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Thanks to all of you, my mailing list has outgrown Outlook. So I've moved to an email marketing service. That's the main reason for the later-than-usual publication of the E-Quip Ezine this month. I should have made the move a year ago, but being technologically challenged, I put it off as long as I could. Hopefully this first edition with the new format will go off without a hitch. If you encounter any problems on your end, please let me know.

Feature Articles

Attaining A/E/C Market Prominence. Research at the Rice University Building Institute reveals a dozen strategies for increasing your firm's competitiveness within its core markets. This article by Joe Powell focuses on three: (1) customer intimacy, (2) persistent branding, (3) category ownership. Check out the sidebar for a quick summary of all 12 strategies. READ

Your Value Proposition: Creating an Impact.
It's great to offer the customer outstanding value. It's even better when the customer notices. Unfortunately, many sales presentations and proposals contain contain no value proposition at all, even when the firm has a good story to tell. Consultant Tom Sant offers some tips on creating more impact with your value proposition. READ

Maintaining a Client Focus: A Roadmap for Success. Client focus is a common theme in our industry, but few firms have mastered it. Gerry Salontai, former CEO of The Kleinfelder Group, provides several practical suggestions for demonstrating client focus. READ

Here's How to Make Technical Staff Better Presenters. Preparing the team for a big shortlist interview can be a high-stress activity. There are many factors involved in the client's selection, but how well the team communicates is clearly one of them. That is not the time to develop those skills. This article by Susan Dell Orto offers some ideas for building those skills before you really need to draw on them. READ

PM Perspectives: Communication Practices [Not] to Avoid. A project manager should be spending about 90% of his or her time communicating. Sound like an exaggeration? Check out this interesting article--albeit mistitled--by ZweigWhite consultant Christine Brack. READ

Is Trust the Answer to Your Short-Term Memory Loss? For those of us over 50, short-term memory loss is a common sign of aging. But Charles Green suggests that a big part of the problem is that we weren't really focusing when we stored that piece of information (e.g., name, appointment, next steps, etc.). Could we improve our memory by giving more attention to those important relationships? READ

For addtional information and resources, check out my website and blog. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome. If I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to ask.

Mel Lester

Industry Trends

So Much For That ABI Turnaround.  The American Institute of Architects' Architecture Billings Index gave back some of the increase it registered in July as its August ABI rating was 41.7, down slightly from 43.1 in July. READ

Total Construction Spending Expected to Keep Falling in 2010. Despite some signs of recovery, total construction spending on an annual basis is expected to fall 12 percent this year and 4 percent in 2010. READ

From My Blog

Developing the Next Generation of Leaders. Our industry is facing a substantial talent drain over the next ten years. Is your firm prepared to pass the torch of leadership to the next generation? READ Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Relational vs. Transactional Selling. It's often noted that ours is a relationship business. Why then do we predominantly take a transactional approach to developing new business? READ

The Deceptive Distinctives. Virtually all firms want to pursue differentiation and the rewards that come with it. But the most common ways we attempt to differentiate ourselves really don't work. READ

Adding "Contours" to Your Presentations. I've sat in on hundreds of technically-themed presentations over the years and most of them taxed my attention span. Key problem: They were "flat" in both content and delivery. READ

Making CRM Work for Your Firm. What's the best Client Relationship Management (CRM) system for your firm? That's easy; whichever one will get used. READ
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