As a general rule specifiers (architects, engineers, interior designers) do not want to talk to salesmen. In fact it is best to even avoid the word ‘sales’ in the job description of your specification salesman.

What specifiers do want is technical information and advice and they will be happy to have a dialogue with a manufacturer or supplier who can provide good quality, comprehensive information on demand.

Specification selling is about creating awareness of your products and the benefits that their use can bring to a project.

This means providing a section on your website which can be easily accessed with technical data, approvals, test reports and drawings available as downloads. Don’t require people to log onto your website to download technical data, nothing annoys specifiers more!

You should also publish direct numbers for your technical team so that it is easy to contact them. Most important, the Specification Salesman (perhaps with the job title ‘Technical Consultant’ or similar) should have a good level of technical knowledge and be able to answer at least 80% of questions immediately.

When selecting products, part of the specifier’s decision making process will be evaluating the level of technical support available in terms of competence, speed and ease of access. Those promoting products made overseas should note that they will need to work even harder to demonstrate their support as specifiers are nervous of selecting a product which does not have any local test reports or support.

While a company continues to provide a good level of support the specifier will continue to use their products and services, making them the first point of contact for any new enquiries. they will be unlikely to turn to others unless you let them down or cannot provide the product needed.

This is an important opportunity to differentiate through the service you provide. Fail to do this and your company will lose out to its competitors.

In exchange for this support, the specifier should be prepared to provide information about a project such as timing, quantity of materials required and contact details for other members of the project team. Similarly a relationship can be built with some specialist contractor where they will exchange information about projects in exchange for leads and background details of other projects.

Effective Specification Selling is a crucial construction sales activity for any business that wants to reduce dependence on price and create demand for its products. Learn more about the process by attending Chris Ashworth’s training seminar:Effective Specification Selling at the Building Centre on 29th March 2012.

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