Business Relationships are Key

Architectural Insight…by Matthew Barhydt, AIA, LEED AP

I recently received a phone call from a former colleague with whom I worked many years ago. I probably hadn’t seen him in at least 10 years but when I picked up the phone and he said, “Matt, this is _____ _____,” I suddenly had an image of him in my mind and I remembered the firm where we had worked, the projects we had been on together, and even a bit about his family. We spent a couple of minutes catching up, which led to the reason for his call.

Working now for a prominent Owner’s Rep, he was asking me if my firm wanted to be included on an RFP he was about to send out for a new project. It wasn’t that he just decided to renew an old relationship. It turns out that we had presented to his firm and a client they were representing last fall and been short listed by them for his client’s project (which we ultimately lost out on). So we had already made a favorable impression. And in searching for another architectural firm to include on the RFP list, he got in touch with an engineer with whom he was working on a related project. In fact, this engineer and I are very friendly and we try to do a lot of co-marketing together; he immediately recommended my firm and me. Hence, the phone call.

We’re now putting together a proposal and we’ll see if we get the project. The lesson that I’ve taken from this–and it’s a lesson I’ve learned now many times—is that your best opportunities start with people you know. The big city is really not so big and you never know whom you’re going to run into from your past, especially once you begin to accumulate some years in your career. The professionalism with which you must always cloak yourself is critical but filter it through your own personal approach; you want people to remember you.

Matt Barhydt 8.7.10

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