This also costs us time, even though we use screening techniques, some developed from Architects Marketing, and a “radar” system we’ve developed over the years. We’re also “niching down”, as the AM approach encourages, and this is improving results, but it could be useful to hear what others have done in these cases, too.
Sometimes, when we offer an LCC, even for a super-low fee of say $500, we’re blown out of the water by builders, real estate agents, “designers”, former gas station attendants, or even desperate architects showing up “for free” to provide lesser services that we might otherwise provide neutrally and without favoring any particular marketeers, based on our expertise.
For example, we just lost a project where we had a verbal commitment with a promise of a check & signed agreement, then when we showed up, we were told that a builder had already gotten him to “sign up” — to protect them against an architect (us) “designing something wrong”. As you may gather from this, these are fairly small residential projects (though we just lost one industrial project the same way), so the clients are relatively unsophisticated and susceptible to the influence of arguments like that.
Frustrated at these experiences, I posted two blogs that got a few views through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Here are some questions that I thought I’d throw out to the Group, if they may help lead to some concrete suggestions, mainly for smaller projects:
• How do we overcome bad builders second-guessing our expertise? (Good ones don’t, and we refer them, but the bad guys always seem to be around.)
• How do we anticipate and overcome less-qualified providers deriding our usefulness to the client?
• How do we avoid antagonizing the good builders, while warning consumers against bad builders who may do them harm?
• How do we avoid unnerving potential consumer clients while emphasizing our role as balancing the process?