The specification sales team is an expensive resource, but used effectively it can create demand, reduce the importance of price and transfer influence away from the supply chain to the manufacturer. Effective specification selling is an important skill for the construction professional, the benefits are:
- Reducing the focus and thus importance on price – By adding value, through stronger business relationships, you will encourage customer loyalty and reduce the focus on price.
- Demand creation – by creating awareness of products and systems with specifiers.
- Forecast demand and identify trends -By having close relationships with key customers and decision makers.
- Streamlined business processes – Working together means unnecessary processes can be striped back, saving time and money.
- Stronger business relationships, enabling repeat orders – By encouraging customer loyalty you will gain repeat business.
- Lessons that can be applied across your customer base – Learning outcomes from developing streamlined processing with one customer can be cost effectively provided to all.
- Improved customer satisfaction – Greater efficiency and value for money will result in happier customers.
- Gain competitive advantage over competitors – Building strong business relationships and hence loyalty will make it much harder for your competitors to secure any of your business.
The specifier of building products can be Client, Architect or Engineer. He or she may be employed by a Contractor or be an indirect influencer such as a Quantity Surveyor, Planning or Building Control Officer. It is important to understand the Decision Making Unit (DMU) to really optimise your specification strategy. The decision to specify a product is based on many factors, some of them conflicting. Products are selected because of more than their performance or price. Government drives product selection with initiatives, building regulations and planning. Sustainability is a key factor in product selection, BIM is also bringing about changes in the DMU, changing the dynamics of influence on product specification.
There are a number of considerations when implementing an effective specification sales process. Below is an overview of the process.