Avoid Being Treated Like a Commodity
Are you tired of clients who see your engineering or architecture work as just another commodity? Do you feel like a soup can on a grocery store shelf? It's time to say no to low-bid work and stop being treated like a necessary evil. Saying no to clients who only want low-bid work is a good marketing move. Do not allow commoditization of your expertise.
Say Goodbye to Scope Creep
Do you have clients who love scope creep? You know, the ones who add task after task without expecting to pay for the extra work. You do not have to work on projects that lose you money. Saying no to scope creep without compensation is good marketing. Avoid working on projects that lose you money.
Be Honest About Timelines and Budgets
Do you sometimes feel like you can't make a client's timeline or stay within their budget? Be honest about what you can and cannot do. Being honest with clients upfront is good marketing strategy. Let clients decide if they still want to hire you.
Stick to What You're Good At
Do you have clients who want you to take on projects that are outside of your area of expertise? Good marketing with an eye to the long game is helping them find the right consultant for the job. Helping clients find the right consultant earns you the role of trusted advisor. Stick to what you're good at and complete profitable projects.
In conclusion, saying no to certain clients and projects is a good marketing move. It's time to stop being treated like a commodity. You can avoid scope creep and projects that lose you money. Be honest about what you can and cannot do and stick to what you're good at. By doing so, you can complete profitable projects and get paid for your expertise.
Submitting a statement of qualifications (SOQ) for a project is table stakes. It is easy to believe what we write and present in an SOQ is what wins the project. It is not! The SOQ/proposal is the minimum entry requirement for the right to compete for the project. So where exactly does an SOQ/proposal fit into the sales process? How much weight does it really have in the final selection of a firm?
Here are the most important factors that determine a project win.
Notice that the three most important factors to winning a project have little to do with the SOQ/proposal. By the time the client is reading our submission, they should know who we are and trust us. The SOQ/proposal is the final step (besides a shortlist and interview) that should seal the deal. The data we provide in an SOQ/proposal should be justification for the client selection committee to select us.
What an SOQ is NOT! An SOQ is not . . .
I've observed planning, strategy, proposal writing, promotions, and all things marketing at companies of every size. I've learned the following best practices remain consistent, no matter the size of the organization.
Communication, leadership, strategy, resources, metrics, and go/no-go are all essential gears in the AEC marketing engine. How these gears are sized may vary, but they all must be in place for your firm's long-term sustainable success.
This post was adapted from "Best Practices - Working With Varied Firm Sizes in A/E/C Marketing," Marketer, December 2021, pages 42-43
Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC