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I'm an architect not a flippin' salesperson...

Coachee: I have recently been promoted and am now expected to win new business but I’m too busy. I’m an architect not a salesperson!
Coach: OK what do you envisage being involved in winning new business?
Coachee: Well, I don’t know – events, networking, ringing people up, selling…

It’s a familiar scenario: a highly talented architect/engineer/project manager is promoted through an organisation and quickly reaches Associate or Associate Director level. Often, they reach this point without having received any networking or business development training and are now expected to bring new work into the organisation.

In my experience, a small number of this group will win new business naturally. The majority could, with the right support and direction but the time needed to provide that is limited. Without this direction, individuals don’t know where to start, put it in the too hard pile and then excuse their lack of involvement in a variety of ways – I’m too busy tops the list.

Everyone should develop their own way to develop new business, a way which suits their strengths, personality, interests, availability and circumstances. For this reason, 1-2-1 coaching, giving individuals support and the opportunity to air and overcome their concerns privately, can be the best way to build confidence and help them contribute to work winning.

What’s a blog post without a few tips?! Here are five:

Forget about selling – no one wants to be sold to.
Make connections and build relationships – people work with those they like, trust and/or think can help them – incorporate this into your project day.
Start ‘close to home’ – those most likely to commission you on your next project are probably among, or known to, those you already know.
Be curious and informed – about the worlds and interests of your clients
Share information internally – opportunities arise when several pieces of information are linked.

I am a trained coach and experienced marketing adviser and have supported, mentored and coached individuals and teams to improve effectiveness of business development. I have also worked with practice principals to better define aims, create strategy and to make sure essential complementary marketing and communications activity exists.

Please get in touch if you would like to talk about how I might be able to help you or your organisation.