Mastering the sales pitch

Top 10 things to do when selling to architects
July 22, 2008

Sales representatives need to know more than just the ins and outs of their product and service offerings. They need to know their audience and what they want to hear during sales meetings. Through interviews with sales representatives at glazing contractors and industry material suppliers, and discussions directly with architects, we developed a list of the top 10 things sales representatives should do during meetings with architects. 

1. Provide specific technical knowledge and support, data, information about the product’s limitations and design help.

2. Understand the artistic vision and communicate on a design level.
“If you don’t have the ability to understand what the architect is looking for and can’t get the feel for the project, you’re not going to get the job.” —George Sultage, project manager, Anco Inc., Bridgeville, Del

3. Show how the product will appear on a completed building.
“Architects want to know what a product will look like on a building. We developed a light booth to show how the glass will appear and are working on getting a portable kit to bring to firms. The alternative is taking them outside to see a product.” —Dan Courtney, architectural sales manager, Northeast region, Guardian Industries Corp., Auburn Hills, Mich.

4. Know the performance details of products.
“Suppliers need to make it easy for architects to calculate performance values of all glazing. They can’t use a product if they can’t calculate its performance.” —Donald Press, general manager, advanced materials division, Schott North America Inc., Elmsford, N.Y.

5. Know how glass and glazing comes into play with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

6. Provide specific pricing information.
“In terms of the size and scope of our firm and the projects we do, we need more cost information associated with the specific glass products from suppliers.” —Craig Sauviac, architect, Sauviac + Dang Architectural Design, Baton Rouge.

7. Show your portfolio; bring examples of previous reputable projects that fit the firm’s needs.

8. Be familiar with other industry products and have a network of related product or service suppliers that will produce or perform quickly.
“If an architect wants a specific color of aluminum composite panels, and you don’t know how you’re going to get that panel with those colors in that luster, the architect does not want to hear it. The most impressive thing is having the contacts for a custom painter or fabricator to bring into the conversation. Being able to talk the talk, and have the resources through networking is huge.” —George Sultage, Anco Inc.

9. Provide references. If a company has provided products or services for many projects for a certain contractor, it speaks well of the company.

10. Listen to needs and react.
“We’re in the field and going to architects’ offices to learn what they want. Our Color- Therm glass came about because we heard recurring questions about IG colored glass with performance values.” —Donald Press, Schott