As an architect or builder you rarely have time to take a breath because the profession is demanding. But you may find yourself, like I have, taking a pause now that we are in the midst of a world crisis. Likely wondering, if and how it will affect your business.

You have probably experienced difficulties already, if you can build, progress is slow. If you are designing, clients are having second thoughts about spending money. Initially these setbacks are a little scary and can put you in a defensive position. If you do find yourself in this position step back for a second. Your first instinct may be to find new clients, but people are being very cautious about spending money right now. What could you do right now that would help serve your community and connect you with all the right people?

First things first, who are the right people? We’ll get back to the community project later.

Almost all of my clients are typically busier than they want to be. Is it possible that some of the work you are doing is not the kind of work you want to be doing anyway? Could this give you a chance to step and reevaluate how and why you are attracting a specific clientele.

What can you do now for your business that would give you the best return on investment of your time. Here’s my recommendation:

1. Examine your business objectively. What kind of people do you want to be working with?

2. Make a list of people who are your brand ambassadors.

3. Organize a community service project.

 

 

EXERCISE:

 

1. Examine your current clients:

 

List all of your current and previous clients for the last five years and give them a grade from A to F.

Make a list of the attributes your A clients have like: good communication, pays on time, doesn’t haggle your price, appreciates your expertise, appreciates good design, is a pleasure to be around. Then order those from most important to least important.

This is your Ideal Client profile.

How do you find them?

Start with your existing clients and note their profession, interests, demographics.

 

2. Make a list of people who are your brand ambassadors.

 

For architects and builders these connectors could be:

Interior Designers
Builders
Architects
Realtors
Landscape Architects
Lighting Designers
Interior Decorators
Art Gallery Owners
Involved parents (PTA)
Lawyers
Bankers
Doctors
Luxury Car Sellers
Politicians
Boutique shop owners (hotels, home decor, furniture, jewelry, wine, high-end clothing)

The best Ideal Clients are also Brand Ambassadors; they are connectors. They recommend you because their experience with you was amazing and they want their friends and connections to benefit in the same way. These people like to have dinner parties, organize events, are active in their community. The book The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is probably the best reference for what a connector can do for a business:

“Connectors are the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. They usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles. They are people who “link us up with the world…people with a special gift for bringing the world together”. They are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [… for] making friends and acquaintances”.

Gladwell characterizes these individuals as having social networks of over one hundred people. He attributes the social success of Connectors to the fact that “their ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy”.

How to connect with your brand ambassador connectors?

 

Usually I recommend that my clients make a list of 12 people who fit the list, they may be friends of a friend or a client. They could be a parent in your kids school. Ask people you know who they think should be on your list.

If you don’t know them, follow them on social media, comment on their posts, develop a relationship and then reach out directly. Then make contact with one every month.
However, we are in unprecedented times. Everyone is home, thinking about business

Then what?

 

3. Organize a community service project.

 

Make a list of your 12 best connectors, your networking dream team, and ask them if they want to participate in a community  service project. You could adopt a firehouse and provide first responders with things they need, collaborate on a community art project, you could put together care packages for a nursing home.

How does this help you? Beyond the obvious reasons of good karma, helping your community, and providing something that is of need now, this is all the networking you need to do for the year. People are more open right now to participating in something. This could give you a chance to meet all of your brand ambassadors in one go. Even if they don’t want to participate, you’ve made contact with them and you are now top-of-mind for the future.

Everyone is thinking about shelter-in-place. Architects and Builders are the experts on Shelter, you are uniquely positioned to talk about it. What can you offer to the conversation that is helpful? Maybe the project is something built for the community.

Real world example: The People’s Planters

 

I have been working on a community project now for 6 months for the downtown plaza of Taos, NM. The garden club built planters a decade ago that are full of weeds and falling apart. I proposed organizing a community garden program that would integrate after school programs for children.

I’ve secured grants through several foundations and am lining up contractors, graphic designers, gardeners, volunteers and artists to put it all together. I am not putting any money into it, just my time. The networking has been invaluable. Even though my home town is not where my Ideal Client hangs out I wanted to know how things got done here because I love my town. I want the community to thrive because that is what makes living here magical.

The project is happening very slowly, but that’s ok, for me it is about meeting the people who make things happen. Here are the details of the project below, feel free to copy the idea, it’s a good one. 

 

Free Workshop

 

I’ll be giving a free virtual workshop in the next month addressing marketing in a time of crisis. I’d love to brainstorm some ideas if you need help identifying your ideal clients or want to put together your own community project.

If you are interested in attending send me an email melissa@dwellingcreative.com.

Best of luck and be well. I’m rooting for you.

Cheers, Melissa

If you are interested in more information about how to attract High Quality clients, check out our services page here or setup a:

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