As Professional Service Marketers, we have the challenge of persuading prospects to purchase something that doesn’t exist. Prospects cannot “test drive” their future multi-million dollar building. Sure, you can show past projects, but that doesn’t guarantee future success. Especially if the project incorporates new technology.
The solution to this dilemma is to have a unique project delivery process that demonstrates your ability to solve problems and deliver successful projects. This communicates to the prospective client, “we don’t know all the answers to the questions your project may present. But, we have a proven process that consistently allows us to find the right answers.” By showing how you’ve helped other clients with your unique process, you put the prospect at ease, and you differentiate your firm from your competition.
1. Process Defined
Process is simply your project delivery method spanning from initial meeting through the life cycle of the building.
2. Why Brand Your Process?
There are many reasons to make your process a persuasive tool to convince clients to select your firm. First, services like Architecture, Engineering, and Contracting are simply a promise. So, we need to empathize with the scary leap of faith our clients make in entrusting us to deliver on our promise. A proven process helps to soothe client fears during the emotional sales cycle. Also, process is an opportunity to differentiate you from your competition. Process is scalable and can be implemented at firms sized from 1–1000 to reinforce brand consistency across all branch offices. Finally, process is an asset that can live beyond the founding principals of your firm. This can add value in the event of ownership transition, merger or acquisition.
3. Develop, Articulate and Brand℠ Your Process
Begin with listing the various steps your firm goes through to successfully complete a project. Determine all the key checkpoints for quality assurance. As you make this list, filter it through the positioning of what makes your firm unique. In other words, don’t focus on things that everyone else does. Work with a writer or brand communications firm to articulate your process in a way that is simple and compelling to a prospective client. Then brand it with a memorable name and even register it as a service mark. Our process, called The Joy of Six, is described in greater detail here. I recommend a circular process to close the loop by measuring results of the completed project. This informs an improved next project and hopefully get you re-hired.
4. Demonstrate How Your Process Yields Success
When meeting with prospective clients, don’t just show a portfolio of completed projects. Demonstrate how you reach successful results by presenting highlights of each project phase in the context of your newly branded process. Show sketches, talk about overcoming challenges, and share how intelligence gained in one project phase informs success in the next. When a prospect sees how your process delivers on past promises, it plants the seed of future success in in that prospect’s mind.