How To Communicate the Value of an Architect
I speak with or communicate online with small firm architects almost every day. I want to know with what members of our small firm community are struggling, so that we at EntreArchitect might develop resources to help you build a better business.
I send an email to every new subscriber at our free weekly newsletter, EntreArchitect Report and ask the question, “With what do you struggle the most?”
One of the most popular responses to my inquiry is how to communicate the value of an architect. Here is one response I received from a recent subscriber named Phil;
“I struggle with how to effectively educate our prospective clients on what exactly we do as architects. How do we justify our fee when others are charging much less? We are providing much more than our competition, but the prospect does not see the difference among their options. They only see the bottom line.”
Do you struggle with this same issue? I know you do. We all experience this problem at one time or another.
As with many small firm architects, I struggled with this issue as well.
Our Perceived Value
At my firm, we found the solution to the “value of an architect” communication problem in understanding our perceived value in the mind of our clients. Success followed when we matched our market with the perceived value of our services. If the perception of our value is equal to those who are charging much less, then we have a problem. When perceived value is equal among offers, the market will seek the lowest cost every time.
When perceived value is equal among offers, the market will seek the lowest cost every time.
The way my firm solves this problem here in the New York metro area (a very competitive market for residential additions and alterations) is to focus on the experience of clients rather than the services we provide.
We work hard to differentiate ourselves from others in the market. Every firm is expected to have exceptional design skills. We all design and prepare drawings ready for a building permit.
If we focus our value on design and drawing, it is difficult for the prospect to see any difference between Fivecat Studio and any other architect in our region.
Match Your Market
Having focused on serving a very specific target market allows us to fully understand what the people in our market need and want. We know what they expect and what we can do to be perceived as different… and better.
From our prospective clients’ point of view, Fivecat Studio is offering something different from the others.
Focused on a market of “growing Westchester County families seeking healthy happy homes”, we clearly differentiate ourselves by managing our clients’ pain and working to make the process of residential architecture fun and memorable. We manage their experience. We are perceived as a guide, leading them through the storm of residential design and construction. Design and drawing are our tools. Successfully guiding them through a potentially painful experience is our service.
When compared to others, it’s hard to see us as equal. When we are matched with the right market seeking what we are offering, we are perceived as different and see success over and over again.
Question: How do you communicate the value of an architect?
Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Sunny Studio