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 coveted product specification.
But here’s the catch: While getting specified is crucial, 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 for each project. 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. These contractors are your target audience for increasing sales.
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.
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, an infrastructure gap may hinder 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.
In conclusion, getting specified is an important milestone, but it’s just the beginning. The journey continues as you work to convert specifications into tangible sales. By focusing on the strategies mentioned above, you can navigate the challenges of the construction industry, drive revenue growth, and realize a significant return on your investment.
Remember, specifications are the seeds of opportunity; it’s your expertise and strategic efforts that nurture them into flourishing sales.
Getting Specified and Still Losing the Sale: It’s all about your process!