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They don’t teach us architects to sell

Communicate Foto CC by-nc-sa Simon Huggins

Communicate Foto CC by-nc-sa Simon Huggins

They don’t teach us architects to sell.

We’ve all heard it, as long as we can remember, that old saying about how “they don’t teach us architects to sell

I don’t doubt that the saying is true. But perhaps that isn’t actually the issue.

We say we want to sell but do we architects even know what a prosumer is? What generating trust is? What a prescriptor is? Do we know how to sell in the 21st century?

And what if the thing to do now is not sell?

Over the last few years we’ve seen a boom in social media. An overdose of a constant stream of superficial information. Against this backdrop, how can we reach potential clients if they are already saturated?

I’m not a specialist, but I do have some year’s experience as an autodidact below my belt. I dare recommend a line of action that must be clear and radically removed from advertising, marketing and sales.

We have to communicate.

I am that categorical in my conviction that the problem we have can be solved from a perspective that is broader than mere commodification.

It’s not only that we don’t know how to sell, it’s that our potential clients don’t understand what it is we sell.

To make up for this shortcoming, what we need is communication, dialogue, conversation. There needs to be a two-way exchange of ideas between those who provide the service, us (and on this point I will not compromise; our job is to provide services), and those who receive them, that is, society.

Our market is dead, but not because it has dried up. Rather we have done nothing to cultivate it.

To solve this problem, we can act consequentially.

And how? By communicating that our presence in a simple process like a family redoing their bathroom is not only necessary as prescribed by law, but is also tremendously productive. By explaining that architecture is something more than making little drawings. By making it understood that we are the ones ultimately (on the front line) responsible for the entire process of building for persons simply because we are the best prepared.

We believe that the key to our new established position in society (because it is not desirable to re-establish ourselves in the same position we were before that has generated so many problems for us) involves explaining not our wonderful results. Although many may enjoy them, few actually care. Rather we must explain the process, and especially that we are the agents in the process.

Conversation Foto CC by-nd Daniel TheDCoy

Conversation Foto CC by-nd Daniel TheDCoy

What we propose is to simply convey to potential clients that it is ideal to include our work in a process to cover a need for which we are considered not much more than a nuisance. Our role is immaterial and intangible. It can only be verified if one actually thinks about it in the very long term. Easy, right?

Well that is what we have to communicate. No selling, no pedagogy, nothing to draw clients.
The thing to do now is to lay a solid foundation explaining the value of what we offer in the process and make our work understood.

We have to generate a new cultural and social basis enabling us and the generations to come to maintain on-going dialogue with society. This is the only way we can take up our rightful place in the world we are supposed to be serving.

Text translated by Beth Gelb
[Miguel Villegas] Soy arquitecto, editor y consultor en arquitextonica, docente en la Escuela de Diseño CEADE-Leonardo y además de desarrollar mi tesis doctoral sobre arquitectura informacional, me dedico a hacer arquitectura al servicio de las personas junto a Lourdes Bueno Garnica en villegasbueno arquitectura. Lourdes Bueno y Miguel Villegas.

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