Preparing a Strategy to Gain Specifications for Construction Products

Selling to construction specifiers is about creating awareness of the benefits of your building product. Developing a construction specification strategy is a whole company activity, requiring technical input and involving the whole supply chain, not just the sales or marketing team. The approach is crucial for any construction product manufacturer that wants to reduce dependence on price and create demand for its building products.

Tools for implementing an effective construction specification strategy: 

Investing in a specification strategy will create awareness of your building products and the benefits they offer. This then creates demand pull. This awareness creation strategy can be applied to Clients, Architects, Engineers and Interior Designers. It should also include influencers like the Quantity Surveyor and specialist consultants.

When developing your strategy there is a whole tool box available to help you influence specification and build communicate with construction decision makers.

Technical literature for construction products:

Technical literature delivers fact-based information about your construction product; allowing the construction specifier to fully understand how your construction product is used, any constraints in its application, the performance it delivers and how to specify it correctly. Importantly it will form part of the audit trail for construction projects.

Providing effective and accurate building product literature plays an important role in your construction marketing strategy. It is key to explaining your construction product credentials and creating the desire to use your products.

Effective Construction CPD:

Technical advice is the key reason for a specifier to have a relationship with a building product manufacturer. CPD seminars are a proactive way to introduce your building brand and demonstrate technical competence. But think carefully when considering how to write your construction CPD – it should be engaging, factually correct and not sales focused.

If done correctly, there are many benefits to offering construction CPD. As well as the obvious ones, such as introducing your company and product, there are also some more subtle ones, which are often not appreciated. For example, for a specification to remain firm it needs to be well written with unique features included. The CPD seminar provides the opportunity to highlight those unique product features and explain why they are important, justifying inclusion in the specification.

Writing standard specification documents:

Well written specification documents are a very important tool in the sales and marketing of construction products. The role of a specification is to provide the construction product information which cannot easily be shown on a CAD drawing. Developing standard specification clauses provides a means of saving the specifier time, enabling easy inclusion and ensuring that a construction product is correctly described as the manufacturer’s original intention.

There are two broad forms of specification:

Performance Specification: In this no products are named, but the key performance criteria are set out. This might include types of materials, reference standards and levels of experience of the installer. All are key factors in ensuring that the element does its job as intended. Creating a well written performance specification is quite difficult and requires a good understanding of the application. Very often performance specifications are inadequately written which leads to product substitution and an installation which does not perform as the specifier intended.

Nominated or Proprietary Specification: Here the specifier names a brand, or number of brands, that are acceptable. For the specifier this is much easier as they know the credentials of the product and do not need to describe it. But the performance criteria are just as important, as these make it clear what is to be compared to decide if the product is ‘Equivalent’ or ‘Equal’.

Communication in construction markets

The building product manufacturer needs to have these specification tools readily available.

Providing well written specifications in both a Performance and Proprietary format, will very often drive your other marketing tools: your technical literature and CPD seminar.

Your product literature and specification documents need to be available as downloads from your website, in a form that can be emailed to specifiers by your technical department or the sales team. And they should be distributed at the end of a CPD seminar.

In a recent study conducted by Competitive Advantage, more than half the architects contacted said that they considered there was sufficient information available online to research products without contacting the manufacturer. Which tells us it is vitally important to have good content available online. Our research also told us that specifiers do not just stick to one information source, most will use a variety of sources as they seek out information.

Find out more about what influences specifiers