“… Look at everything she’s doing!”
A building designer named Jenny Pippin, who I’m doing some work with, shared with me an email she sent to an architect who asked her for advice in getting more referrals.
Her response is an incredible demonstration of the saying, “Of course she’s successful… look at everything she’s doing.”
Jenny is exceptional in several ways, but one thing that really impressed me about her from the start is that she has completely dedicated herself to her profession. It’s difficult to find someone who has taken so much additional coursework in their field so that they can truly provide an extraordinary outcome to their clients.
While it’s a bit longer than my usual posts, I think it’s worth a few minutes of your time to see what it takes to build a terrific business.
Here’s Jenny’s response to the architect:
I don’t mind you asking at all and I am happy to share with you.
I wish I could say it was one easy thing that I do, but it’s been literally tons of things that I’ve done over the past 30 years I’ve been in business that brings me the new home clients.
When I first started my business, of course I had no way into the new home client group, so I had to market myself to Builders first, by joining the Charlotte HBA and networking with them. I just happened (although I know that nothing is by chance) to have been designing spec homes for a Builder who decided he wanted to build a home in The Peninsula’s ‘Street of Dreams’ home tour. The Peninsula was fairly new at that time, it was 1991 and the tour was to be held the next spring in 1992. Well, remarkably the home I designed for him in that tour won the ‘Best Architectural Design’ category and the ‘Best of Show’! There were hundreds of people who came through the home and it gave me some great exposure.
That brought a lot of custom clients my way and the media exposure helped even more. I had also joined the AIBD, in 1987. It’s the American Institute of Building Design and they have an annual national Design competition, which I entered and won awards for my projects in it every year that I entered and used that to gain more local media exposure, by having my projects featured in articles. I also began writing articles for the Today’s Custom Home magazine, which went out of business in 2008. What a bummer!
I’ve also had in the past, a full time marketing director on staff and retained the services of an outside marketing firm, who has kept me out there in the public in various ways: public speaking, teaching, writing, press releases published, etc. Very little has been spent on actual advertising, because the other methods have been so successful. I have also been designing in the Lake Norman for 30 years, so the repeat business and referrals has been tremendous. I’ve held educational events for Realtors, for Builders, for other trade associations, such as NARI, the AIBD, the HBA, etc. I designed and built a certified green home of my own, and open it to the public for tours, and fund-raisers for our local Habitat for Humanity for over a year, where literally hundreds of people in the community and other organizations had tours and educational events there. It was also published in local and national media.
I’ve been active in donating my design services to the local Habitat and others. I’ve spoken at colleges, I’ve employed interns, I’ve had open house events at the office building I used to own on Catawba Avenue in Cornelius, which was a very old house that I renovated, built in 1905. I’ve been active in several of the Chamber of Commerces: the Mooresville / South Iredell Chamber, the Lake Norman Chamber and the Charlotte Chamber. I been the Co-chair of the Lake Norman Homebuilders Assoc. Green Building Council, active on the Remodelers Council, the Women’s Council, on the LN HBA Board of Directors, and I started both the Marketing Committee and the Design Competition for the Lake Norman Homebuilders Association. I’ve been active with the National Association of Women Business Owners and actually won their ‘Woman Business Owner of the Year’ award in 2004, along with The Mecklenburg Times ’50 Most Influential Women’ award in 2004, as well.
I stay in contact with past clients and ask them for referrals. I send a “We Love our Clients” gift some years on Valentine’s day. I have a Houzz Pro account that I constantly up-date with new photos of homes we’ve just completed and ask for client Reviews on it. I do a constant regular follow-up of all our Prospects and I network with an all women group of industry related professionals, and our goal is to share business with one another.
So, all of these opportunities have given me tons of exposure to the public and the opportunity to gain a chance at designing someone’s new home, as well as, renovations. I see marketing as almost a full time job, just as designing is for me, and it takes a lot of my time. However, it is also another passion of mine and I enjoy it. If you have any specific questions about any of the things I mentioned here, let me know.
Enjoy your evening,
Jennifer Beaman Pippin, FAIBD, CPBD, CGP
Pippin Home Designs, Inc.