when they say yes

31 October 2013

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I suppose it’s only fair to follow-up to previous blog post with the opposite response when it comes to a client saying yes to hire you for their architect. In a previous post, I explored the thoughts, feelings and reflections one may have as an architect when the client chooses another architect. Now we can explore what goes through the mind of an architect when a client says yes.

The first thing that comes to mind is (are) the lessons learned from not receiving other commissions. I wonder what I said or how I have presented me and my firm that didn’t work last time. I think “I must have done it right this time.”

Besides the feeling of excitement and the desire to celebrate, several things come to mind. One I try to catalog the events and statements of the interview that worked. How well did I read their body language, how well did I read their eyes and what particular statements were received positively. These are the types of things we must keep in mind as we move forward.

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Moreover, it’s extremely important to remember statements made that will ultimately need to be put in writing for the contract between the architect and client. I’m aware that there was some sense of promise or degree of service and expectation that made the client trust me enough to say yes, we will hire you. It’s important to capitalize on that early before memories fade, so that positive lessons learned can be repeated and used again. Besides the contractual obligations and responsible things to do, the thoughts of the project program and all the things that go through the mind of the architect that must take place at the beginning of each project in order to be successful.

Then I begin to reflect on what I did to gain their trust. I believe one of the most crucial questions clients should ask themselves is “do you trust this person with your project?” It is imperative to have a really good working relationship with your architect in order to have a successful project. There is much to be said about trust and its cousin – chemistry. Often architects are selected by their locale. In other words, someone chooses an architect that lives close to them or close to where the project is located. Or they choose an architect that they know or who has been referred to them by someone else. All of these are essential factors and all of these are things to consider carefully. However, I believe trust trumps all others; it answers all of the other questions.

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It is a humbling experience for someone to choose you to design their project. They will talk about it with their friends; they will talk about it with their family and co-workers. It will be conversation for them and you will need to deliver the goods.

Lastly, my mind turns to current projects to fulfill obligations, maintain project schedules and see that work is moving along well so that beginning new work can happen smoothly and in a timely fashion. In other words put your head down, take care of business and get it done so that start of a new project can happen in a positive environment.

You can read elsewhere about business practices and other marketing skills to develop. I’m not really trying to compete with that. I find it interesting to share our thoughts with non-architects who may choose to hire us.

What we are really thinking is how excited we are and humbled we are to work for you. Thank you for the opportunity to make architecture for you.

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photos are from multiple stock photo galleries on Stock.Xchng (used under the Standard Restrictions)

photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4

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3 Responses to “when they say yes”


  1. Another thought provoking and intelligent post Lee. Very well spoken [written]. And thanks for the shout out!

  2. William J. Mello Jr. AIA Emeritis Says:

    Again on the nail head!
    Always deliver what you said and fill in the “chinks” you find in the clients needs as indicated in photo #4.


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