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Scarlett Letter #98: When prospects ‘use’ you to challenge the incumbent service provider

A past client (and good friend) recently got screwed by one of their prospects. Mind you, this is my own opinion, not theirs. Therefore, I’ll tell the story using alias names.

Here’s what happened. The prospect, a municipality that we’ll call OpportunistCity, had worked with HometownArchitects on several building projects over the years. A substantial project is now on the horizon for OpportunistCity. For some unclear reason, they opted to invite three additional firms to interview for the contract.

My client (CoolArchitects) saw this as an exciting opportunity to unseat the incumbent. CoolArchitects—along with the other two candidates—poured their hearts and souls ...

Tags: AEC client interviews, AEC project interviews, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction industry, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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March 27, 2010

Scarlett Letter #97: Mashable’s Essential Social Media Lessons for B2B Marketers

My original intent for today’s blog was far different than what you’ll see here. Today, Tamar Weinberg, Mashable’s Community and Marketing Manager,wrote a post called 13 Essential Social Media Lessons for B2B Marketers from the Masters. I saw it on Twitter, and I thought it was too important for my design and construction industry audience to miss. So many architects, engineers, and construction firms are still wary of social media. I myself am not sold on every aspect, but I’m open-minded and I continue to explore what works in our business to business context.

Many of you focus on a variety ...

Tags: AEC linked in, AEC social media, aec twitter, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction social media, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development, Social network, Twitter

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March 25, 2010

Scarlett Letter #96: Stories sell. Stories teach.

Next month, I’ll be presenting at KA Connect here in Chicago. My topic: Storytelling—The key to Marketing Knowledge. Stories sell (and teach!) because they are emotional. Emotions sell (and teach!) because they stick in the minds and hearts of others.

From a teaching perspective,there’s actually a book called Teaching with Emotion: A Postmodern Enactment, which among other things, investigates how even the driest or most difficult of subjects can be taught well if delivered with emotion. So if you can’t tell a good story that ultimately hooks unto the emotions of others, then you’re missing out on a fantastic tool for ...

Tags: AEC knowledge transfer, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction knowledge transfer, linkedin, Networking, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development, teaching business development, teaching marketing, teaching sales, team building

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March 22, 2010

Scarlett Letter #95: Managing conflict in the AEC workplace

Today we were blessed with a gorgeous pre-spring day in Chicago!  Earlier, I was driving with my windows down and the radio off. I just wanted to be with my own thoughts, and perhaps listen to a few birds chirping at the stop signs. Unfortunately, that pre-spring bliss was interrupted when another car—also with windows down—pulled up alongside my cheerful green Beetle.

Two angry voices streamed from their car. I couldn’t help but listen (we were at a stoplight, after all), and I identified the two themes of the conversation: “it’s none of your business” and “mother f–kin'” this and that. ...

Tags: AEC human resources, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction people management, design and construction work environment, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development, team building, workplace conflict

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March 18, 2010

Scarlett Letter #94: Topnotch presentation skills involve awareness of twitch factor!

Last week I attended a Creativity Symposium, which was also serving as a fundraiser. The symposium itself was quite good. But the presenter that introduced the actual facilitator unfortunately fell short relative to the overall caliber of the event.

In this case, the pre-presenter (we’ll call him Peter), was given 5-10 minutes to present information on the non-profit for which the funds were being raised. Peter is clearly a well-meaning, kind individual. English is his second language, so I cut him some slack for being brave enough to stand in front of us.

Peter’s problem was that he did not pay attention ...

Tags: AEC presentations, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, Design and construction presentations, linkedin, oral communications, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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March 15, 2010

Scarlett Letter #93: As a salesperson, you best know how to access the details

When I was just 22, my dad bought me a small universal life insurance policy. Now it’s 2010, and my annual premium is almost due. I have some questions about my options. 1. Since I’ve accrued a little bit of money and am vested, do I need to pay the premium this year in order to keep the policy alive? 2. If I want to borrow against this policy, how do I go about paying it back; what is the interest rate? 3. What are the advantages of keeping this policy versus cashing this one out and buying a term ...

Tags: Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction industry sales, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, responsibilities of salesperson, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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March 11, 2010

Scarlett Letter #92: Lose the attitude! Be an open, engaging conversationalist.

I went to an art salon last weekend. Presented in a family-style dining environment, my table included our group of four, plus one more couple that we did not yet know. To make them feel welcome, I tried engaging them with some questions. At first they were responsive, no problem. Then I learned that the woman was an editor of NewCity, a weekly publication here in Chicago.

Take note, I have no burning desire to write for NewCity. {Don’t get me wrong, I’d be delighted to be published in any reputable periodical including NewCity, but I already have enough to manage ...

Tags: Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, art of conversation, bad attitudes during conversation, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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March 08, 2010

Scarlett Letter #91: When conducting client surveys, wear your investigative reporter’s hat

Two days ago, Susan S., an AE marketing director, contacted me about the ‘right’ questions to ask during client perception surveys. Susan intends for these surveys to be conducted as face-to-face interviews with existing clients. Findings will help inform the direction of her firm’s new strategic marketing plan.

Sequentially, Susan’s firm is on the right track by conducting client surveys prior to strategic planning. As well, their format is on target (personal discussions, rather than a more typical Likert-scale questionnaire).

Here are some tips for preparing a set of dialogue-inspiring questions:

>Design open-ended questions. (I know, duh!) >First question or two: Commence the conversation ...

Tags: AEC client perception surveys, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, client feedback surveys, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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March 04, 2010

Scarlett Letter #90: New Normal for AEC clients = New Normal for AEC industry

It’s 2010. Are our clients finally settling into a ‘new normal’? How does each industry define trends within its new normal? What challenges are they anticipating in this new normal, and how might the design and construction industry be able to provide support in tackling those challenges?

Further, within the context of each industry’s new normal, what expectations do our clients have of AEC service providers? Specifically, how might their buying preferences and processes have changed, and what can we do—as AEC industry marketing and sales professionals—to appeal to their needs?

As we do our homework to figure out these answers, we ...

Tags: 2010 new normal, AEC new normal, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction new normal, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development, Social network

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March 01, 2010

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