Preparing To Win: 3 Answers Architects Must Have Before Trying To Win A New Client

July 9, 2023

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

Unprepared is not an option for architects that want to land high-quality clients.

Especially as you enter closing conversations - that is any client conversation where you plan or have an opportunity to sign a new client. This might be a proposal presentation, negotiating meeting, or Q&A session with prospects.

At some point, after “enough” conversations and experience, many will start making seemingly small changes that negatively impact their firm and pipeline.

What kind of changes?

  • Assuming that we’re prepared to adequately respond to anything because we’ve “done this so many times”

  • Simply showing up to the meeting on time without any preparation

  • Treating every conversation and meeting the same

And usually these changes are relatively subconscious. They feel like natural progressions as we get more comfortable with client conversations. But don’t let that comfort fool you!

Experience helps but it’s not a silver bullet. If you show up unprepared, then you’re much less likely to deliver an awesome experience for your prospective client. Unable to quickly and simply respond to client questions and objections. Not in the headspace of the client and focused on their needs. Yikes.

Your prospects will notice and they won’t feel important to you.

The good news is that the opposite is also true. If you show up prepared and focused, your client will notice.

So rather than finding comfort in experience, find comfort in preparedness.

Spend 10-15 minutes prior to your meeting preparing for the conversation. How? Pull out your notes from your previous conversations and answer these 3 questions:

01 // What’s the client’s priority?

Remember when you donned your detective hat and conducted that incredible discovery session?

Now it's time to distill all those brilliant insights into a concise 1-2 sentence statement that captures the client's priority.

Frame the priority statement through 3 simple lenses:

  1. What’s their primary challenge right now?

  2. What’s the ideal outcome?

  3. What’re the benefits of the ideal outcome?

For example:

  • Joe and Jane (1) feel crammed whenever someone visits their home so they’d like to (2) expand and rearrange their space to make it more comfortable and accommodating. This will allow them to (3) host more events and spend valuable time with friends and family, which is what they care about most.

Or, for my B2B firm leaders:

  • ABC company (1) has their team dispersed throughout multiple rooms in the office, which is difficult to manage. They would like to (2) create a large open-office space so that they can (3) better manage their team and improve cross-functional communication across the company.

Focus on their needs and challenges, making sure to keep this priority at the forefront of your mind during the conversation. Remember, this is a client-first chat, and you're the trusty sidekick!

02 // What objections do you anticipate?

Every sidekick encounters obstacles, and architects are no exception.

Objections are concerns or hesitations expressed by the client that can be addressed through effective communication and problem-solving. Maybe you've already caught wind of a few of them from your discovery process. They might revolve around budget constraints, design preferences, or even doubts about your firm's capabilities.

By anticipating objections, you can turn these potential roadblocks into opportunities to showcase your expertise and win the client's trust. Spend some time considering potential objections your client may have. But don’t just write down the objection. The magic happens when you prepare your response to the objections.

Think about what the client wants and how your expertise aligns with their priority from step 1.

The most common objections are focused around time and money. When crafting your response, use the AAA or FFFF frameworks to knock it out of the park.

By being prepared to address objections head-on, you'll be able to move-on from them quickly as you edge closer to victory.

03 // What’s the greatest threat to winning this project?

On the other hand, threats to winning the project are external factors that pose challenges beyond mere objections. And just as supervillains lurk in the shadows, certain challenges may stand in the way of winning the project. For example:

  • Are there other stakeholders you haven't met yet?

  • Is the client extremely price-conscious, hinting at possible pushback on the budget?

  • Are they exploring other architects as well?

Again, don’t stop at simply identifying the threat. Objections require a response. But threats require a strategic plan for mitigation. Let’s take another look at those potential threats above:

  • The involvement of additional stakeholders you haven't met yet. What could you do? Invite more stakeholders to the meeting, reach out to each stakeholder personally, and identify your champions to keep the momentum.

  • Price-conscious client seeking lower-cost alternatives. What could you do? Focus on the ROI that clients will experience based on the quality of your work.

  • Fierce competition from other architects. What could you do? Address the competition head-on using the DND formula and identify when they’re meeting with your competition so you can reach out soon after to take their temperature and nurture the relationship.


Showing up unprepared to meetings with prospective clients is a quick way to lose great projects.

Spend 10-15 minutes prior to your meeting asking yourself these 3 questions and using your experience to prepare adequate statements, responses, and plans of action:

  1. What’s the client’s priority?

  2. What objections do you anticipate?

  3. What’s the greatest threat to winning this project?

Pro tip: Rather than doing this right before the meeting, try answering these questions right after the discovery conversation. That’s when the information will be most fresh in your mind.

Go get ‘em!

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