EP 145: The System That Duplicates Your Best Project: Steps 3, 4 & 5 – Qualify, Nurture & Schedule
by Jonathan DeCollibus on November 2, 2018
We’re going to be covering today steps three four and five in this system where we’re going to be qualifying, nurturing and scheduling meetings with proactive potential clients who have projects that fit the geography, the niche, the construction cost of the specific and exact types of projects that we want to duplicate.
This particular video is going to take you from the position of interested all the way to scheduled.
Videos 1 and 2 the identification and the attraction phases are all about getting the potential client to the position of being interested to where they would raise their hand and say, “We are willing and interested and excited to hear how you can help us design and possibly build our upcoming project.”.
And this particular part of the video series, the last video installment is really about how do you take them from that position and how do you qualify them? How do you nurture them and take them all the way to this point where they are scheduled in on your calendar, excited to talk with you informed about who you are and more importantly qualified to work with you.
So let’s begin with the very first part of this which is the qualification phase and this needs to be done obviously very tactfully with a lot of these questions being couched in the right languaging and it can’t just be thrown out there spontaneously it needs to be systematically and strategically deployed. But let’s go ahead and walk through some of the tactical steps on this.
The first step on this is we have to qualify, of course, based on some of the project details, so we already know what niche it’s in, maybe it’s a mixed use, but maybe we want to know a little bit more about the distribution of commercial to residential maybe in that particular project, that might be a good question to ask there.
Secondarily, we have to talk about deadlines, because deadlines are obviously going to be very important in determining how soon do we want to schedule a meeting with this person. And also, is this something that may be way too early or maybe they’ve waited too long and now it’s it’s going to be a very stressful environment, therefore perhaps disqualifying it as being a good fit for your company.
Thirdly, we want to talk about budgeting and identifying what budget they have to work with in terms of their construction costs and what type of percentage they have budgeted to pay for your services.
If it’s a very design heavy project they only have a very limited budget then it may already disqualify itself at that very outset and therefore you’re not going to waste any time going through the rest of this stage.
Lastly we have the question of “Are you talking to a decision maker?”.
And possibly identifying other decision makers who need to be involved in the initial series of meetings so that you can really use your time the most efficiently and also to use their time efficiently and collectively to be very effective in that process.
And during this phase we want to spend a large amount of time proactively solving problems. And when I say solving problems what I mean specifically is to identify some of their fears, some of their frustrations, some of the obstacles that are in their pathway and then of course some of their desires in terms of these projects and specifically the next project that’s down the pike directly in front of them.
All these projects will have different milestones, maybe it’s a feasibility report that you can help them out with or you can advise them on.
Maybe there’s other points of contact that you can be connecting with them on in order to proactively solve problems that are connected to these fears, these frustrations, these objections, these obstacles that are in their way.
And of course, to help them achieve that desired end-product.
Then we move into the nurturing phase after they’ve been qualified.
Now it’s time to really develop a very high quality relationship with this potential client. We have to do this in a very particular and very unique way and in the very first thing that we have to do is we have to understand positioning, because positioning is so important in setting the context to the rest of that relationship.
All the way from how they perceive and how they understand your proposal all the way through to their compliance or lack of compliance during the actual delivery on that project. So when we’re talking about positioning there are three levels of positioning and it’s very important that we understand what they are so that we can stay away from the bad ones and ultimately position ourselves as the highest level in this three level positioning tier.
So the first being Random, and the way that you know a firm is positioned as Random is that they’re really not taken very seriously.
People may know that they’re an architect but they don’t know anything specific about that firm.
Specifically what are the range in the depth of the services that they offer? What types of projects will they not take on what projects will they actually take on?
So from your perspective you have to understand that the potential client may not know that much about you. So we have to use this particular phase to build positioning before the initial meeting ever takes place so that it’s actually going to be very effective and efficient for your time because of the firms that are lower on this scale tend to have to have very high repetition of meetings they they tend to go through a lot of negotiation and there typically is a lot of friction that is entailed in those conversations.
So we have the random positioned architect than we have the position where I would say about 80 percent of firms are at today, which is in the Mixed-In positioning or mid positioning.
And this is probably the most dangerous place to be because when you are positioned as a mixed in type of firm where they know who you are they also know who all your competitors are and they essentially see you all as a commodity. And the problem with being a commodities is that your firm is not seen to be the prize. The project and the end product seem to be the prize. Therefore, it becomes a game of negotiation, it becomes a game of trying to see who can bleed the most and lose as much on the price so that they can just you know “Win” that project.
It’s a very dangerous place to be of course most importantly and ultimately this is where you want to be at is the Authority.
And when we’re talking about the authority position, there are a few major benefits of being there that we need to understand.
The first being that typically there’s a waiting list. Typically people have to wait to talk with you. Typically there’s very little in terms of negotiation. Typically people are very compliant and they can’t wait to meet with you.
That’s very different from down at the bottom, where they essentially treat you like that vendor.
Now how do we achieve that Authority position?
Part of this has already been pre-built into the strategy and part of this is that we are coming and approaching the generation of new projects in a very specific and niched way and that’s a big reason why we approached this this way in videos one and in video 2.
It’s important for you to understand that every single step in this process is ordered perfectly to achieve this effortless end result where you can schedule meetings with your perfect potential clients who have the best projects that are essentially carbon copies of your best projects that you can essentially duplicate.
So how do we do this? And in our work of working with many many different architects, high level architects, I can tell you that there’s a couple of key differences that the high level architects make the position them higher effortlessly without having to try hard without having to push and cajole and use any kind of shenanigans.
The first being the the value ratio is very high, meaning that they’re adding value at the beginning of the relationship versus asking for value.
As you’re nurturing the relationship, find every excuse and every opportunity to add value and to proactively solve some of these problems that they will have that are in their pathway.
It doesn’t mean that you’re going out there doing the work for free, but what it does mean is that your attitude is one of proactively solving problems in at least creating recommendations based upon solving those problems. Versus asking for compliance and asking for value front.
Thirdly, is treasuring the personal nature these relationships and understanding that at the end of the day we are in a very high trust relationship based personal business, when we speak about architecture.
We’re not in a business of simple, low value, low ticket transactions. We’re in a very high ticket transaction where there’s a lot at stake.
And so it’s easy when we’re trying to generate new business to forget about that. And so keep that at the forefront in terms of all the communication. Find the common denominators that you have on file already and reference those and speak to those and connect with them on a personal level as you are in this process leading towards this last and final phase of scheduling the meeting.
That’s exactly why I want to share with you these three steps in this precise order.
So the first is that it must be simple and direct.
So when I say is simple and direct, there’s a lot of indirect and complex strategies that are out there in terms of trying to get people to get on other people’s calendars. How do you schedule meetings? How do you get appointments?
The way that we do this different, is we are very simple we’re very direct and we use these next two steps that really make this very effortless. And it has a tremendously high booking rate with this on the very first attempt.
The first thing we have to identify is a single time offering. And what a single time offering means is that you don’t offer them multiple times on your calendar. Instead you simply offer them one.
There’s a psychological reason for that. There’s also a tactical reason for that. One of them being that you want it to be easy, but secondarily is that the more options that you give them, the more complexity you introduce the smaller the chances that they will ever get back to you in a reasonable amount of time.
It doesn’t matter if you have twenty five openings in the next three days offer them one and do that because it’s good for their sake and it makes their life easier.
Along that same vein is to have a binary yes or no option.
Forget about all these software plug-ins and “go ahead and schedule yourself in on my calendar”.
The highest conversion in terms of scheduling meetings is to do these two things and this combination #1 single time offering #2 to give them a yes or no.
Meaning, “I have tomorrow morning at 9a.m. Eastern open, does that work for you?”.
It’s a yes or no question with a yes or no answer. If it doesn’t work, they’ll simply tell you no.
You can repeat this process once or twice normally doesn’t take more than three times. About 80 percent of the time you’ll get booked in on that very first time offering.
So what happens next?
Right now we’re going to talk about the two options in front of you. You could think of this very simply as a fork in the road.
The road to the left is a “DIY Road”, which is a “do it yourself”, kind of road.
And that’s not a bad option for a lot of organizations or maybe startups or perhaps they only have one or two individuals within the company or perhaps they just are really unsure about growth and they’re not sure if they’re going to be in business for the next three or four years. Maybe architecture is not a real passion. It’s just sort of a business that kind of keeps a little bit of cash coming in. Then “do it yourself” is probably the best strategy.
The other option is to hire professionals and to bring in a professional to go ahead and execute this for you. Now I’m very biased when I say this, but I do have a lot of data to back me up on this and I have a lot of happy clients who can attest to this.
Having a pro handle this is very important because of the fact that it’s going to cost you between 10 to 15 times more in terms of trial and error, opportunity cost and simply rolling the dice on a very cursory understanding of this, rather than working with somebody who’s done this hundreds and hundreds of times each and every week, making it something that’s very systemized and something that can be tracked and they can be tested.
The big benefit of having a professional company like ours help you with this is the fact that we will be here for you and this entire process, meaning you would have a project manager who’s monitoring your account. You would be assigned two to five different staff members who would be handling all of the details in your account all the day to day connections, all the day to day value-adds – all of these details we’ve talked about would be handled by our office and the benefit of to you is that you’re not personally involved in all of the day to day manual labor that leads up to that initial meeting, and that means to you that you’re not going be limited by the amount of calendar time that you have open, rather you are limited only by your creativity and by the amount of new projects that you can handle.
So if you have a goal of bringing on 6 to 15 new projects each and every year as a bare minimum, then you want to go pro, because if you do this yourself would you assign other staff members to do this who are not trained to do this and have never done this before. It is going to take a long time and the opportunity cost will be there. There will be mistakes that are going to be made that are not going to reflect well on your brand and on your company.
If you want to speak with us to have us handle this for you you can go ahead and email my assistant Sophia at Sophia@SuperiorDigitalPartners.com to set up a meeting.
And if that’s something that you want to do I’m sure that we can find some time to connect with you and to talk with you and share more details and answer any questions that you have in this process.
I have made this with you in mind and I’ve made this specifically to help clear the air as there are many difficult and in many unique problems that can come up in this quest for duplicating your very best projects and I hope this has been helpful for you. We’ll talk soon.
Thanks – Jon