Resources for Seller-Doers

The Seller-Doer model of business development is as old as the AEC industry. In fact, until the 1970s and 1980s, it was considered unethical, or even illegal, for professional services firms like architects and engineers to employ business developers. (Marketing and advertising were also prohibited.)

According to the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), “Seller-doers are technical staff who are also responsible for billable hours and, to some degree, for securing contracts or projects for their respective firms.” They are sometimes referred to as doer-sellers or closer-doers.

Presidents, principals, partners, project executives, project managers, lead architects and engineers, estimators, market leaders, department managers, branch managers, and more – all professionals frequently responsible for bringing in business as well as doing (or leading) the work once it is in-house. Thus, they “sell” and then they “do.”

In some firms, these seller-doers are the only business developers. This is a common model, and although more prevalent in smaller firms, it can be found in companies of all sizes.

Other companies utilize dedicated business developers to generate work from both existing and new clients.

And yet other firms incorporate both models, with seller-doers responsible for generating repeat business from existing clients while business developers focus on new business relationships.

There’s an unfortunate approach that seems cultural within the AEC industry. Professionals are promoted into positions that require them to generate new work. The new responsibilities are thrust upon them, and at about two-thirds of AEC firms, no sales training is provided. Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for disaster?

Furthermore, these firms also hire new staff members into certain positions, and require them to go get work — again with no business development training.

How is this model sustainable? You wouldn’t hire a CAD operator to weld steel or a structural engineer for interior design, so why would you expect a talented architect or project manager to be a salesperson without the proper training?

Fortunately aecumen is here to help! We’ve pulled together a number of resources to help seller-doers on their journey to becoming competent business developers, from blogs to books to formal training programs.

Blogs by Scott D. Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM

Books & Ebooks by Scott D. Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM

Presentations from aecumen:

Expanded training programs:

BD/Marketing Consulting & Facilitation Services

Interested in learning about seller-doer training? Reach out to Scott Butcher at 717.891.1393or