Every meeting, site visit, phone call, email, client interface is teeming with moments to make the impression that counts, to build your firm’s reputation, to cement that relationship that encourages further work. Your job is to grab those moments and remind every client, every day, why they are glad to be doing business with you.
Here are three soft-skill strategies you can put into place immediately that will aid in your architecture and engineering firm’s marketing and business development efforts.
Think like an entrepreneur. Adjust your mindset to move from “task completion” to “how will what I am delivering help to build business?” Entrepreneurs are always focused on expanding opportunities, fulfilling needs, and encouraging next steps. More than simply progressing through the job phases, marketing and business development attitudes feature building a future together with the client, step-by-step, task-by-task, so that when the next job comes along, your firm is “the chosen one.”
Use “marketing” language. Add enthusiasm to your reports and remarks by selecting words and phrases that indicate how exciting is this project and this opportunity to work on it. Most people deliver information using flat descriptions and facts. Yes, that is highly credible and professional, and yet you can add some “zest” to your statements by using vocabulary borrowed from the fields of public relations and advertising. Replace regular descriptions or explanations laden with professional jargon with words that generate enthusiasm.
No: here are the parts of the next phase.
Yes: here are the features of the next phase.
No: thank you for your time so we could make these necessary decisions.
Yes: thank you for your commitment to this important decision-making effort.
Enthusiasm is contagious, so take each speaking opportunity to encourage clients and stakeholders to feel as invigorated about the project and progress as do you.
Be a valuable resource. Do – the little things that make the other guy’s job easier. Think – how can we do this better? Consider – what extra value can I bring to solving this problem? Be – at the ready with helpful contacts, information, research, strategies, ideas, procedures. Going the “extra mile” for your client and their stakeholders positions you and your firm in their thinking as the valuable resource they want to keep on their projects today and tomorrow.
It does not need take extra time to take key first steps to add a marketing component to daily-doing-your-job. It’s more a shift in mindset and paying attention to how to maximize every client interaction. Your firm will benefit from your expanded thinking and new approaches to broadened definition of project delivery.
ARE YOU AN EMPOWERED PROJECT MANAGER?
Knowing what it means to be an effective PM is often very different from how to be an effective PM, and when expectations of seller-doer miracles are piled on top of difficult conversations (ever had to tell a client “no”?), feelings of empowerment often fizzle flat. That’s why we’re here to help. PSMJ's complimentary e-book Guide to Empowering Project Management is designed to synthesize some of our most insightful and action-oriented advice for project managers.