Who Are The Clients You’d Like To Have

Every architect has some favorite clients. They are clever, receptive to suggestions, and keenly want to build what you design exactly. Most of them share many of your views. They usually tell what their needs are, making it easy to fulfill with your architectural skills. It is the first lever (Product/Service) of the marketing mix.

With other clients, everything is a fight. They are always in a hurry, and they insist on solutions that cause more problems than they solve. Finally, they “enhance” your architecture without respect for bare common sense.

Prospective clients find some architects' websites very helpful

The Good And The Bad Clients For Architects

The first type of client is a partner, and the other is a bully. Although we learn the client is always right, it’s not right to endure.

But I don’t think the bad design is a choice. Nobody wants an ugly house. I think it is a matter of communication.

Most likely, the bad client is a problem solver. He always makes quick decisions, figures out solutions, and implements them. It’s his receipt for the success. That is, he gets the job done. It’s only about to be the first.

The good client is rather an exception. It’s either good chemistry or excellent education. Sometimes the planets align. The good clients are travelers who enjoy the journey as much as arriving at the destination. They take the chance to introspect, leaning on design.

Why don’t you grow your good clients? Educate!

Whatever the good clients do, this is a habit that can be taught. That is, you can teach your audience to do the same.

Back in time, marketing was merely advertising. You had to interrupt people to transmit your message. We call this outbound marketing now.

But you don’t have to pretend you’re welcome in people’s lives anymore. Your teachings will just have to be there. Sometimes, you can push them in front of the right people.

We live in the 21st Century. That is, everybody is out there at a click distance. What is behind that click makes the difference.

All clicks are gates to information. Most of the time, it is not the information you are looking for. Many times it is nothing but crappy information. But sometimes it’s exactly what you’re looking for, and something more. Creating content that attracts visitors to your website it’s called inbound marketing.

Did you notice that I wrote “looking for information” in the paragraph above? Many times we click links out of curiosity. This is why publishers use baits titles to provoke our curiosity. It’s the same way we are pointing a laser at cats. But often, we are searching for information on specific topics. It’s called documentation. We want to get deep knowledge, sometimes trivially, but sometimes to solve a problem.

It’s not only me, but it’s a great satisfaction to also learn something new each time that extends the knowledge I already try to get.

A Silly Example

Let me give you an example. Imagine you don’t know much about Mathematics. You try to add 2+2+2+2+2. You get the answer, 10. But what if you could learn that you could ask what makes 2×5?

I know, it’s a silly example. But it illustrates how people gladly learn when they have no pressure to do it. Another way, they are reluctant when someone tries to show them the right way.

If you try to teach people multiplication, you should anticipate their search for multiple additions.

Architectural design is not something that our clients learn in school. They know extremely little about our services.

It is like all they know is 2+2+2+2+2. But we want to talk with them about prime numbers. We have to teach them multiplication. Then how to make divisions. Then we have to explain that some numbers are divisible only by one and by themselves.

Good clients know what a prime number is. But the others have to be taught.

Now, A Real Example

In my country, people can still buy a plot of land, hire architects to design their homes, get building permits, and build them. In many other places, this is the job of developers.

But to buy a plot is kinda tricky. A good plot should have a certain geometry, minimal dimensions, be in a zone with a certain code, etc. A few articles that help the buyers to discern between a good plot and a plot that might not get a construction permit are the hook that let me provide even more valuable information.

All those potential clients keep reading my blog. They get deeper and deeper into the secrets of building their own house. They are finding out about permits, structures, energy efficiency, how to find and hire a construction company, how to negotiate prices, and how to check the building quality. I also guide them to contemporary architecture. That is, I love to design green flat-roof homes with functional plans.

This way, all my clients are good clients. But the best thing is the trust I earn by providing valuable information to them. Everybody is welcome to text or phone me. They can visit my office for a consultation.

Sometimes it takes months, if not a whole year, between the first contact and the moment they buy the land and contract me to design their house.

I have done this for almost 20 years. I don’t know if I am the first architect to do that. Now I am not the only one. Many colleagues are now writing and educating the public. But I noticed the clients are better and better educated. After all, I had hundreds of thousands of visitors reading my blog posts during these years.

Although I might be the first to try to educate the public in my country, I have proof this is an old method.

Great Marketing For Architects During The XIXth Century

By pure luck, I found those two books. The author was an American architect, Henry Louis Gibson.

The first book is “Convenient Houses.” That is, he wrote an excellent book about Functionalism before the term was coined.

If you were an American these years, making enough money to afford to build a good house, this was the book you would want to read. It doesn’t matter in which country you lived, and these were some damn good advice.

First of all, he wrote that nobody should consider building a house without bathrooms, WC, and water plumbing. He kept advising on the proper connection between the rooms. A house should be easily maintained and cleaned. The dining room, the kitchen, and the parlor should be placed in the right place. The bedrooms were upstairs to be separated by the noises of the ground floor.

The book has great advice for each type of space, from the porch to the closets. Everything is properly illustrated.

The construction costs are exemplified by bills of quantities.

The second book is a pledge for the aesthetics of the houses. He eloquently argued there are no extra costs for beauty but only benefits.

I am sure this amazing author spent years writing and illustrating the books. He was limited by the number of copies that could reasonably be printed.

It’s Kinda Simply

Nowadays, we don’t have to spend years writing a book to educate our future clients as Gibson did. We can start now and see the results almost immediately. We just need to have an effective marketing strategy and a good marketing plan.

Yes, we can do it post-by-post. We can write or make YouTube videos. We just have to imagine how we can help the good clients we want. Architects just have to help their prospective clients publish content following a process-based (or project-based) marketing logic backed up by process-based services.

Right now, somebody is googling “What are the minimal dimensions of a house plot.” It took me only a few hours to publish a post that contained the information that a person desperately needed. And that was a few years ago, but his posts keep sending me good clients.

Your ideal client is typing other questions in Google’s search bar. She might not find a clear, proper answer. Although she will figure it out eventually and even end up working with you, she will not be a good, trusty client. Why would she? You didn’t help her when she needed it.

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