Always Selling. Always Competing.

Every day, we are consumed by the daily tasks of our lives. For those of us engaged in the design and construction of facilities that will be used to employ people, house equipment and run businesses, our work is complex, challenging and typically, unique. Nonetheless, our daily tasks can become routine and our focus may rest on the tasks, rather than the end result those tasks are organized to deliver.

What is interesting to me is that many professions exist because no one person can do it all themselves. Doctors and nurses treat patients because others are not trained in that profession. The patients and their families have their own lives and responsibilities. Similarly, architects, engineers and builders are hired because their clients are engaged in other business – their own daily tasks.

Where the designer-builder and the client meet is where the success of the interaction is found. For the professional, his or her business thrives or dies on the how well the service provider/client interaction is managed. That is where long-term success is won or lost.

In the big picture, we are always competing. Someone else always wants to unseat our relationship with a client and, ultimately, we are always trying to do the same. Therefore, every interaction with a client is a “selling” event. Even the most technical of interactions is a selling event, because each interaction leaves impressions of competence, customer service, efficiency and quality, among other characteristics of the service you provide. Each interaction creates, or possibly erodes, an impression of desirability to continue the relationship – at the expense of a competitor.

What often does not get acknowledged, is that in every project:

  • There are people on the client’s side of the interaction who are heavily engaged in this project while still carrying on their regular duties. This project, while important and perhaps exciting to them, represents a significant burden. It is not their only priority. Are we respecting their multiple priorities in our interaction with them?
  • There are people on the client’s side of the interaction who have never done this before. Do we take the time to explain and make sure they understand the process?
  • There are people on the client’s side of the interaction for whom this is a major career opportunity, or threat. Are we working and giving them the support they need to become heroes?

If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no’, if we’re not doing those things, we do so at our own peril – because our competitors will.

"The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that there are no results inside its walls. The result of a business is a satisfied customer."
- Peter Drucker

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