Editorial: Marketing strength comes from passion for your work

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By Mark Buckshon

Here are observations excerpted from Construction Marketing Ideas: Practical Strategies and Resources to Attract and Retain Profitable Clients for Your Architectural, Engineering Or Construction Business

Imagine, for a moment, the perfect world where you and all of your employees truly enjoy your work. Everyone starts the day with enthusiasm; you are not thinking of the time clock, or bi-weekly bank deposit; you are simply, totally and passionately immersed in your work.

The perfect world – following your strengths

            In this world, your clients would be amazed by the skills of your staff, work quality, and capacity. They will want want to give you plenty of additional work, or perhaps even join your organization as joint venture partners or employees. You’ve achieved marketing and business perfection.

            This dream-come true situation occurs more often than you might expect. You may have experienced a similar high in the early stages of your organization, or when you were working on the dream project. It’s often apparent in successful, fast-growing businesses like Google, or among teams of craftspeople, who each day celebrate life with their passion and love of their work.

An architectural success story

To illustrate, Diane Valenti, director of marketing and business development at JMWA Architects in Boca Raton, Florida, tells her firm’s story. Interviewed for an article in the SMPS Marketer about Public-Private Partnerships (P3), Valenti explained that it wasn’t so much her marketing work but her practice’s successful business relationships, that led to JMWA’s major undertaking —  designing five U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) building projects in South Florida under Federal P3 guidelines.

            James Williams, JMWA principal and project architect, explained that the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) posted a Solicitation for Offers for the new buildings, with points awarded for price, location of the site, quality of working relationships among the project proponents, and of course the actual building design. He said one of his clients, a local developer, had an unused site in the declining Florida real estate market. A Washington, D.C.-based developer, who knew about the GSA proposal, saw the site and encouraged JMWA’s client to submit a proposal.

“We had just two weeks to meet the deadline,” he said. “The developer asked if we would prepare our design proposal at cost, which was reasonable to us…we aren’t interested in working with people who expect us to do the design work for free in hopes of winning the job but accepted that we wouldn’t make a profit on the initial design if it failed to go further.”

When CIS officials saw the design, “they loved it” so much that they encouraged the developer to scout out the other sites in South Florida to build similar buildings. As a result, JMWA designed five LEED Silver-certified buildings in less than two years.

In this case, as in most marketing success stories, JMWA won the initial opportunity because the clients trusted the practice. They knew JMWA had delivered in the past, so they were willing to pay a fee even if the project didn’t get off the ground.

Passion, teamwork, and meeting the deadline

Imagine the mood in JMWA’s offices as designers and support staff worked as a team to meet that very tight project deadline. They knew they would not be able to bill for overtime or extras, but nevertheless gave it their all because there was no doubt in their mind that they could succeed.

When you win the work as they did, you’ll have reached that state of business near-perfection: Lots of profitable work, even in a challenging economy, with your success validated by your clients who engage your services again and again.

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