Being Specified and Still losing the sale.

Getting Specified and Still Losing the Sale: Navigating the Challenges

For building product manufacturers collaborating with architects, the ultimate goal is to secure their products’ specifications in construction projects. Achieving this milestone requires a strategic approach, including listing products in industry-standard master specification systems like SimpleSpecs and engaging directly with design professionals using 3-part specifications.

Having walked the path as a former architectural representative, I understand the journey well. It involves countless hours spent in webinars, trade shows, and conversations with industry experts, followed by hundreds, if not thousands, of calls each year – all in pursuit of the being specified.

But here’s the catch: While getting specified is crucial to building a brand, it’s not the endpoint. Many manufacturers find themselves at a crossroads once they’ve established a foothold in the specification process. They begin to question how to translate these specifications into actual sales, thus realizing a return on investment (ROI).

So, let’s dive into getting specified and still losing the sale can be corrected.

The Specification Dilemma

Initially, it’s natural to equate specifications with sales. It seems logical that the more specifications a manufacturer secures, the more opportunities they have to boost sales. However, reality often unfolds differently. The truth is that a specification marks the starting point of a longer journey.

After overseeing the development of three specification departments, I’ve come to understand that while manufacturers may be content with specification rates as a metric in year one, they inevitably aim for year-over-year sales growth as the ultimate goal.

So, how can you turn specifications into tangible sales? Here are some strategies to consider:

1. Learn 3-Part Specifications

Invest time in mastering the art of writing 3-part specifications. A well-crafted specification document can serve as the foundation for successful product integration into construction projects.

2. Understand Specification Details

Take the time to learn how to read specifications and interpret Division 01, the section that sets the stage for project requirements. This knowledge will enable you to align your product offerings effectively.

3. Navigate Product Substitution

Be well-versed in the product substitution process and master how to create substitution packages.  Understand when and how substitutions can occur and position your products as viable alternatives.

4. Follow Specifications Through Bidding

Stay engaged throughout the specification’s journey, from its creation to the bidding process. This involvement allows you to address any inquiries and ensure that your products remain top-of-mind during the selection process.

5. Develop an Estimating Department

Create an estimating department within your organization that can accurately assess project requirements based on specifications. This ensures that your pricing aligns with project budgets.

6. Maintain Contractor Relationships

Compile a list of contractors experienced in installing your products, as well as those who work with your competitors. Navigating these contractors are your target audience for learning markets, who’s connected and daily ROI.

7. Nurture Architect Relationships

Identify and maintain a list of architects who consistently specify your products. Stay engaged with them on each project, offering support and addressing any product-related queries.  The goal is to stay relevant, not exhaust your audience.

8. Seal the Deal

As specifications progress into the bidding process and eventually reach the awarded installation contractor, don’t hesitate to ask for an order. Make your products the obvious choice.

Evaluating Your Process

If you’ve been successful in securing specifications but haven’t witnessed year-over-year sales growth, it’s time to scrutinize your approach. Often, your infrastructure isn’t set up to embrace the specification process, and limiting the transformation of specifications into sales.

Once you’ve built a solid foundation of specifications, the next skill to master is the art of substitutions. This strategic approach allows you to position your products effectively when project requirements evolve.

Always remember that getting specified is an important milestone, but it’s just the beginning. The journey continues as you work to convert specifications into tangible sales. You can navigate the challenges of the construction industry, drive revenue growth, and realize a significant return on your investment when you play the game well.

Remember, specifications are the seeds of opportunity; it’s your audience and strategic efforts that nurture them into building your brand and an endless pipeline of sales requests.

Getting Specified and Still Losing the Sale: It’s all about your process!