Cold Contacting, Pro Bono Concept Proposals in hopes of project realization?


Has anyone done cold approaches (email or mail proposal pamphlets) to potential clients for potential projects?

This may sound like an architect trying to push their own agenda in terms of trying to force a solution to a non-existent problem/demand... But let's assume, after doing due diligence on market research, that there is a local supply gap for a building typology. The high-level conceptual study is pro bono (programming with some pretty visuals), but the hope is that it connects to something real. 

What would be the best way to convey such proposals without sounding like a desperate architect trying to find work?

If anybody has succeeded in such pursuits (no matter the scale), it would be greatly appreciated if you can share your experience. 

Apr 14, 21 6:34 pm

this is reasonable and if backed up with good research, totally normal in some sectors. good luck.

Apr 15, 21 12:25 am  · 

I would say that I have had similar experiences working with contractors or developers in such endeavors. Teaming with an additional stakeholder who can provide funding, construction ability, tenant occupation that proves a revenue stream can all make it a more attractive offer. Cold calling is about making it as easy as possible to convert a sale. Remove more barriers for the person you are trying to persuade. Think bigger about how you can make the building happen than just what you could design. 

Apr 15, 21 12:50 am  · 
1  · 

I can't speak to cold calling clients, but I've occasionally had to cold call consultants for at-risk pursuits. Calling random people I don't know and asking if they want to do some free work in the hopes of maybe getting a project someday doesn't make anyone feel warm and fuzzy, so I've had to rely on touting success stories to prove I'm a totally real person and not looking for handouts. I can't imagine it's that much different with clients, though I don't think that's anyone's preferred way to get (or give) work. Though I have worked for someone who tried to call up developers and send them random renderings to try and get them excited... Not my style though.

Not to get into this level of discussion but I've posted here trying to understand the ethics of architects advertising their services in the past, and this seems to blur the line of what's considered advertising.

Apr 15, 21 11:35 pm  · 

i've been on the wrong end of scope creep so much that this doesn't bother me at all. this is what normal conversations look like now. i suppose that's what it looks like when you start building call uses around your soul.

Apr 16, 21 7:22 pm  · 

If you have non-site specific concepts for something innovative, consider getting them published in the local business or residential design magazine in the area where the potential clients are.

We will totally do cold outreach to someone if we think they have some potential need for an architect.  There's is no shame in a person seeking business.  The idea that architects can just sit around and wait for clients to show up with projects is a falsehood.

That said, I would approach making pro-bono stuff tailored to a specific potential client with great caution.

Apr 16, 21 11:16 am  · 
3  · 

Can you expand on your last comment? Why would a specific proposal to a specific client be risky? Also, what if it's a civic entity?

Apr 16, 21 7:03 pm  · 

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