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Getting Specified

Colin Gilboy considers his Getting Specified newsletter series to be the most important series he has written. The articles summarize what he wishes he knew when starting out as an independent rep in 1975. Gilboy recommends every person on a company’s sales and marketing team be familiar with the concepts. The article also includes thoughts on what is next if you were specified and did not get the sale.

“Specified construction product” marketing is considered to be one of the most complex marketing undertakings in business. Some of the complexity:

  • Time – perhaps 5-10 years from start of design, to your shipping materials, to turn over of building to the owner
  • Number of people involved in the evaluation and decision – architect, engineer, specifier, owner, contractor, sub-contractor, code and fire officials
  • Uniqueness of each project
  • Cost of the project
  • Risk of product decision influencing changes and delays

Specified Product Marketing is divided into 2 phases:

  • Design – from start to bidding – The 4specs focus is on the design side.
  • Construction – from bidding to turn over and warranty work

This page includes past 4specs newsletters on Getting Specified with some additional introduction notes.

  • Things to Ponder About Specifiers – Specifiers have different mindsets and experience than most architects. From Liz O’Sullivan’s blog: “People who read this blog know that I’m a specifier, and therefore pretty technically-minded. But many people don’t know that I haven’t always been technically-minded. I migrated to the technical side of architecture from a place of relative technical weakness.”
  • Selling to Architects – For an architect the message on your booth should be more about, let us show you how to solve a problem and less about why our product is better. As they are drawn into your booth and you help them solve a problem, your product will come up in the conversation as a good solution to their problem.
  • How Many Architectural Firms – The number of firms is much lower than most manufacturers think. 175 firms – 1% – have 100 or more employees and account for more than one quarter of the profession’s total billings – and probably more than 1/4 of the total value of major construction projects.
  • Finding the Spec Writers – How do you identify and follow up with the specifiers? Help the specifier become confidentabout the local installation of your materials before specifying your products on his projects.
  • Finding the Specialty Firms and Specifiers – When your products are very specialized (detention hardware as an example) and only used on a small number of projects, the specification process is very different. The number of specialized firms is probably smaller than you expect – perhaps in the 100-200 firm range on a national basis, or less.
  • Idealized “Getting Specified” Process – This is a somewhat “tongue in cheek” summary of an idealized process to being specified on larger construction products – and yet very close to best the best way to get specified.
  • Getting to Know the Specifier – Commercial construction is all about relationships, and a great relationship between your local rep and the specification community is essential. Consider these points when recruiting a new rep.
  • Updating An Architect’s Specifications – when an architect or specifier asks you to review their spec, do it. I consider this to be the very best marketing opportunity there is.
  • Getting Specified and Still Losing the Sale – Countless hours are spent attending webinars, trade shows, and listening to experts, followed by hundreds, if not thousands, of calls each year to support that goal. How do we get a return on investment? Can we 

Colin Gilboy (Publisher – 4specs)

View the original article here : Getting Specified