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Lead Generation For A Small Architecture Firm
11/16/2012 at 4:01 PM ET
I'm newly employed as a marketing specialist for a mid-sized architecture firm. One of the identified areas for improvement is to increase the number of quality leads. This will lead to more bid proposals, and thus, secure more work.
This is not my area of expertise, Although I have experience as a sales rep, making cold calls and doing research on possible leads. I am new to the architecture design industry and am trying to develop the most efficient way of generating quality leads. I have an understanding of research tools such as IBISworld and Hoovers, but my company currently does not have access to these journals (access could be granted if deemed helpful).
Any clues on how to go about this? The directors currently network throughout the target markets much as possible, but they can only know so many people.
Target markets are mainly Higher Education, Healthcare, and Recreation/ Fitness Centers. WHERE can I find info on these markets?
Thanks for any help you can provide!
11/16/2012 at 4:19 PM
I'll wade in here. Because you don't need any software for this. Indeed, it works better when you don't.
Take a look at your client list and make a matrix of the following:
Make a matrix with each client running down the spreadsheet. Across the top put the questions. Answer the questions in a broad kind of way, and as you get to the bottom you might want to start again because you have learned something about what you think and how you describe your answers. **This is not hard and fast. It is powerful - but relies on your own insights. It will give you a very good idea of where you are headed**
(1) What do you like about them? (Not just their smile or Armani suit).
(2) What do you not like about them
(3) Costs incurred with them (if this is available - or just fudge an answer if you *feel* like they cost money, just put expensive!).
(4) Money made through them (ditto to 3)
(5) quality of relationship
(6) their appreciation factor (they like what you do - or are always complaining)
Plus anything that comes to your mind.
Run through it quickly with colored markers and a pattern will emerge. Colors will focus on one or two qualities. These are your leverage points. Because this is all in the touchy-feely realm, computers can't do this too well. Plus just doing it is an eye-opener in itself. Even if you aren't confident in this, do it just the same. By the time you get to the end you will have gotten a feeling of what you are about. That in itself is enough to justify having done the exercise.
If this info is not to hand, then use your imagination in the mean time. It will give you insights into the business and its structure that you won't get elsewhere.
One thing I want you to look out for is what you and your business *don't* do. I'll tell you why later.
To your success,
11/16/2012 at 4:23 PM
Oh, and doing cold calling - that has to be the pits. There are way better things to do with your valuable time.
There are ways to get your clients begging you to get your phone number.
11/16/2012 at 4:27 PM
You gave me some very good insight on what to do with my current client list. However, I am looking to generate more leads. Do you have any ideas on an efficient way to generate leads in my industry. Keep in mind we design multimillion dollar buildings for clients. Therefore, In order to gain an edge on a possible project, we need to develop and build relationships with those individuals who are responsible for the proposal of the project.
11/16/2012 at 4:28 PM
What are these ways you speak of?
11/16/2012 at 4:46 PM
Actually the answer is in the Matrix. Because in running through this you will discover the qualities that all your best clients have.
This is essential. What is more, it isn't hard and takes perhaps an afternoon. You don't need to be exhaustive, because this is the sort of thing you can refine later.
I have a campaign running right now for my business with the keyword "Louis Armstrong".
Well, this is the power of looking at things sideways. All my best clients like jazz music, and Louis came out as my favorite, so he got the go-ahead.
What you need to do is find out WHO YOUR BEST CLIENTS are. (Hence the matrix). They will have some form, shape. You are an architecture bureau, that means a specific kind of person. Aim all your advertising at them. And them alone. Refine it to the clients that your bureau likes (and handles) best.
With that you can tailor ads just for them - and them alone.
There are a dozen other things you can do as well - not one of which is taught at university. Several of them are Moriarty Originals - the matrix is derived from Howie Jacobson's Checkmate course - only I use it in a far more general way than he does. With far more power too!
Your first task is to sort out your matrix. Everything I do starts with that.
Once you have done that, you will get 10x the value from everything I say to you. Okay? Over to you!!
Oh, and believe me, you will make discoveries with it that will blow you away. That is a guarantee.
PS as to your last question ... you aren't going to like this. You make yourself hard to get. This has two advantages - the ones who want you will find you, the ones who just want to demand you work to their price find the gate locked. Do the matrix first, it will be a lot clearer why I say this then. Have fun, but do set an anchor just in case ;-)
11/16/2012 at 5:06 PM
11/16/2012 at 8:02 PM
it seems to me you are asking several questions. One question is: how can you develop a list of companies in your target market without paying for subscriptions? Another question is, how can you turn that list of companies into leads, and eventually paying customers.
Regarding developing lists: begin by describing your target companies by SIC/NAICS code, geography, and size of company (I prefer using number of employees rather than revenues). I would suggest that you begin with a trip to your local county library. Library sometimes had surprisingly good databases, both online and in print.
Regarding lead generation: the bad news is: this takes time and money. It will take a series of contacts over time (telephone calls, letters, postcards, e-mails) to position your company as an alternative supplier.
in addition to generating new opportunities, you might think about what you can do to empower your existing sales reps and other company employees to leverage existing contacts. For example, make sure they have business cards, reference letters, statements of capability, and other sales tools.
Also, my general advice will work for many companies. But be sure to get some advice from Carol Blaha here on the forum. She has more experience in your industry than I do. Good luck.
11/16/2012 at 9:08 PM
To generate more leads, is always better if you attract prospects then having to go out in the market to search for them. The second option is costly and and could bring good leads, bad leads, or none at all.
In your case, I would definitely use an attract strategy becoming a reference company in your field. That means you would create content and distribuite it among social media, e-mail lists and wherever you think it could reach the right people. It could be a newsletter with tips, information, photos etc. It could be an technical article or have like "10 great ideas to improve your space". Some of these contents, depending on how good they are, can become viral meaning people will read it, like it and forward to other people. This type of thing creates new leads all the time in a daily basis and when they call you, they will already be interested in doing business with you.
11/17/2012 at 12:09 AM
Thanks to Telemoxie!
I do have a lot of experience in architectural marketing.
You have some good advice about Reed -- the less expensive one is bidalert. They will give you information when a project is in the pre-plan stage. they will also give information when RFP's are out for an architect.
You already know your niches, no further research required. And what wonderful niches you have. These are very dynamic markets, very unaffected by the economy ups and own.
Develop your plan with several tactics.
One, support larger firms.
Very large firms that specialize in your niches are always looking for local support. Like HOK for sporting venue, OLC for recreation. Reach out to the industry leaders in your field and collaborate with them.
And yes, you'll cold call them. But you are their peers. There is nothing wrong with cold calling, I'd never have what I have without cold calling. You are in sales, what is the big deal.
Next, find who is the largest in your niches in the market you want to trade in. Catholic Hospitals for medical for example. They will provide national work, and again, if you loose a job out of your area, the awarded firm will be looking for someone local.
Start touting your horn. Start getting into trade mags, as press releases about work you have done. Build a relationship with the press to get the word out for you.
What is the largest hospital in the area, the largest school, there really isnt an easy answer. It's going to take some leg work but if you do it consistantly, it will happen. Again, you have a very dynamic niche. Yes the directors network and obviously with good results. Imagine what is going to happen with a full time person doing this.
While I know it's not easy, its amazing simple-- good daily marketing habits in the field like this, will have you tellling your employer in a very short time that you have justified yourself into a raise
Sell Well and Prosper tm
11/21/2012 at 6:32 AM
I would consider events. Generating new leads online is difficult. You can follow trends and enhance SEO through quality content throughout the Architecture industry (new sites, blogs etc) which is vital in developing your business and awareness of your services, but an event at the heart of you campaign will establish a following by showing you are serious.
Through events, you can advertise your services; sponser corporate dinners and conferences, make an appearance at exhibitions, host a video that shows the drawing processes AND host an event thats designed around the complexities of Architecture.
A querky theme that concentrates on technique and maths and firm experience will draw the right audiences in.
Baisically, once you have your target audiences down, you can find where they are and what they are interested in through the web. Then you can make an appearance through the brand by haveing an association with these places and interests.
11/21/2012 at 9:46 AM
Events is a valid idea. I'd focus on the USGBC, and any trade org within your niche. Trade orgs within your niche are hard to come by. But sometimes they have national and local shows. There are however , green hospital and green education group such as
-- the green school initiative and orgs for hospitals like
-- click on the sister site, you'll be lead to the list of adminsitrators.
Also I mentioned Catholic Hospitals, another large hospital firm is Kaiser. Kaiser considers themselves a leader in building green, specifically avoiding PVC in construction
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