Why Building Product Reps Should Avoid Short Term Sales
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“Avoid short-term sales at the expense of long-term relationships. Make yourself the design professional’s resource, not his enemy,” says Craig K. Haney, FCSI, CCS. For decades, Mr. Haney has written specs for some of the country’s top building product manufacturers and AEC firms. He offers a unique perspective on how building product manufacturers can forge a successful relationship with design professionals. In a previous blog, Mr. Haney discussed the top mistakes that building product reps make. Let’s hear what he has to say about short-term sales-
“While working as an in-house specifier for a large firm in Dallas, Texas I was approached by one of the firm’s project designers and asked to specify a building product for a current project. This product was to be used in an exterior application, but it appeared to me that it might not perform as expected on the exterior of a building.
I asked the designer if he had checked on this aspect of the product, and he assured me that he had. When I asked who had told him that an exterior installation was acceptable, he responded that the local representative had. I asked who that person might be. My fears were confirmed when the designer revealed who that person was; someone that I knew from previous experience would say nearly anything to get a sale.
I asked the designer to please arrange a meeting with the local representative at our office. During the next few days I was able to reach a technical advisor at the manufacturer of the product, and asked him whether or not this product was suitable for exterior use. He responded, 'Absolutely not; it will delaminate and change color!'
When I sat down with the local representative and the designer, I asked the representative whether this was an acceptable use for this product. He stated that it was. I asked him to leave and never return. He tried several times over the ensuing years to get back in good standing with me, but I refused to even take his phone calls. Why would I want to trust someone who could have cost my firm a huge amount of money for litigation expenses and replacement costs? Moral of the story: Avoid short-term sales at the expense of long-term relationships. Make yourself the design professional’s resource, not his enemy."
How does your company ensure that your product reps are acting ethically in the field? What type of training does your company offer to ensure that your employees are following aboveboard practices? How does your company train product reps to deliver AIA CE presentations?
For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank