by Richard Petrie
Networking for architects is vitally important. But what if you are an introvert or do not have a system to follow? No problem; in this article, I will give you what you need to attract the clients you want.
First, let’s look at types of interaction in order of impact:
- Face-to-face meeting
- Phone call
The reason face-to-face meetings are so much more powerful is because they are more emotional.
Have you ever had a meeting with someone you originally felt you were not going to hire but, shortly after the start of the meeting, you warmed to the person and changed your opinion?
It’s likely that something happened in that meeting that turned you around.
You found rapport.
Rapport is king
You have a greater chance of gaining rapport face-to- face, and rapport is king. We all know what rapport feels like, but few can define it. You need to be a master of rapport to win projects. If you cannot gain rapport with people, you will not win as many jobs as you deserve.
Here is why: Rapport leads to liking and trust. Liking someone is good, but trust is the key. We may like someone at first, but unless trust develops, we stop. Even if I don’t like you, I may trust you and could then still hire you.
Either way, people will tend to like and trust you when you build rapport.
Now here is the key to rapport … are you ready? An emotional connection! Say that out loud.
That is the secret, I promise. When you and another person feel the same way, you have a magic called rapport. You feel the connection, you think alike and sometimes can even know what the other person is thinking.
Think of rapport as matching a person’s emotional frequency, like tuning a radio. Once you hit the right frequency, then everything starts to flow between you; this can happen right from the first meeting.
Okay, so how do you tune in quickly?
Here are some quick tips:
Ask how they are feeling about the project.
When they tell you, then feel that way, too. If that sounds like a stretch, try incorporating the next suggestions and you’ll find it’s easier than you expected.
Mirror their body language. Body language drives emotions. Chances are, if you are using your body like they are then you will feel what they are feeling.
Have the intention of connecting with them.
Practice on someone you know. Practice does help, and gaining rapport can become easier.
At this writing, I am set to charge a financial company $1,500 for a 2-hour workshop on this topic, but that will be money well spent because that business WILL win more deals when their sales people win more rapport.
I can guarantee it.
Now that we have rapport sorted, we need an elevator pitch and a way to meet people.
Calibrate your elevator pitch
Fortunately, calibrating your elevator pitch to the clients you want is also easy.
Here’s what NOT to do:
‘HI, MY NAME IS RICHARD AND I AM AN ARCHITECT.’
Labeling yourself as an architect is bundling yourself into a sea of architects.
Say this out loud:
“Sell the problems you solve, not the service.”
Did you say it out loud? Okay then, say it again because this is the psychological game-changer that most architects don’t know.
Let’s say I specialize in designing medical clinics, but I remember what I was taught by good old Richard — that I am a marketer of medical practices design first and a medical practice designer second (if I don’t do part one well, then there is no part two).
So, with my marketing hat firmly pulled on, I now remember that I “sell the problems I solve, not the service.” I list the pains my target clients are experiencing; for example:
- Current clinic looks old and tired;
- A flashy new practice down the road has opened;
- Partners don’t feel proud of their workspace anymore;
- Losing clients to the flashy new practice.
Here is what I could say:
- I am an architect (commodity);
- I am an architect who specializes in medical practices (better);
- I am an architect who specializes in transforming dated medical practices into ones that attract clients and build a winning brand (BEST).
Notice how, in example 3, I describe myself based on the problem I solve, not on the service I offer.
By knowing how to how to gain rapport quickly and position yourself as a problem solver for your clients’ number one pain, you can now have fun in a social setting by becoming the magnetic professional with the X factor.
‘Sell the problems you solve, not the service.’
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