Hello.

I help architectural practices and other consultancies across the built environment with their strategies and activities to win the right work and develop their organisations.

Rachel Birchmore

My strengths lie in the strategic side of marketing; helping to set out answers to problems such as ‘What next?’, ‘How can we raise our profile?’, ‘How could we get into this new sector?’ I then help to get organised and implement solutions.

Having recruited, led and managed some exceptional people and teams over the years, I can also support marketing team recruitment and development and act as a coach for marketing and project staff.

I am a generalist and enjoy working in great teams so I collaborate with a range of talented specialists in communications, graphics, photography, business development and press relations, as required for specific commissions.

What do you need?

Whether you are seeking growth, a change in direction or need to address a specific challenge, I believe it is important to have a clear understanding of where you are now and where you want to be. Every organisation has a different starting point - different in terms of track record, opportunities, skills, connections and resources. These things usually form the basis of an effective strategy.

I can help clarify aspirations, cast an experienced, external eye over current activity then make recommendations to help you achieve your aims.

Marketing is everything which connects your organisation with those who could commission you, or influence decision making, for the type of work you want to do. Most companies do more marketing than they think; very few get it all right. Your reason for investing in your marketing activities may be to win more work, raise profile or engage with existing or new contacts.

Having clarified aspirations and reviewed your current position we can work together to formulate a suitable strategy. I can then act as part time marketing director to help with implementation.

Whether you’re wondering how to generate a steadier pipeline of opportunities, what to do next or how to enter a new market, I can help. Usually all the skills needed to do this are already in-house but everyone’s busy or the skills are well hidden.

I help to bring some focus, market knowledge, structure and support to use those skills better to achieve what you want to achieve. I also provide support on research, the best way to build relationships, who to build relationships with and how to increase your team’s skills, together with support on bid management, processes and writing.

Having invested in the recruitment of the very best people, those ideally suited to your organisation and values, you want to nurture that talent. This is particularly important when individuals have been promoted into new roles and/or have new responsibilities such as work winning. Despite these best intentions, time constraints can often mean this doesn’t happen.

As an experienced manager and trained coach, I can provide 1-2-1 coaching and mentoring for project and marketing staff to develop their confidence and skills and so improve business development and marketing effectiveness.

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  • I can't do networking... I'm an introvert you see...

    Coachee: Networking isn’t my thing Rachel, I’m an introvert you see.
    Coach (me): I see, when you say networking, what do you mean?
    Coachee: You know, going to big events full of people I don’t know – big events are noisy. If I talk to people I don’t know I have to make inconsequential small talk – it’s so daunting!

    I could go on! Stereotypical networking as described above is dominated by extroverts (or at least feels that way). However, around a third to a half of the UK population are more introvert than extrovert. Now, introversion doesn’t mean shy or awkward, in fact, many introverts really enjoy socialising but they find too much exhausting and recharge by spending time alone. Conversely extroverts get their energy from their time spent with others.

    Introverts can be highly effective networkers particularly if they set up their activity to suit their strengths. For instance, many introverts are exceptional listeners – important to authenticity and handy when trying to pick up snippets of useful information. Other common traits of introverts are tenacity and the tendency to prepare – again, important – to the follow up and consideration of the right approach to events and relationship building.

    Here are a few ways to start to enjoy (or at least get more out of) networking if you are more of an introvert than extrovert:

    • Do it your way – pick (or even better, create) events of genuine interest where you’re more likely to start or continue to build genuine connections.
    • Don’t overdo it – it could be more fruitful to attend a few smaller events that interest you and are likely to be attended by the right people, than overwhelm your senses with everything and achieve nothing.
    • When you do go to larger events, arrive early – it’ll be easier to talk to people when there are fewer people in the room than when it looks like someone else’s school reunion.
    • Be curious – it’s not all about talking – ask questions – avoid turning a conversation into an interrogation but show genuine interest in others and their organisations.
    • Build in some downtime between conversations and when you’ve had enough, leave.
    • Having spent the time making new contacts, be sure to follow up.
    • Networking also includes building your existing client and contact relationships so spend time on those too.
    • If you report to an extrovert, discuss this with them. Explain your preferences and approach, agree expectations and ask to be judged on results not method.

    Networking is just connecting with others – it is not selling and there are no rules that say it must be hard-work, dull, done at big events or involve talking to lots of people you don’t know.

    I sit smack bang in the middle of the spectrum of introvert and extrovert (an ambivert apparently) and work as an adviser to organisations and coach to individuals who want to improve the effectiveness of their networking and wider business development strategy and activities. If you would like to discuss how I could support you please get in touch..

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