Maintaining strong backlog, sustaining profitability, finding and keeping top talent...just some of the priorities that are top-of-mind with today’s A/E/C firm leaders.
But what really makes a great leader? More than managing people or projects or finances, great leaders can truly inspire and motivate others to perform at their peak.
Of course, knowing what to do is the first step towards being an effective principal. Here are six business strategies architecture or engineering firm leaders can apply today to keep their firms on track.
1. Realize that there is a finite supply of clients. There is a growing realization that every client and prospect must be treated with extraordinary respect and care. As the value of each client is appreciated, there will be less cold calling, less telemarketing, and fewer high pressure tactics.
2. Make time your most valuable asset. In effect, time has run out in business. There are fewer people working longer hours. As a result, both the office and home is demonstrating a fortress mentality. Access is more limited and controlled through the automated attendant and voice-mail systems. The opportunities focus on attention-getting techniques, ways to get a message through the seemingly impenetrable cocoons protecting today's clients.
3. Learn to live with the extended buying cycle. Buying decisions are taking longer because no one wants to make a mistake. Clients want to get the most for their money and they will invest more time researching even small purchases. Opportunities to make more sales exist for those who let the client set the buying pace.
4. Use knowledge as the ultimate in client service. The definition of quality client service is changing. Everyone assumes the order will be correct, that it will be delivered on time and that any problems will be taken care of quickly. The most important way to delight today's clients is to offer them knowledge to improve the quality of their lives or be a business resource. Using knowledge to assist the client is the best way to separate a firm from the competition.
5. Make an effort to motivate the client, not the marketer. Clients are showing an increasing reluctance to want to see the marketers, have less time for presentations and are far better informed. Marketers become highly motivated when they have prospects. Leads are the primary motivation for successful selling.
6. Manage prospects effectively. Most lost business falls through the cracks. It's the inability to manage prospects successfully. Marketers know who they are going to see tomorrow and next week. But what about the follow-up on last week's calls or those made 45 days ago, or even a year ago? Since the mind of everyone in selling focuses on "hot prospects," everything else is pushed aside. And this is where the competition manages to get the business. Staying in touch is the key; constant follow-up is required. All this happens by having an easy-to-use, convenient contact management system in place.
Whether you believe that great leaders are born or built, every current and future architecture or engineering firm leader can benefit from opportunities to refine their skills and test drive their leadership chops on real-world case studies and hands-on exercises alongside coaches who’ve been there. They can develop by staying close to those who have been there and learning from the seasoned experts. They develop by attending PSMJ’s A/E/C Principals Bootcamp.
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