I’d like to thank Brian for commenting on my post “My Client doesn’t Understand Me” and asking for help:
What is the best, most concise description of what we do? (besides of course, draw pretty pictures and play with colors all day).
I have this conversation coming up with a client that hired a contractor then an interior designer and then me. They insist on holding the contracts, but I get the impression that they don’t know what that means, much less what they’re doing.
That may actually be another conversation altogether. But I need a short 3-5 sentence paragraph that will let them know the overall advantage of hiring an architect. It needs to succinctly answer the question “what do you do?”
Thanks for your question. I think it needs to be answered in two parts –
- What do architects do; and
- What will you do for this client?
The former has been covered by many official and unofficial documents where you can pick out succinct versions, for example:
The RIBA – unfortunately I can’t load the ‘Why Use an Architect” page on Architecture.com but here is a version from RIBA Worcestershire.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) “The Value of an Architect” pages.
The AIA Seattle “Why do you need an architect?” pages.
And here is my own attempt in a series of posts: What good architects do.
I’m sure others can provide you with more examples for inspiration. I’d be interested to see good examples.
However, even with the small amount of information we have about your client I would think this sort of language isn’t going to do the trick. I think you need to answer the question directly, from his perspective.
I would look at it this way.
Firstly – your client. What is his pain?
In other words – what is bothering him right now as he has to make this decision? What is he worried about?
Secondly – How do you in particular take that particular pain away? What do you do to make it better? This is the only benefit that he will be interested in right now.
Thirdly – Why should he use you to do this and not your competitors? What have you got to offer that they haven’t? And
Fourthly – Where is your credibility for everything you have answered so far? Where is the proof? The best way to answer this is to tell a story about a similar situation and what happened, and give the client the opportunity to speak to the client for whom you provided your excellent service.
You can shorten these answers into four sentences and come up with an elevator pitch specifically targeted at this client.
Fancy having a go?
Image: IBM Think D100 test by H. Michael Karshis