12 Success Tips for Architecture and Engineering Firms
Selling architectural services is difficult in today's competitive market. To stay on top, you must nurture your relationship with clients. You also need to use the right tools and develop a good marketing plan.
With over 40,000 firms selling architectural services in Australia, it's a very crowded market. It doesn't matter if you have experience or if you're only getting started. To succeed in this business, there are many important things you have to do right.
Here you'll find 12 expert tips on how to turn your architecture or engineering firm into a success. Each of these four sections covers one key aspect of your work. It's all here – from setting up your company to marketing strategies for architecture firms.
Building your own business from the ground up is a difficult endeavour. Yet staying competitive in today's tough market is even more laborious.
These first three tips will help you get started on your architecture business development plan.
Tip #1 – Set Your Goals
Before you start working, you need to figure out what it is that you want to do. This means identifying the types of projects that interest you the most. You may like these projects either because you find them challenging or because they will make you a lot of money.
But finding architectural projects is not easy, so you'll also have to do some work you don't find particularly challenging. This is especially true if you're new to the business. Think of these as mere stepping stones to your ultimate goal. After a while, you'll build a strong reputation and get to be more selective when picking your projects.
Tip #2 – Build a Strong Team
In architecture, like in any other line of work, you're only as strong as the people you work with. That's why it's important to gather a strong team of goal-oriented individuals. If you lack professional experience, finding a mentor will give you the jump-start you need.
Opening up internship positions for students and other newcomers is also a good idea. As a rule, these young people will do their best to deliver high-quality work. What's more, some of them may even become great future team members.
Tip #3 – Talk to Industry Insiders
No matter how competitive the industry is, people still like to share their know-how with others. Take advantage of this fact to learn more about the business. Reach out to your contacts who work in other architecture and engineering firms.
They will often provide valuable advice, especially when you're starting out. Moreover, their help may also prove beneficial in getting your first architecture client.
Tools to Use
To deliver your best work, you have to find the right tools to use. Look at different types of digital design software and find the one you feel most at home with. Also, take time to learn how to use all the different features that will make your work even better.
These next three tips are all about digital design software.
Tip #4 – Create 3D Models
Visualisation is a technique you must adopt if you want to succeed in this business. After all, finding architectural clients will be easier if you show them exactly how you plan to carry out the project. The right choice of 3D modelling software will help you achieve this.
Unlike 2D modelling, this technique also allows you to spot all the flaws in your design early on. As such, you can deal with any possible mistakes in time and get better results in the end.
Tip #5 – Use Rendering Software
After you've created a 3D model of your project, you also have to polish it using rendering software. While visualisation gives your client a look at your design, rendering puts it in perspective.
This technique may also save you a lot of time. A great 3D render will usually get you the client's go-ahead fast. It will thus make selling architectural services much easier for you.
Tip #6 – Switch to Building Information Modelling
Building information modelling (BMI) software is becoming the new standard in the industry. The main reason is that it gives you plenty more options than the standard 3D modelling software.
Revit, the leader in BIM software, allows you to sync your 2D drawings with your 3D models. Furthermore, it also lets you plan your resources in the early stages of the project. That's why switching from AutoCAD to Revit will help your firm in the long run.
Now that you're ready to go, it's time to start selling architectural services to clients. But finding clients is not easy, especially in the current market.
The next three tips will help you find work opportunities for your architecture or engineering firm. You'll also learn how to seal the deal with prospective partners.
Tip #7 – Build a List of Contacts
The longer you are in the business, the more contacts you'll make. After a while, you'll have a sizable contacts list to work with. But it's not enough to just make contacts: you also have to cultivate them.
Keep track of your relationship with the contacts on your list. If they're not already your clients, find out how you can turn them into clients. Get to know all your contacts and make note of what their top concerns are. This will allow for easier communication and better client satisfaction.
Tip #8 – Be Persistent
No matter how well you prepare for it, the first meeting with new clients won't always get you a deal. But that doesn't mean that your pitch wasn't good. Chances are your prospective client needs more assurance before they put their name on the contract.
All you need to do is be forthcoming. Focus on the positives and look at how you can adjust the pitch to be more in line with the client's expectations. This will also help you build trust, which is one of the hallmarks of a successful partnership.
Tip #9 – Look for Work Online
In today's technological world, a physical portfolio can only take you so far. To be visible to clients looking for architects, you need to have an online presence, too. LinkedIn is a social media platform designed for professionals. It allows clients to find you, see your detailed bio, and look at examples of your prior work.
You can register for free and then fill out your profile details. Make your profile as informative as you can. Otherwise, if a client sees an incomplete profile, they'll take it as a sign that you won't see your business projects through, either.
A good marketing strategy is essential for any company that wants to succeed. The same rule applies to marketing for architects and designers, too.
These final three tips will explain how to sell architectural designs and reach prospective clients.
Tip #10 – Cultivate Leads
Lead generation is a tried and true marketing strategy. Many industry professionals have put it to use in the past to great results. Nowadays, you can hire marketing specialists to do this for you.
They'll either go the old route and call people on the phone or do it online. The latter involves setting up a website with a form that visitors need to fill out if they're interested in your services. Of course, not every lead you generate this way will result in a deal. But at least you'll have a large pool to pull from.
Tip #11 – Keep Up with the Times
The times are changing fast and you need to keep up with them. In the last few years, we've seen many innovations in architecture and engineering. These include virtual reality, as well as building information modelling.
No matter how good your current work is, they will help you take it to the next level. So, to stay ahead of the competition, you need to adopt these new technologies. After all, the quality of your services plays the key part in a client’s decision to hire you.
Tip #12 – Use Social Media
You've already read about how LinkedIn can help you find work in the industry. But there are many other social media platforms that are perfect for architects and engineers. For example, both Instagram and Pinterest are visual social networks. You can use them to build an impressive portfolio your prospective clients can access at any given time.
Furthermore, well-planned social media campaigns can help put your name out there to the millions of people who use these platforms. Nothing says you do great work like good word of mouth. This will make finding architectural clients a whole lot easier.
The success of your architecture or engineering firm depends on a lot of factors. You have to work with the right people and use the right tools. Furthermore, you need to have a strong marketing plan. Finally, you must always be on the lookout for prospective clients and cultivate strong professional relationships.
If you're looking for ways to improve your work, ArchiStar Academy can help you. ArchiStar Academy has a variety of digital design software programs at the best prices you will find. ArchiStar Academy also offers several courses that will help you excel at different aspects of the business. You'll find courses in digital design, as well as sales and marketing. Contact ArchiStar Academy right now and make the first step on your road to success.
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Posted on 20 Jan 2020