Once again at the AIA show I saw lots of architects, which means I also saw lots of designer eyewear. What I didn’t see were a lot of architects visiting the building material exhibits on the show floor. That’s because they spend most of their time in class.
Architects want to learn. They don’t want to be sold.
If architects are there to learn and your booth traffic is low, then you have two choices.
1. Stop exhibiting at the AIA Show.
When you divide the number of leads you got by the cost of attending and exhibiting does the result seem like a worthwhile investment. If you took that same amount of money and spent it differently would you get better results with architects?
2. Change your strategy from selling to teaching.
Yes the architects are looking for CEU credits but they are also looking to learn how to design and build better buildings. They have problems that they want to learn how to solve, whether or not they get a CEU credit.
Too many building material manufacturers don’t take the time to consider the audience at the trade shows they attend. They use the same booth with the same message at a show for architects or builders or contractors. They take a one-size fits all approach, which reduces the effectiveness and their ROI.
You can be more successful selling building products to architects.
Rather than the old “Here’s my product and here’s why it’s great approach” why not show your expertise. Try messages like:
“How to keep moisture out of a building” instead of “The best moisture barrier”
“How to prevent heat gain” instead of “Energy saving glass”
“How to cut construction time” instead of “Our product installs faster”
“How to find the budget for the features you want” instead of “Lower installed cost”
“How to get owners talking about you” instead of “Automated HVAC saves energy”
Architects don’t buy building materials. They solve problems.
For an architect the message on your booth should be more about, let us show you how to solve a problem and less about why our product is better. As they are drawn into your booth and you help them solve a problem, your product will come up in the conversation as a good solution to their problem.
I’m not talking about replacing your CEU or Lunch and Learn programs. I’m talking about making your booth into a five minute one on one educational class if you want to sell more building products to architects.
As the person or company who helped them solve a problem, the architect will be much more likely to contact you in the future.
So unless you are going to add a display of designer eyewear to your booth, I suggest you start teaching more and selling less.