Carefully Designed Key Messages
Help Architectural Firm Land Major Contracts
The timing couldn't have been better. Looming on the horizon were extraordinary opportunities: two major projects on the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus. The first project involved a renovation of Kolthoff Hall, primarily centering on the design of new teaching laboratories. The second project entailed the design of a new classroom building for the Carlson School of Management.
RSP Architects was one of three firms to make the short list for both projects. With combined total construction costs estimated to be $47 million, the projects would generate substantial revenues for RSP. In preparing for presentations to a state designer selection board, there was one overriding objective: Develop and effectively communicate key messages that would differentiate RSP Architects from its competitors - in an allotted time of 15 minutes.
STRATEGIES AND TACTICS
Bringing in objective expertise
Spoken Impact played two crucial roles in the preparation process, according to Westman.
"The first thing they did was to sit down with us to talk about the opportunity, what we thought were important issues to the client and how we might go about selling ourselves in terms of those key issues," he explains. "At times," he continues, "Joan questioned the assumptions we had made, leading us to think that maybe we didn’t know as much as we thought when we began the process."
Next, Spoken Impact provided guidance in the development of the actual presentations, addressing both content and delivery. Moser advised the team to focus on the company's points of difference. In strategy sessions, team members first identified the positions their competitors were likely to take. Then they developed a position which conveyed RSP's unique attributes and expertise - building a compelling case for those who would make the final selection.
"We knew it was going to be a big challenge to say everything we felt was important to communicate in our allotted 15 minutes," says Westman. "Through our rehearsals, we discovered that it was taking twice as long as we thought to cover all the key points."
A persuasive case...and human connections
With Spoken Impact's help, RSP Architects rose to the challenge, delivering persuasive cases in very short spans of time. The foresight and hard work paid off: RSP won both University of Minnesota projects.
Moser encouraged the RSP team to establish strong personal connections by being: