that has incredible value to someone else, which means that you are bound to get that back in time. The more you connect, the bigger your reputation will get. You become the center of great advice and a trusted resource, simply by being observant and utilizing the people you already know.
That can translate into referrals and great word-of-mouth, which is still one of the best ways to grow a consistent pipeline of new clients, and best of all, satisfied and eager return customers.
Image via The Main
While the above four tips have different strategies, they have the same basic principle: Add value everywhere you can (for free). When your focus is on being a resource, clients inevitably end up coming to you.
Top image via The Main