The Philosophy & Tools of a Professional Building Product Rep

Posted On: 
Dec 29, 2017
The Philosophy & Tools of a Professional Building Product Rep

“Why does resistance yield to our turning pro? Because resistance is a bully. Resistance has no strength of its own; its power derives from our fear of it. A bully will back down before the runtiest twerp who stands his ground. The essence of professionalism is the focus upon the work and its demands, while we are doing it, to the exclusion of all else,” says Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word philosophy can be defined as “a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology”. It can also be defined as “pursuit of wisdom”. A great building product rep is an intelligent, talented professional with a strong work ethic. In a previous blog, we discussed how building product reps need to be closers in good times and bad times. The philosophy of a great building product rep should encompass all these attributes.

Tools of A Professional Building Product Rep

Every successful building product rep needs the best tools available to get their products specified. Manufacturers that pinch pennies and don’t provide their reps with the proper tools will never succeed in the marketplace. Let’s review essential tools for every product rep.

  • Guide Specifications- Guide specifications are specification section “templates” containing editing notes to assist architects in specifying products. They are prepared according to CSI principles so that they can be incorporated into a Project Manual along with the many other sections needed to complete a project. For guide specifications, electronic versions are a must, while hard copy is optional.
  • Samples- With architects, “show and tell” really works, because architects are visual people. Passing samples around during an AIA lunch and learn presentation is an effective way to get them interested. Don’t be upset if they poke, scratch, or break your sample; they are simply testing its physical attributes. This is normal behavior and should not cause alarm.
  • Drawing Details- To integrate products into their building project, architects need drawing details so that they can see how it fits, for example, into a wall assembly along with other products. Drawing details should be made available in either hard copy or electronic format as requested by the design professional. Details should describe the product’s installation and its relationship to other construction.
  • Technical Literature- Once an architect has decided to consider your product, they will need detailed technical information to be sure that your product will fill their needs. Technical literature should be made available in either hard copy or electronic format as requested by the firm. There should be no obstacles on the manufacturer’s website preventing the architect from downloading literature, guide specs, and drawings. Make the process easy and you will get specified.
  • Sustainability Information- There are multiple opportunities for manufacturers to get specified on LEED v4 projects and maximize their ROI. Manufacturers should have LEED Product documentation on hand for architects. In addition, product reps should have transparency documentation such as Health Product Declarations (HPDs). HPDs are being requested by all the major AEC firms across the country.

Bottom line is that building product reps need to have the proper resources to get their products specified. What tools does your company provide to reps to help get specified? What the biggest challenges facing your reps in the field?

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank