What’s the Best Way to Meet a Client-To-Be in the Aware Phase?
When a CTB enters the Aware phase of the buying cycle, it means they are aware they have a need for architectural services and they are aware of your firm. If you’ve done your job right in nurturing the relationship by being of help, the balance in the relationship should be moving toward give and take. You help the client and the client helps you. You ask questions and the client answers and the client asks questions which you address. This demonstrates a building of trust.
Psychology of the Aware: Interested
A CTB that has been properly cared for enters the Aware Phase of the buyer’s cycle in an interested frame of mind. They are no longer neutral about your firm, but see you as a helpful resource. The balance of the relationship at this point is 50-50. You are both helping each other to better understand where there might be a fit between the two organizaitons. Typically the Aware Phase is approximately 18 months to 12 months prior to a project becoming real.
The Old School Style of Meeting the Aware: Going To Sleep
If we’re mired in the old school way of thinking, when we know a client has a project and we’ve already expressed an interest, we typically go to sleep. In other words, we feel we’ve made the introduction, they know us and so we simply list them as “tracking” and move on to other new prospects to get through. It’s worth noting that it takes at least six contacts for someone to actually remember your name. If we haven’t structured a means for keeping in touch in a prolonged series of skillful communications, it’s not likely that the CTB has gained any real confidence in our abilities to help them with architectural projects in the future.
How We Should Meet the Aware To Establish the Relationship: Inspire
When a client is in the Aware phase of the selection process, they are interested and excited about the potential project. This is the time to really help inspire the CTB to action. This is the time span when sharing exciting outcomes at other institutions where you’ve been of help can really get a project onto the active list. I’ve had clients visit CTBs with insights they gained on recently completed work that was directly translated into an RFP. I’ve also had clients offer to help CTBs write, or review RFPs. This is a great way to position for work. The key is to inspire the CTB to action.