Conversion Engine: Optimizing 4 Key Moments of Architecture Client Conversion

July 16, 2023

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

Mindless business development can feel a bit like a fish out of water. Bouncing around, gasping for life, and hoping to land in a pond of opportunity. That’s no fun.

Architecture school rarely covers the full scope of the business development process. That leaves most architects at a disadvantage because they have to learn everything on the fly with little to no guidance.

What’s the result? Typically a “spray and pray” approach of uncooked ideas and methods to grow and manage your pipeline. A paid ad here. A social post there. One newsletter edition. A short proposal. A long proposal. You get the picture - literally anything to try and get some traction and magically win clients. And let’s face it - consistency is key. Trying something once won’t cut it.

Much like an investment portfolio, business development (BD) should be diversified and balanced regularly. BD is less like a “funnel” and more like a cycle or an engine that requires fueling and modification to run properly. That's the mindset we need to adopt to attract those dream clients.

With that in mind, it’s useful to consider your BD cycle via 4 primary conversion points. Each conversion point has different levers to pull and knobs to turn in order to amplify or reduce activity. But if you simplify your BD cycle through these 4 conversion points, you can take control of your outcomes, rather than gasping for air.

Conversion Point 1: Unaware → Aware

  • Goal: Help people realize that your firm exists. Grow your audience.

Here's where we want to create awareness about your architectural prowess. It's time to unleash your marketing campaigns, get featured in publications, attend exciting events, leverage advertising, and make a big splash on social media. Let the world know what you're capable of!

Primary levers:

  • Time: A lot of this conversion is simply being “there” - going to conferences, attending local events, and reaching out to publications.

  • Money: Spend money to make money, as they say. Is paid advertising a requirement for growth? I don’t think so. Does it accelerate growth? Yes. And it’s especially helpful for bringing stability to your pipeline as it can become a reliable source of leads.

Conversion Point 2: Aware → Interested

  • Goal: Capture the attention and interest of your audience.

Now that they're aware of your awesomeness, it's time to pique their interest. Send captivating emails, craft targeted content that resonates with your audience, keep your social media game strong, secure speaking engagements, offer irresistible lead magnets, and showcase impressive case studies. Make them want more!

Primary levers:

  • Content: The first part of this is testing lots of content to see what resonates most with your audience. The second part is doubling down on what works. Utilize a content matrix to quickly generate ideas.

  • Value: Closely attached to content is value. But value can be offered in many formats - community events, lead magnets, courses, etc. Prove your knowledge and value to cement your firm in the minds of your ideal clients.

Conversion Point 3: Interested → Client

  • Goal: Win your ideal client.

This is the moment of truth! The prospect is interested, and it's time to seal the deal. Utilize a well-oiled sales funnel, schedule discovery calls to understand their needs, nurture your prospects with personalized attention, present compelling proposals, and ace those closing call conversations.

Primary levers:

Conversion Point 4: Client → Advocate

  • Goal: Be so good that your clients come back for more and tell all their friends.

Congratulations, you've landed a client! But the journey doesn't end there. Now it's time to execute your projects flawlessly. Gather glowing testimonials and create powerful case studies to showcase your success stories, and don't forget to establish a referral program that keeps the good vibes flowing. Turn your clients into loyal advocates!

Primary levers:

  • Trust: At the core of trust is accountability, capability, and integrity. Basically, execute on your promises, keep your clients informed, and gain a loyal advocate.

  • Systems: Have easy ways to capture feedback and reward your advocates for referring clients.


Fish out of water = bad. BD cycle mindset = good. Diversified and balanced BD = great.

Evaluate these 4 conversion points to manage your BD:

  1. Unaware → Aware

  2. Aware → Interested

  3. Interested → Client

  4. Client → Advocate

Keep up the great work, y’all!

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