Great Conversations Start with Great Questions

An adapted summary for the AEC Industry by Bill Strong of an article by Michelle Davidson, Editor of RainToday

People come to you for help. They have a problem they can’t solve, so they need you—your service. Your natural reaction is to want to fix it immediately. You want to jump right in, offer a solution, and move on.

The problem is you don’t have enough information in that first conversation to provide an informed solution. You have to dig further, ask questions, and learn more about the client’s situation. Doing that helps you see things from the client’s perspective, helps uncover their true need, and enables you to frame your ideas in a way that most appeals to the decision maker.

Ask Questions
You need and want to be empathetic and put yourself in their position. Forget about describing everything your service can do and instead ‘solve for the person across the desk’. And you do that by asking lots of questions, such as:

  • Can you tell me about your business?
  • What’s not working?
  • How would things look or work if this problem were solved?
  • Why haven’t you already fixed/done this yourself?

Questions like those help the other person focus and articulate what’s going on, while at the same time give you the information you need to make suggestions. You want to help the person figure out what to do next, and questions help you do that.

Ask Yourself Questions
Before you say anything to a prospect or client, think about whether it is something that will help them—help them understand their own situation, their industry, you, how you operate, or how you’ve helped others. Don’t waste their time talking about things that have no bearing on their situation.


Why Aren’t You Blogging?

An adapted summary by Bill Strong of a post by sbutcher on

According to research by Hinge Marketing, the highest growth professional services firms use blogging at more than twice the rate of typical professional services firms. They’ve found blogs to be the second most effective digital marketing Furthermore, Hinge’s research has found that buyers of professional services check out company websites and Google firms more than they contact references provided by firms looking to do business with them.

There is little downside to blogging. Architectural, engineering, and construction firms always seem to be behind national marketing trends, and they are decidedly not oversaturated with blogs.

Why You Should Blog
Blogging does a lot of great things for your firm and staff, including:

  • Position Yourself as a Thought Leader
  • Build Your Company Brand
  • Enhance Your Writing Skills
  • Maintain Your Relationships
  • Expand Your Network
  • Provide Information and Ideas for Media
  • Analyze Trends and Stay Current
  • Drive Traffic to Your Company Website

The Audience
One challenge that potential A/E/C bloggers face is understanding their audience. Members of the millennial generation are accustomed to reading blogs. In light of this, the second thing you need to understand is that you don’t need to be limited in the breadth of your blog content.

Blogging Topics
‘What should I blog about?’ There are so many potential topics out there. Here’s a few:

  • Interesting Project—What are you working on now? What makes it different?—Remember your readers are smart, they know you need to respect confidentiality– its okay to be somewhat generic.
  • New Products—Are you specifying or installing a newer product? Why did your team choose it? What are the benefits? What are the concerns? How is it different than other similar products?
  • Clients and Vendors—Your clients and vendors are doing great things. Shine the spotlight on them.
  • Trends—Readers love trends. We all need to prepare ourselves and our firms for changes.
  • Sustainability—Discuss products, practices, techniques, certifications—many items to cover here.
  • Lessons Learned—Beyond your experiences, share information gained by attending conferences?
  • Repurpose Content—You are constantly creating content, whether you realize it or not. Take a presentation or an email explaining something, and pull the salient points into a blog post.
  • Your Interpretation—We are all exposed to an unending stream of content. Think of a recent article you read, or survey findings that you reviewed. Do you agree with it? If so, why? Right there’s a blog.
  • Conduct Research—Conduct a survey or interviewing others, then interpret the results and present the findings. Or write a white paper and then create an executive summary as your blog.

Clients are looking for you – and one of the best ways they can find you are through your blogs. Content is everywhere – all you need to do is take the time to look for it! Blogging is a major weapon that is being underutilized by A/E/C firms. If you are already blogging, keep it up and share some of your thoughts.


DSA Counts $5B in Downtown Construction Activity
July 21, 2017

SEATTLE–The Downtown Seattle Association’s 2017 Mid-Year Development Guide indicates a record $5 billion in current construction activity downtown. Residential builders are racing to meet demand with more than 30,000 units under construction or in development. Hotels continue to invest in new rooms, and as more employers locate downtown, commercial contractors are poised to deliver millions of square feet of new office space.

A mix of public and private investment is fueling this transformative growth in downtown Seattle. The Pike Place MarketFront expansion, Hing Hay Park improvements and other public space enhancements are providing more community assets for people who live, work or visit downtown.

Industry leaders like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, F5 and Google are expanding their downtown footprints, bringing additional workers and residents to downtown, and spurring additional economic growth in downtown neighborhoods.

Highlights include:
• There is currently $5 billion in construction activity, a 40 percent increase over last year and more than triple its lowest point in 2011.
• Residential projects continue to dominate, representing two-thirds of all projects under construction downtown. Most of this continues to be focused on apartment development.
• The pace of office construction has nearly tripled over the past decade, which will deliver over the next three years as much square footage as was delivered in the previous nine.
• Hotel development is setting records, including what will be the largest hotel in the region – a new 1,264-room Hyatt Regency in the growing Denny Regrade area. To be completed in 2018.

For a link to the Development Guide and other downtown construction information, please visit our development homepage. DSA publishes two development guides each year to quantify the total amount of residential and commercial development activity taking place within downtown Seattle. An annual update summarizing all development activity for the previous calendar year is published in February.