Pay Attention: 3 Things That Encourage Specification
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The AEC industry is constantly changing, and it can be hard to keep up. The challenge as a manufacturer is knowing how to get your product specified regardless of these changes. The obvious starting point is having a great product. Even the best sales rep can’t get a product specified if the competition blows it out of the water. Additionally, networking is vital, both face to face and online. Having a LinkedIn page, Facebook profile, an Instagram and Twitter feed, and of course, a website are as vital to reaching diverse groups of specifiers as lunch and learns, road warriors, and conferences. In a previous blog, we covered 4 Steps to Getting Your Building Products Specified, which cover the basics to start with, after these two steps are covered.
What Next, Then?
Once all these things are in place, a product manufacturer should then pay attention to some more distinct details to get specified. These include:
- Design Principles: Architects and designers tend to respond to ordered design, which is why it’s beneficial to include the principles of design in the product itself, if possible, and in a product presentation, no matter what. These principles include balance, unity, contrast, variety, movement, harmony, proportion, and rhythm. Even if a product isn’t “artistic” in nature, the way it is presented can benefit from following these principles. In fact, especially if a product isn’t “artsy”, utilizing the design principles in presentation materials can help specifiers see order, not chaos.
- Specifiers Needs: The AEC industry’s focus has turned to outcomes. If an architect is designing a hospital, they need to be aware of the challenges a nurse deals with—how can steps and movement be eliminated in the middle of a trauma? How quickly can an ER doctor move from room to room? Which product help meet these needs? Product manufacturers must find out what the needed outcomes are and showcase how their product meets that need. Additionally, if the project is trying to be LEED certified, which is more and more likely as sustainable building becomes the norm, knowing how their product can contribute points to certification is highly beneficial for all product manufactures. Having a sales rep who is a LEED Green Associate is also a way to know the language of a project specifier and alleviate fears of trying a new product. We offer a free LEED Exam Prep course for those interested in their LEED GA.
- Fear of a New Product: A focus on outcomes means that it’s safer for architects and designers to stick to what they know. Taking a chance on a new product or manufacturer is scary. One way to alleviate fears is to have transparency documents available, such as HPDs, EPDs, and Declare Labels. We have discussed these documents in previous blogs, like 4 Transparency Documents That Help Specification on Both LEED v4 & WELL Projects. Another way is to present a case study. A case study shows how a challenge was faced and what benefit was gained from it—more importantly, how your product can help the architect or designer benefit from meeting challenges.
In the end, while all this helps, it doesn’t replace the value of relationship. A manufacturer’s product has the best chance of being specified if can play a role in solving problems and grow sales. The best way to find out what these problems and sales needs are is to know the PEOPLE who are the decision makers. This is done from time spent on building a relationship and continually building into that. One of the ways to encourage relationship if someone is the new kid on the block is to create AIA online courses, webinars, and LEED courses. This helps manufacturers get the word out about their products. Do you already incorporate these tips into your business relationships? How has this benefitted specification opportunities?
For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank