In this blog post we shall look at reinforcing what we have discussed and installing what I see as the 12 key architectural marketing mindsets to lay the foundation for you & your architectural business.
After you watch this video you’ll have a foundational knowledge of marketing that 99% of your peers & competition won’t have!
In addition, if you find watching video better than reading an article simply scroll on down to the bottom as there is a video version of this blog post down there.
How you think about an area of business or success DETERMINES HOW YOU APPROACH IT.
If you have the wrong ideas about marketing, or the wrong expectations, you are very likely to make serious mistakes.
Mindsets act as rules or frames to think about a topic, in this case marketing.
So we before we go further and start getting into strategy & tactics of marketing we need to reboot a little.
And install some mindsets that will set the foundation and give us a solid footing to build upon.
It also means we will go in the right direction rather than learn a load of stuff that’s useless to us.
So let’s get going!
Most activities inside a business cost money, instead of making money.
Of the things that do make money, MARKETING MAKES THE MOST MONEY.
It re-prioritizes what you need to do every day.
Most of your efforts should be on the marketing.
I know a lot of you reading this will have read the E-Myth by Michael Gerber.
In that book he talks about working ON your business not working IN your business.
Marketing is working ON your business.
Peoples wants and desires with their projects change over time.
Priorities change as do trends.
Because marketing has to be in tune with all this it also changes.
Marketing is a living & breathing thing that grows over time.
It’s an ongoing process.
There will only be 3 major constants in the lifetime of your business: YOU, WHAT YOUR BUSINESS DOES & YOUR MARKETING.
Marketing doesn't begin with advertising, putting up a website, etc.
These are tactics.
Marketing begins with understanding your client.
This is the body upon which you place the clothes of advertising, websites, etc
Success in business begins with understanding the needs of your clients.
Most people start with some idea that they have or the service that they provide.
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY THE WRONG PLACE TO START.
Understanding who your client is involves multiple steps.
The foundation is usually guesswork.
You need to find out what is behind their thoughts even if they don’t know it themselves.
So, go out and ask them.
Join Facebook groups that have them as members and look at what they ask in those groups.
Look at what they complain about.
Look at what results they say they want.
Find out what drives them.
99% of architects try to convince their clients to hire them.
Instead GIVE THEM WHAT THEY NEED TO CONVINCE THEMSELVES to hire you instead.
Allow your clients the pleasure of finding a solution to their problem... so they can love to hire you.
Allow them feel the success that comes with solving a problem.
Spend the time to think like another person.
Make them feel they have discovered you all by themselves.
We do this by talking about specific solutions to specific problems NOT talking about our design services.
Marketing is "client getting."
Human beings don't make most decision consciously, although it appears to the decider that they are.
Brain scientists have found DECISIONS ARE MADE SEVERAL SECONDS BEFORE WE ARE CONSCIOUS OF IT.
This is called Confabulation – this is where our brain decides something and we then make up a story to make us feel that we made the decision and it is rational and sane.
Our brain is actually made up of 3 separate brains that evolved over millions of years.
We’ll be discussing this in the next blog post and how we should talk to these 3 brains.
But we have to be careful we don't cross your own ethical boundaries.
You can manipulate people with this stuff.
Yes, it’s that powerful.
Only use these tools when it's in the best interest of your prospects to do so.
We want them to take a step towards hiring you.
Maybe that’s click on an ad or give us their contact information or getting on the phone.
Everything we do in our marketing needs to have a call to action for the potential client to get to the next step with us.
We like to think that what we're doing is going to work, for sure.
Unfortunately, 90% of everything you are going to try in marketing WON’T WORK.
This causes us to continue unsuccessful marketing efforts and compound our failure rather than compound our success.
If you take the mindset that everything is a test, you watch what you do to see if it's working.
You have to have the expectation that many things won't work.
That’s just the nature of the beast.
But the ones that do work get used over and over again, and become winning (and very profitable) formulas.
Always test everything, watch and measure it always.
Running something like a business is about taking it seriously, measuring it, and making sure it actually works.
Most people run their marketing by intuition, not like a business.
WRITE DOWN THE RESULTS of everything like how many people saw your ad and how many clicked on it.
How many people visited your website and how many gave you their contact info.
Of all the people who saw your ad how many eventually became clients.
What is the average life time client value, in other words how much does your average client spend with you for the duration of your working relationship.
You need to know these numbers.
Have checks and measurement systems in place so you do.
This is about diving deep into their desires, fears, fantasies, pictures they make in their mind, where do they imagine themselves in the future, what words do they use in their heads, their aspirations, etc...
LEARN THE WORDS THEY USE TO DESCRIBE THEIR SITUATION.
When you understand them better than they understand themselves, you'll be able to develop deep relationships with them and offer them many products & services outside of your own.
This is the secret sauce to creating successful joint ventures with other complementary businesses.
You want to build a marketing system, so a client can come to you and get a consistent experience of learning about your services, why they need to hire you, the other offers you have to sell them, etc.
IT’S LIKE BUILDING A MACHINE.
In fact that’s exactly what it is.
This is a HUGE ONE for architects.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard an architect bitch and moan about the profession not being valued or respected then I’d be a billionaire.
It's not enough to have a service and say, “come and hire me”.
Potential clients have too much distraction, too many choices & too many options coming at them every minute of every day.
What clients need to make a decision is massive value.
You need to translate the value of what you're offering.
It needs to demonstrate how it will improve their lives.
You need to connect the dots and show them exactly how you'll solve their problem.
Humans are horrible at understanding what something is worth.
You need to take the lead and spell it out for them.
When people ask you what you do, answer "I'm a marketer, and I own an architectural practise."
BEING AN ARCHITECT IS LARGELY SECONDARY TO BEING A MARKETER.
Your potential clients will be attracted to your marketing not the service you provide.
They view your service as an obstacle to the results they want and they sure as hell don’t want to give you their money.
Marketing first, architecture second.
If you can’t handle that then get a job.
Find them physically and psychologically.
Behave in a way that makes them comfortable with you because you're meeting them where THEY are.
Expecting people to find us is a leftover from the job mindset.
Understand what they think the problem is and what they think the solution is.
Great marketing enters a conversation that’s already occurring in the prospects mind.
This is our entry point.
Your mindset determines how you perceive, think, decide and act.
Now that you’ve learned the 12 mindsets, it’s important that you consider which of them needs to be considered carefully to shift your own mindset – so you can succeed in your future as a successful marketer.
Ok, that finishes the marketing groundwork.
We’ve got rid of a lot of weeds with these first 2 blog posts and have built a solid footing for us to build on.
In the next blog post we will start looking at how screwed up we are as people.
In other words we’re going to take a deep dive into psychology.
If you find watching video easier that reading a blog post then this is for you!
My name is Declan Connolly, founder of Affluent Architect.
I’ve been designing homes since 2000.
I started my own practice in 2009.
And now I teach Architects from all over the world how to generate Custom Residential projects for their practices.
And after all that, I can safely say:
The ‘normal’ way of educating potential clients on the benefits of hiring an Architect…
...is NOT THE ANSWER to getting great clients & projects.
If that worked Architects wouldn’t find themselves in the constant battle of:
❌ Talking to people only interested in free advice…
❌ Writing proposals for people who only use them as a fee shopping exercise…
❌ Being underpaid & treated like a commodity…
These problems happen because Architects haven’t been taught something crucial:
How to articulate the value of their services in a way that impacts their clients on an EMOTIONAL level.
Instead, they try to ‘logically’ educate potential clients on:
❌ Reasons to hire an Architect…
❌ Project process…
❌ How they deliver their services, etc…
But high-quality clients don’t care about these things.
In fact, they view these things as OBSTACLES to them getting their new home.
It’s like when someone books a flight for a holiday.
They don’t care about the number of rivets in the plane & the stitching in the seats.
All they care about is enjoying their holiday at the end destination.
Similarly, all that matters to the potential client is the new home.
Along with all the lovely lifestyle benefits it will give them.
All the ‘logical’ based approach does is position Architects as a ‘set of plans to get the permit’.
So, here’s how we fix this.
My Architects attract creative residential projects with clients that pay top dollar for great design.
And the key to this is my proprietary A.V.I.D. Method (Articulate Value & Influence Design Method)...
…which creates marketing messages that emotionally connect with their potential clients.
This A.V.I.D. Method has been developed by trial & error in the real world since 2009.
And it’s the only method specific to the single-family residential market for Architects on the planet.
It’s enabled me & my Architect students to:
✅ Work with celebrity clients on their new home like Mark Owen from the pop band Take That...
✅ Work on jobs that have been featured on the TV Show Grand Designs…
✅ Work on homes worth as much as $18.75 million…
And the secret to this is something I learned when I was struggling to get decent projects for my practice.
I had hit a brick wall and decided to study how past Architects managed to do it.
And who better than Sir Norman Foster himself.
He got started in the high-tech industrial market.
Which is a super-competitive market against far bigger and more established firms.
Sir Norman Foster didn’t go and try and ‘logically’ educate potential clients.
Instead, he described what his target clients’ businesses would be like AFTER they built one of these buildings.
And once I applied this same principle to Custom Residential it completely changed the game for me.
Describing a potential client’s life AFTER they have built their new home is what gets their attention.
✅ It instantly creates trust & respect because we are describing what they really want...
✅ It creates an air of 'exclusivity' & ‘uniqueness’ around our services which clients pay more for...
✅ Defines who our target clients should be & where to find them…
However, it must be done in a certain sequence.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you on a special Case Study recording.
Where I show you how the A.V.I.D. Method works.
As well as how it creates my students’ marketing for them which saves a bunch of time.
This Case Study also shows you loads of examples of our students' marketing that is working like crazy in the Custom Resi market:
So, if you're sick and tired of being treated like a commodity...
And you want to finally work with appreciative clients who value what you do…
…get paid the fees that you deserve & have a great income for a change…
…and work on fulfilling creative jobs without sacrificing time with your family…
Then let’s get the A.V.I.D. Method working for your practice.