Product Reps Should Treat Everybody as a Potential Client
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The best salespeople see everyone in the world as a potential customer. Everyone knows someone. They know someone that can become a customer or a referral. Product reps should treat all noncustomers as existing clients.
In a previous blog, A Building Product Rep Credo, we discussed that product reps should treat customers like friends. Architects, specifiers, and contractors need to be listened to and their questions answered. Every potential customer needs to be treated with respect as to not torpedo a promising relationship. As they say, business can come from unexpected places.
Visiting an Architect’s Office
One of the most crucial jobs of a building product rep is to visit architects. During the Design Development and Contract Documents phases, product reps should visit with the respective AEC firms. Office visits may fall under several categories including: introductory, product specific, and specification.
When a product rep enters an AEC firm, the first person they meet is the receptionist. The receptionist is a crucial person in every firm as they act as the gatekeeper to keep pesky salesmen, transients, and troublemakers out of the office. Architects need to be billing hours and their time is very valuable. Therefore, it is crucial for a product rep to establish a great relationship with the front desk.
Don’t Make Enemies
When dealing with employees who may not be decision makers, always treat them with respect. Don’t make enemies! Always treat receptionists, interns, CAD operators, and others with respect and courtesy. Don’t burn any bridges as it may ruin your specification opportunities later on. Today’s intern might be running the firm in ten years and calling the shots.
Many times, the decision makers are too busy to see product reps and sales people. Sometimes decision makers only block out time if there is a problem. Be the problem-solver! If an architect wants to speak with you, they need a problem fixed. Show up. Don’t be late. And do your best.
Specifiers Aren’t Buying Anything from You
Getting specified is easy. Just have the specifier, architect, or designer fill out the purchase order and go collect your big commission check. If only it was that easy. Newcomers to the industry sometimes think that’s how it works.
Don’t delay getting involved in projects. Get involved with a project early on. Try and get in the office master specification. This way you are automatically specified on every project the design professional works on. If you have been a problem-solver and asset to the architect, this should happen.
Don’t Trash Your Competition
You may have the greatest product in the industry. It blows away the competition. However, never trash your competitors. Explain the differences between your products and the competition but don’t fall into the trap of talking negatively about other companies. In fact, try not to even mention your competition by name.
You Better Have the Best Tools Available
Finally, you better have the best tools at hand when visiting with decision makers. AIA continuing education is a must. Educating architects via online courses, webinars, and AIA lunch and learns are all effective strategies. In addition, the proper product documentation is a necessity. If you don’t have a Health Product Declaration (HPD) you’re in trouble! HPDs are one of the most requested documents for specification for green building projects. LEED v4.1 offers many new opportunities for getting specified and HPDs are a key component of this system.
How do you train your product reps for architectural visits? What suggestions do you have for your employees when dealing with design professionals?
For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank