How Do Architects Become Hooked on Your Building Products?

Posted On: 
May 12, 2017
How Do Architects Become Hooked on Your Building Products?

“User habits are hard to break and confer powerful competitive advantages to any company fortunate enough to successfully create them,” said researcher Nir Eyal in his national bestseller How Build Habit Forming Products. How do building product manufacturers get their products specified? How can manufacturers captivate design professionals? We will review research from Nir Eyal and how it applies to the building industry. In our previous blog previous blog, we outlined how a successful building product utilizes internal triggers to solve a user’s problem. Now we will look at other factors that can affect product specification.

Five Questions for Building Product Manufacturers

  1. What do architects really want? What pain is your building product relieving?
  2. What brings architects and spec writers to your building product?
  3. What is the simplest action architects can take in anticipation of reward, and how can you simplify your product to make this action easier?
  4. Are architects fulfilled by the reward yet wanting more?
  5. What do architects invest in your product?

The Hook Model that Eyal has developed is fundamentally about changing people’s behaviors. Building product manufacturers are in the persuasion business. Eyal has created four categories of entrepreneurs that can offer guidance on whether manufacturers should attempt to hook certain users.


These manufacturers use their own product and believe it can improve people’s lives. This group of building product manufacturers has the highest chance of success because they understand the architect’s needs. For example, let’s say Bob is a building product rep who works for a window manufacturer. Bob makes a decent living promoting the windows but secretly would not use them for his own house. This would be an epic fail. You have to want to use a product and truly believe it will improve people’s lives. The product specs might look great, the manufacturer may offer an amazing AIA CEU course, and the sales force might be staffed by product reps with a CSI CDT and LEED GA credential. However, the role of the Facilitator is to promote a building product that they would use.


These building product manufacturers believe their products can improve lives but they don’t use them. They are disconnected from their users and their products. Building product manufacturers who don’t fully understand architects waste time and resources creating products with a low success rate. Eyal notes that “peddlers tend to lack empathy and insights needed to create something users truly want.”


On the other hand, Entertainers use their products but don’t believe they will improve people’s lives. Entertainers can be very successful but their products lack staying power. Products in the entertainment industry such as video games can be potentially addictive but can fade from user’s lives. We all know building product reps who are hilarious pranksters who could sell a glass of water to a drowning man. These talented professionals know their products inside and out and depend on their magnetic personalities and good distribution channels to get their products used. Many of us have seen certain building products become a trend for a few years and then fade into the distance. How many recycled green products, modular/prefab manufacturers, and next generation nanotechnologies have been praised at a convention to only disappear a year later?


Building product manufacturers who neither use their products or believe they can improve people’s lives have the lowest chance of success. Dealers often find themselves in precarious situations to sell products. Dealers are out to make a quick buck and screw anyone who gets in their way. We all know manufacturers in the industry, many that have gone bankrupt, that have used unscrupulous methods to sell products. These manufacturers will undersell their products, not honor warranties, blame others for their mistakes, are here today and gone tomorrow. Some of these products can be tantalizing from the outside, but in the end the badly engineered products and immoral sales methods will cause problems.

Influencing Product Specifications

“Creating habits can be a force of good, but it can be used for nefarious purposes. What responsibility do product makers have when creating user habits?” asks Eyal. Manipulation and exploitation are immoral ways to change others behavior. Trying to make an architect or contractor do something that they wouldn’t do otherwise is immoral. Building product manufacturers need to follow an ethical code of contact when engaging with architects, engineers, interior designers, and contractors.

Describing the benefits, limitations, applications, maintenance, and other aspects of your building product should be conveyed in a truthful manner that will assist the architect. AIA lunch and learns are a significant opportunity for product manufacturers to reach AEC firms. It is crucial that building product reps are honest during these presentations about their products pros and cons. The AIA CES Provider Manual offers several suggestions for product reps. We will examine a few-

  • AIA Providers shall provide all services competently. Product manufacturers should not discriminate in the delivery of continuing educational activities or the conduct of research and scholarly courses on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability.
  • AIA Providers shall not misrepresent the credentials of presenters, assistants or personnel and shall inform those that are involved in the educational activities of the name and professional credentials of persons providing services. Providers shall not misrepresent information regarding building products.
  • Building product manufacturers shall adhere to prevailing professional standards when referencing other professional entities, research results and products. Product reps shall not demean any other provider and/or product manufacturer by advertising, announcing or marketing in any manner.
  • AIA Providers shall not engage in dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation or any form of conduct that adversely reflects on the AIA CES provider system or on the profession of other manufacturers or AIA CES providers.

Ultimately, it is essential that building product manufacturers create products that improve people’s lives, maintain ethical standards, and abide by industry wide rules like the AIA CES Provider Manual. How does your company influence product specifications? What ethical standards do you apply to your building product reps?

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