As an architecture student we had been told that if we did great work, we would never need to market our services. We surely had been taught to design great buildings but the business side of the architectural practice was never mentioned in the school.
Once graduated most of us are neither ready nor prepared for our profession in the sense of creating a successful business.
So what happens with most of the architects at the initial phase of their professional journey?
Most architects are passionate about their work and they love doing fulfilling projects with their heart and soul but they never earn the money they want. One reason is, being good at something isn’t nearly enough if you don’t know how to “do” the business itself.
The clients take advantage of their desperate situation by complaining about higher fees and expect free site visits and sketches. So these architects are constantly underpaid and undervalued for great work.
A business is all about creating wealth and not aware of selling themselves as a brand and their services are the biggest problem here.
Why is selling important?
We are all selling something to someone to make money.
Here as we all know we are not selling a product but we are selling a service to provide a solution to the problem. So architecture business is about selling high-value professional services
Architecture is a business and like any other business, you need to sell and market your services. To thrive in this business you need to know sales and marketing as good as you know architecture.
Earlier “marketing” was entirely based on reputation and word of mouth. If you do good work, people would see it or hear about it from other people.But things have changed, the industry has evolved and operating a successful firm these days requires more marketing than ever. Firms have to constantly search for new opportunities to win new projects which can only be done by promoting their designs and marketing their company.
Those who know how to sell or influence are only a handful and they know they have a huge advantage. But not everyone is a natural salesperson; however, like any other skill this skill is also learnable and this should be made part of any professional education.
With a significant shift in the industry, firms are not only competing with one another for work but competing with other industries also which are indirectly linked to this industry like builders and developers, furniture industry etc. Even with this change, many architects still did not overcome their reluctance to sell themselves. At its heart, architecture is a service industry, yet architects are struggling hard to differentiate between passion and business.
Conclusion: To make architecture as a successful business, architects need to learn business strategies and need to know how to sell themselves as a brand and their services as premium services.
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