Contributed by Cherise Lakeside
I am a construction specifier. Construction Product Representatives are vital to my work. Frankly, I can’t do my job without them and they are my most valuable resource. That said, I often struggle getting what I need from them, in the format and language that I need it. In order to do my job effectively, efficiently and get it done on time – I need this to change.
It is rarely their fault.
This blog is for many of the Manufacturers that employ Product Reps to sell your product. You are doing it wrong.
The bottom line is that there is a whole lot more to Construction Documents and design contracts than just throwing the particulars of a product in a specification. We need manufacturers to understand this, embrace it and provide us with documents and information that we can use.
A few very simple examples:
The honest answer? If you have a product that I can use? It is likely your documents stink, I have other comparable manufacturers already listed and I just don’t have the time in my project budget to rewrite your documents properly in order to use them on my project. We are not paid to do your job. We may want to use your product. I once spent three days rewriting one product section so I could use it on my project and comply with my design contract requirements. Had I not needed that very specialized section, there is no way I would have spent that time fixing a manufacturers spec.
The Product Reps get the brunt of our dissatisfaction with the documents we are provided by manufacturers. They don’t write them, typically are not allowed to rewrite them (if they know how) but yet are asked to get their products into our specs. C’mon, make it easy for them.
So, for the manufacturers, what can you do? You can do a lot that will make all the difference to me as a specifier. Here are just a few inside tips to get in my door and in my Masters or Project Specs:
Product Reps are my most valuable resource. I have the utmost respect for the job that they are asked to do, the information that they provide and the extra mile that so many of them go to help me with what I need. The best of the best have CSI after their name.
My challenge to the manufacturers? The guys at the top? Make it easy for your reps, support them, educate them and get your guide specs and documents written in a way that I can use them. This should be first and foremost, BEFORE the pitch. I guarantee you will see increased success.
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