October 2021 Newsletter
Do You Still Need Your Local Reps?
Having a local architectural or technical rep has certainly changed over the past 18 months and even over the past several years.
- Covid-19 has made many face to face visits very difficult. Some places are requiring a vaccination card to visit. Many designers and independent specifiers work from home and will not schedule an in-person meeting at their home. Here is an excellent article by a specifier about Building the Relationship between the architectural rep and the specifier.
- Many of the experienced architectural and technical reps are baby boomers and beyond, some into their 80's.
- It is very difficult to find and then it takes time to develop a good architectural rep with the needed personality, training, local contacts and experience
- Technical reps with product experience can be hired from contractors and distributors and trained in your product
I see several different strategies for local architectural representation and support:
- Our website will answer all your questions and has all the information you need
- Call our home office and we will answer your questions
- Our local distributor will answer your question, our website will give you the contact information
- Contact our local employee or local independent rep for your local support, you can find their contact information on our website
The 4specs Discussion Forum has a recent discussion covering this area. Several interesting points are made or asked:
Are Local product representatives a thing of the past?
- Have a direct-technical-support-phone number that is answered directly by the support team. Do not pass the call through the general receptionist or voice mail system. Clearly show the technical number on your website. 4specs will list the number in our search area or in your showcase listing. This number does not need to be a toll-free 800-style number as many calls today are from a cell phone or VOIP number with free calling. Have a way to set up a ZOOM or Teams call for a more personalized interaction. Have quick access to the required technical data that can be emailed or displayed on the video call to answer questions and provide additional information..
- Have your office staff that work with design-side people read the 4specs "Getting Specified" series of newsletters and subscribe to Phil Kabza's CDT One Day at a Time email series. Even if they do not plan to take the CSI CDT certification test, Phil's emails help the reader understand more about the design and specification process and how manufacturers and products are selected and specified.
- Have your regional managers plan to attend CSI dinners as they travel to meet the people active in specifications in the region they cover. Why not plan to be available in Seattle on the evening of their CSI dinner? Even attending a local chapter ZOOM meeting can help set up contacts for the future. This is not a time to sell, rather a time to be seen as a valuable potential player.
- If you have a local representative require them to be active in their local CSI chapter(s). Start with them volunteering to be on the Meet and Greet committee. A fast way to get to know every active member.
Questions and suggestions always appreciated.
Publisher - 4specs