3 Stages to Becoming a Trusted Advisor

To be a successful Specification Salesperson you need to stand out from the crowd. You need to be a Trusted Advisor:  Someone the Specifier trusts to provide sound and reliable advice. You need to seek to become their design partner, helping solve problems and create quality buildings. This blog reviews the behaviour that positions the Specification Salesperson as Trusted Advisor.


It is important that you adopt the right approach, for example don’t talk like a sales rep, it will undermine your relationship. Instead you need to make questions casual and unpressured, remember you are seeking to solve a design problem and be of help. To do this you need to fully understand your products, be knowledgeable of the construction industry and understand what the specifier is trying to achieve. With this in mind it is important to learn the right skills.

  • Ensure you are fully informed about your company’s products, knowing their benefits and the design challenges they can solve
  • Understand the legislation that can be influenced by your products
  • Look to develop your presentation and telephone skills and master time management
  • Take the time to learn about the construction industry, through training, industry events and trade publications


1. Take advantage of the tools at your disposal:

Today there are a number of tools that enable you to stay in touch with your key contacts. A CRM database is helpful in scheduling and managing your interaction with key prospects. Social media not only allows you to communicate it also allows you to listen, learning of the design challenges specifiers face, allowing you to step in with useful advice and solutions. And of course the tools such as samples, CPD, BIM objects, case studies are a great way of demonstrating the value of your product. The specification salesperson that utilises these tools is in a good position to provide valuable, useful advice, at the right time.

  • Take advantage of social media to stay in touch
  • Use your ‘tools’ such as samples, CAD images, BIM objects and CPD as a door-opener and then to stay in touch
  • Use tools such as CRM to manage relationships


2. Understand your customer:

Understanding your customers is essential to good business. The first step is understanding how your customers select their products, what they have used before and how they source product information. The next step is to understand relationships, identifying preferred partnerships. Also important to know is what type of projects your key contacts tend to work on. Who are their clients and who are their competitors?

  • Complete desk research on your customer’s business
  • Know your customers preferred partners
  • Map the relationships on each project
  • Consider researching what Architects, Engineers and Contractors like about your product


3. Learn from your mistakes and build on your success:

It is important to take the time to review lost and won projects and so identify ways to improve. As well as maintaining existing relationships you also need to allocate time to generating a list of new target clients, to build new relationships with.  As well as monitoring projects to identify opportunities. As Trusted Advisor it is important to keep the momentum and keep relationships alive.

  • Review lost and won specifications to make improvements going forward
  • Continue to monitor projects and make contact with key contacts at the correct stage
  • Generate a list of target clients



In a nutshell the Trusted Advisor needs to: Listen, Be Useful and Be Found!

What specifiers want is technical information and advice, they will be happy to deal with a manufacturer or supplier who can provide good quality, comprehensive information on demand.

Specifiers do not want to be sold to:

  • They want to deal with technically competent people
  • Design advice – on demand, accurate and reliable


Further Reading