Becoming a Preferred Product Representative

A significant challenge for a representative of architectural construction materials is satisfying the needs of many different customers. Your objective is becoming a preferred product representative for each of them. These customers include architects and engineers who specify your products; general contractors, construction managers and subcontractors who purchase your products; and your manufacturers’ marketing and customer service departments that provide you sales support. We will look at how you can work effectively with each of these customer groups to become preferred. Architects and Engineers (A/E) Although every customer is important, for the architectural construction materials representative, this group requires the most attention and service. If architectural products are not included in the  s, the opportunity to receive a purchase order from your end customer is significantly reduced. For most products that you represent, the A/E’s should demand 40% – 50% of your time. Here is a summary of the keys for satisfying your A/E’s: Understand needs and personalities Provide solutions, not just technical product knowledge Develop strong personal relationships Become a trusted advisor Be professional Respond to questions and concerns on a timely basis Respect their time General Contractors, Construction Managers, and Subcontractors You have worked diligently with the A/E customer group to get your product specified. Now you must provide customer service and product bids to general contractors, construction managers, and subcontractors in order to receive a purchase order. There are numerous challenges in satisfying the needs of this group. For these businesses, their priority is to receive quotes that help them close a contract for a project that optimizes their profit and strengthens their relationship with their clients. Even if your products are listed in the specifications, or even if they are the basis of design, these customers may not use your price. Here are the keys to satisfying the needs of general contractors, construction managers, and subcontractors—and therefore closing more projects: A person-to-person relationship is still critical to sales success. These customers work with the product representatives they respect and with whom they enjoy working. Your product price is only one component required to close a sale. Develop strong personal relationships with your key customers in this group to close more sales. This group of customers is likely to be large. Divide them into key, second level, and third level customers. Focus on the key customers. The Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) holds true with this group. Approximately 80% of your orders will come from only about 20% of your customers. Be professional. You will not get every order. Learn from each quote and personal contact to build your understanding of each customer’s needs. Offer your most competitive price on each project, but more importantly sell solutions...

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