Transformation Statement: How To Differentiate Your Architecture Firm

September 25, 2022

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

For the last 9 months, I’ve frequently been encouraging architects to raise their fees.

You’re SO valuable to the built environment.

And you’re also the center of the project flywheel. The entire project team (contractors, subcontractors, stakeholders, etc.) look to you to move the project forward.

I have a lot to say on the subject but, suffice it to say, I think you should be charging way more.

Without fail, these posts will bring about a conversation of “value”.

  • “How do I increase your perceived value?”

  • “How do I communicate that value to the client?”

  • “How do I use my value to attract high-quality clients?”

It’s a fair question. It feels weird to just arbitrarily increase your fees. You’re worried about losing clients. You’re worried about justifying the value. And, to be fair, responses to the above questions could easily fill a meaty book.

One of the most effective ways to increase your value is to put yourself and/or your practice in a league of its own.

No more racing to the bottom.

No more competition.

No more fee gouging.

Just you.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need:

  • 20 years of experience

  • Millions of Instagram followers

  • A shelf filled with A+D awards

Instead, all you need is one sentence.

And once you get it right, you’ll begin attracting the right clients that are willing to make the right investment because you are the only option that gets them exactly what they want.

I call it a Transformation Statement.

Selling Transformation

The truth is that architects are selling transformation.

Your clients are at Point A.

They want to get to Point B.

And YOU are the vehicle to help them get there.

And if you really want to attract high-quality clients, then you’re helping a specific type of person or business achieve a specific type of result.

Here’s how you can make that clear:

X // Start Point

Who is your ideal client?

Maybe it’s families. Or school districts. Or tech companies. Whoever it is, write it down.

Now, add an adjective before your ideal client that more specifically calls out their normal starting point when they come to you.

You want them to see that and say, “Hey, yea, they’re talking about me!”

For example:

  • Growing families

  • Newly-funded school districts

  • Private tech companies

Got it? Let’s move on.

Y // End Point

What is your ideal client’s desired outcome? Why do they come to you?

Maybe it’s for home additions. Or learning environments. Or office space. Write it down, again.

And just like last time, we’re going to add an adjective before the outcome.

For example:

  • Sustainable home additions

  • Powerful learning environments

  • Modernized office space

You getting excited yet? No, just me?

Z // Differentiation

You and your team do one thing really well. What is it? What is a something that differentiates you from your competition today? What are your ideal clients usually most excited about before and after the project?

  • On budget?

  • On time?

  • Client involvement?

  • Detail-oriented?

  • Sustainable?

Nothing extra this time. Just the simple thing that you do really well.

Transformation Statement

Now we have all the parts. Let’s put them together!

Here’s 2 easy frameworks:

  1. We help [X] design/create [Y] with/out [Z].

  2. We design/create [Y] for [X] with/out [Z].

For example:

We design sustainable home additions for growing families without going over budget.

We help private tech companies create modernized office space in under 6 months.

We create powerful learning environments for newly-funded school districts through community involvement.


Now that you have it, what do you do with it?

This is your new high-quality client magnet.

Use it to grab their attention.

Put it:

  • In the fold of your website

  • At the top of your marketing materials.

  • On every business card.

  • On the title page of your pitch.

  • On the front page of your proposals.

Why does this work so well?

Your competitors are trying to be the best option for everyone in every scenario by using statements like:

  • ”Designing beautiful spaces”

  • “Creating environments for your future”

  • “Giving you the home you’ve always wanted”

Meanwhile, you’re raking in your ideal client by writing a single message that speaks directly to them and their situation. And you’re the only one doing it.

Sometimes you just need to tell them that you’re looking for them 🙂

P.S. Now you might be saying, “But Tyler, we work on a range of projects with a range of clients. I can’t make a single Transformation Statement that encompasses all of them.”

You’re right, that might not work. But what you can do is create a Transformation Statement for each sector. Direct traffic from that sector to that specific part of your website. And create multiple one-firm leagues for each ICP.

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