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
- Business Development Is Not What You Think It Is
- DISCovering the Role Roles of Personality Profiles in Marketing & Business Development
- Do Your Project Managers Know How to Sell?
- Is the Seller-Doer Model Right for Your AEC Firm?
- Seller-Doer Tools: Networking
- Marketing & Business Development: How Many Touches Before a Sale?
- Seller-Doer Tools: Content Marketing
- Seller-Doer Tools: Social Media & Social Selling
- Seller-Doer Tools: Warm Calling
- Seller-Doer Tools: Account Mining
- When Should You “Up” Your Business Development Game?
- Ten Trends in A/E/C Business Development (ENR.com)
- Rethinking Sales: Business Developers & Seller-Doers Use Different Approaches (ENR.com)
- The Business Development Mix: Do You Have the Right Stuff? (ENR.com)
- How Firms are Using Technical and Non-Technical Staff to Win New Business (ENR.com)
- Is There a Better Term than Seller-Doer? (ENR.com)
- Reputation-Building Tools for A/E/C Professionals (ENR.com)
- Getting Inside the Prospect’s Head – Advice from A/E/C Clients (ENR.com)
- Advice for Creating Seller-Doers: Taking the “Selling” Out of Sales (ENR.com)
Books & Ebooks by Scott D. Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM
- Sell. Do. Win Business. How A/E/C Firms are Using Staff to Win More Work (SMPS/SMPS Foundation)
- Networking for A/E/C Professionals: A Blueprint for Seller-Doers
- Social Selling in the A/E/C Industry (new edition coming soon)
- A/E/C Business Development: The Decade Ahead (co-leader, researcher, co-author; from and benefits SMPS Foundation)
- Reputation Design+Build: Creating Winning Personal Brands for Engineering, Design, and Construction Professionals
Presentations from aecumen:
- 10.5 Business Development Tools for Seller-Doers
- Social Selling for A/E/C Firms
- Establishing a Seller-Doer Culture at Your Firm
- Behind the Curtain: Presentation Skills for A/E/C Professionals
- Personal Reputation Management in the A/E/C Industry
Expanded training programs:
- AEC Seller-Doer Training Program
- AEC Content Marketing Training Program
- AEC Proposal Training Program
- AEC Personal Brand Training Program
BD/Marketing Consulting & Facilitation Services
Interested in learning about seller-doer training? Reach out to Scott Butcher at 717.891.1393or firstname.lastname@example.org.