Standing the Test of TIME for your future A.I.P. Clients

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We’ve all heard the term “holding power”.  It has many other slants, angles, and terminology as well.  “Stay-with-it-ness” and “Stick-to-it-iveness”- those are a couple of my personal favorites.  I know as a licensed architect, this can be a challenge when it comes to personal branding, exposure, prospecting, and networking time.  You have to be filling your pipeline for future work all the time, while also serving your current projects and clients well at the same time.  It’s a conscious effort and an artistic business balance, for sure.

This is why, after just one year, I cancelled my local BNI (Business Networking International) chapter membership.  Ironically, when as the education coordinator (who spoke on a business topic for 5 minutes each week)  I at the end of the calendar year asked everyone in our chapter to take a hard look at their own ROI realistically per the BNI model, about ½ of our chapter left!  BNI teaches that all time considered (not just the $400 or so per year in dues), it should be considered about a $20,000 per year investment (if you consider as I did, your billable time/rate for travel to all the events and extra “1-to-1” get to know you meetings between each member ongoing).  Take that number and consider that IF someone needs an architect, it’s on average about every 7 years (for those that DO).  So I didn’t see all those “get to know you” coffee sit-downs and weekly chapter meetings equating to $140K any time soon in architectural project work!  There were better places to spend my time networking based on my skillset and target client preferred demographic.  Lessons learned in business, right?

So what about those “Aging-in-Place” clients?

Have you thought about where they hang out, what they are doing, where they are searching for things online, with whom they socialize, and where they get their referrals?  Or have you considered if it’s even the client themselves that is the decision maker related to the service you are providing?  Maybe it’s the daughter!?  Where does SHE hang out physically and online?  You see the challenge here, don’t you?  There are not enough hours in the day to be anywhere and everywhere your potential clients (or their decision-makers) MAY be.  So how do you reach them?  And how long can you stay “top of mind” until the time is right?  And when the time is right, do they know YOU?  Do they know how to FIND YOU?  Hence my sincere and pointed question about your STAYING POWER.  Do you have it in you to stick this out until the client is ready to look for you?  If so, how WILL they find you when the time is right?

This is where BRANDING via EDUCATION comes into play.  It’s still not a short journey, but it is the only road I can see from my own experience on this path, where consistency and persistence in the mind set and structure of “servant leadership” can set up a situation where down the road – when the time is right for each and every family and person in your sphere of work influence – it will be YOU that they contact.  They WILL know you.  They WILL trust you.  They WILL consider you an EXPERT.  They WILL COME TO YOU.  This is the path to future work in this space and sphere of potential clientele.

Again, this isn’t a “get rich quick” concept or scheme, just because boomers have a high % of the wealth of our nation – FAR FROM IT.  They’re savvy – they’ll SEE RIGHT THROUGH any short sighted underlying interests you may have.  No, pursuit of a career and business that includes Aging-in-Place is much deeper than that – it has to be.  It’s a function of being

1) PASSIONATE about the topic, and therefore

2) CARING about the client enough to

3) Do the WORK,

4) Make the EFFORT, and

5) Have the HOLDING POWER to keep on truckin’, with insane persistence and unparalleled consistency – for the YEARS ahead!!!

Remember, there may be 700,000,000 people in the U.S. that say they do or will want to “Age in Place”.  There may be 10,000 people turning 65 years old EVERY DAY.  But WHEN is the right time for each and every one of them?  You couldn’t possibly know that.  It is completely individual and personal to each and every one of them, as to when they are ready to accept that they NEED or WANT something you are offering.  You have to be “top of mind” at THAT time… how?  Be EVERYWHERE at once, right?  How’s that you say?

BRANDING via EDUCATION

TEACH what you KNOW.  SHARE your information.  Do so FREELY.  Do so OFTEN.  Speak on the topic.  Write about it.  Interview people and get interviewed.  SHARE, SHARE, SHARE.  Share your message.  Share your story.  Share your PASSION.  Share your beliefs, your what, your why, your how about the niche segment – and your USP (unique sales proposition) – what it is that you do / have / offer that can do one of two things for them, better than anyone else –

1)      INCREASE A PLEASURE, or

2)      DECREASE A PAIN.

So for the professional that wants to have “Aging in Place” as a part of their work portfolio of services or clients that they serve with their products, BRANDING via EDUCATION is the road you are looking for.  The road will tell you clearly that somewhere, miles (years) down that road, with the right plan in place it is YOU that all signs will point to.  It is YOUR COMPANY that all roads will lead to, eventually.  The “Silver Tsunami” is here, it’s just a matter of time (if you’ve positioned yourself correctly) before the waters of opportunity come splashing upon your business doorstep.

Side Note:  For a great crash course (which has significant depth of topic) from some national experts on “Reaching and Connecting with the Boomer Consumer”, go to our Products and Services page and order our recently archived webinar!  You’ll get 2+ hours of Audio & PowerPoint slides with well-presented insights from an expert panel of national thought leaders from Maryland to San Francisco!  This is a great place to start “digging in” on what it means to want to add the Boomer Consumer (or Aging in Place) to your business repertoire!  Thanks, and enjoy the info.!



 

Image Credits:
Road Signs – http://www.123rf.com/photo_11359706_staying-on-course-symbol-representing-dilemma-and-concept-of-losing-control-and-strategic-journey-ch.html
Happy Mother & Daughter – http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Improve-Your-Mother-Daughter-Relationship
Stay the Course – http://www.dsargentblog.us/staying-the-course/

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2 thoughts on “Standing the Test of TIME for your future A.I.P. Clients
  • Thanks for this Aaron. At times I am tempted to throw in the towel. I am 64 and started turning my practice toward designing for later life about 4 years ago. I have been disappointed by the preponderance of “not ready yet” and “good idea, but I don’t need it”.
    I am active in our local virtual village network (Home Haven Villages), write a local newspaper column and make presentations too. Still very little to show for the efforts. But your article encourages me and now I’m thinking that I am ideally situated at this stage of life and career to focus on architecture for Aging-in-Place.

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