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The Making of Visible Experts: A Path for Seller-Doers in AEC

The seller-doer model is once again gaining traction in AEC firms. Some in the industry would even argue that it never left the industry. Semantics aside, how prepared are the seller-doers in your firm?

Seller-doers are those individuals that not only build business for their firms but are also technical professionals. The technical professionals are often the same ones delivering on the work. Being a seller-doer requires much more than technical expertise. It requires skills in listening, speaking, writing, and presenting. Exceptional seller-doers have the ability to ask the right questions, and more importantly, listen.

blogoffer-middle-contentmarketing-guideThese same skills are consistent with the findings of a joint study between Hinge and RAIN Group where winning firms and runner-up firms were assessed based on 42 behaviors. A key headline from this study identified the top three behaviors of winning firms – prospect education, prospect collaboration and prospect encouragement that success was achievable. Evidence that complementing technical acumen with a dash of client therapy and a splash of encouragement can lead to business growth.

One way that seller-doers can enhance their approach to business development is by highlighting their peers’ or even their own expertise through content. Content marketing is the process of producing informative and valuable content to help target audiences educate themselves on topics that are of importance to them (and happen to be related to your expertise).

Educational content can come in the form of blog posts, videos, eBooks, webinars or white papers. The key is providing information without directly promoting your firm. Producing content helps increase your firm’s ability to be found in search (SEO) and makes you more visible to prospective clients.

Through this deliberate creation of content, technical professionals can become Visible Experts℠. Visible Experts are those people who have attained high visibility and expertise in their industry, creating a personal brand that is recognizable industry-wide. By using content and thought leadership marketing as a channel for demonstrating expertise, seller-doers have the ability to create new, competitive differentiators for their firms.

Seller-doers setting out to create content must keep in mind some best practices:

  1. Content comes in two flavors – technical vs non-technical. According to our latest research on Visible Experts, buyers of AEC services go online to search for experts 95.6% of the time. Searchers will vary in levels of expertise and technical comprehension. Some will be decision makers while others will be influencers.
  2. Content orientation should address the different types of buyers. Early stage buyers, for example, are gathering information and understanding challenges and trends, whereas later stage buyers are willing to consume longer, more technical details.
  3. Marketing content is not content marketing. Good content marketing is selfless – it’s focused on the issues of your target audiences. Marketing content is the content that comes across as salesy and too inward focused.

Content marketing in AEC can be a productive platform for technical professionals. So, what are you waiting for? Give yourselves permission to become Visible Experts.

Additional Resources:

 How Hinge Can Help:

Hinge developed the Visible Expert® program to guide individual experts to greater prominence in their industry. This customized program is based on research into Visible Experts and buyers of their services. It provides a clear roadmap, tools and training for any individual who want to take their expertise to the highest level.

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Sylvia Montgomery, CPSM A Senior Partner and the head of Hinge’s A/E/C practice, Sylvia collects many shoes and wears many hats. When she’s not traveling around the country for speaking engagements or client meetings, you will find Sylvia creating marketing and branding strategies for clients, supervising her A/E/C team, developing new business, or working on her personal brand. With a 20+ year career spanning visual communications, strategy, and marketing, and over a decade working in the A/E/C sector, Sylvia brings a creative, business-focused approach to her client engagements.

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